Salvadora persica, Toothbrush tree, Mustard tree,
Arak tree, Peelu tree,
Hebrew: סלוודורה פרסית, Arabic: الأراك

Scientific name:  Salvadora persica L.
Common name:  Toothbrush tree, Mustard tree, Arak tree, Peelu tree
Hebrew name:  סלוודורה פרסית
Arabic name:  الأراك
Family:  Salvadoraceae, סלודוריים

Το Ισραήλ αγριολούλουδα και ενδημικά φυτά
Location: Ein Gedi

Life form:  Phanerophyte, tree
Leaves:  Opposite, entire, succulent
Flowers:  Green
Flowering Period:  January, February, March, April
Habitat:   Desert, Thermophilous plants
Distribution:   Semi-steppe shrublands, Deserts and extreme deserts
Chorotype:  Sudanian
Summer shedding:  Perenating

Israel Wild Flowers: Salvadora persica, Toothbrush tree, סלוודורה פרסית,الأراك


Derivation of the botanical name:
Salvadora, in 1749 in honour of an apothecary of Barcelona, Juan Salvador y Bosca (1598-1681), by Dr Laurent Garcin, botanist, traveller and plant collector.
persica, from Persia.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
The leaves of the Salvadora persicum are large and fleshy and provide nourishment for ibexes and rock hyrax.
Shoots are used as camel fodder, the plant ash provides salt, and twigs are used as a chewing stick.
Its fibrous branches have been used as a natural brush-cum-toothpaste, the miswak (miswaak, siwak), by many Islamic communities since the days of the Prophet Muhammad.
Research suggests that Salvadora persica is the plant described in the parable of the mustard seed:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows,
it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
Matthew 13:31-32
  • Henry Baker Tristram (1822-1906) describes in 'the Natural History of the Bible': Salvadore persica, "called by the Arabs Khardal, or Mustard tree, and which is a true tree", "The seed is much larger than that of the Mustard. The tree is about twenty-five feet high, and, so far, would meet the requirements of the expression in the Gospel."


Israel, Native plants, Palestine
Location: Ein Gedi