||(a) Aristida plumosa
||Tufted annual herb, commonly known as three-awned grass. Up
to 50cm (Arabic – “nussi”)
||(b) Astenatherum forsskali
||Perennial desert grass with woolly root fibres, 5 – 30 cm high. Leaves
hairy on both surfaces; panicle (branched flower head) 5 – 10 cm long.
Spikelets are three-flowered, 7 – 8 mm long. Common in very dry sand.
(Arabic – “sabat”)
||(c) Lasiurus hirsutus
||Perennial bushy desert grass 30 – 60 cm high, characterized by its
brittle, silky spike, 10 – 14 cm long and 1 cm broad. Very similar to Pennisetum
divisum but spike definitely brittle, not tough. Pale yellow
appearance at a distance.
|(a) Fagonia indica
||Common shrublet of rocky foothills. Up to 0.5 m tall with pinkish flowers
up to 1 cm broad and armed with sharp spines. Slender and fragile in
appearance and easily missed in amongst stones and other vegetation. (Arabic
||(b) Tribulus spp.
||Perennial herbs with prostrate stems (though stems can be seen virtually
erect in well-watered and protected plantation areas). Flowers usually yellow
with five petals, not unlike an opened-out buttercup on casual glance.
Usually an indicator of non-saline water beneath the sand. (Arabic – "zahar”)
|Leguminosae (Pea family)
||(a) Taverniera lappacea
||Low shrub with grayish-green branches and small, spine-like leaves.
Branches up to 30 cm long. Flowers are pink and prominent, 10 – 20 cm long,
blooming March – April.
||(b) Tephrosia apollinea
||Common shrublet of lower-altitude hillsides. A tall, stiff, silvery plant
with pink flowers. (Arabic – “dafra”)
||(c) Cassia senna
||A low, woody shrub with paired leaves and yellow flowers and straight,
thin, papery legume
||(a) Monsonia glauca
||Perennial herb, 15 – 25 cm high, with rosette of 2 – 6 flesh-colored
flowers. Occasional in sandy desert areas.
||(a) Dipterigium glaucum
||A very common perennial in sandy habitats. Long slender stems, appearing
almost leafless at times. Flowers minute, yellow.
|(a) Citrullus colocynthis
||A prostrate perennial herb with branches trailing for two or three meters.
Flowers similar to cucumber or melon, yellow. Fruit is apple-sized, striped,
mottled-green at first, turning yellow when ripe. Common in wadis or on sand
below rocky overhangs where water can collect. The Oryx also eats the fruit.
|(a) Rhazya stricta
||Up to 1 m high on silty and alluvial flatlands. Related to the oleander.
Flowers white; stems and fleshy twigs contain milky sap said to be poisonous.
Normally avoided by grazing animals. Leaves and long thin pods turn brown and
brittle. (Arabic – “harmal”)
||(a) Cyperus conglomeratus
||Large, tufted sedge; leaves often grooved and pointed at tips. Flowering
stem erect (20 – 50 cm high) and above most leaves. Flowers consist of
several compact spikelets near top of stem. Common in sandy, low-salinity
soils that are well drained.
||(a) Pulicaria spp.
||Small herbs with showy yellow heads 5 – 25 mm in diameter. Heads are
many-flowered. Leaves are serrated and pointed, decreasing in size higher up
the stem. Occasional in sandy areas.
|(a) Chrozophora spp.
||Grayish-green, woolly shrublets, generally small with large leaves.
Flowers inconspicuous; fruits small scaly capsules. Maximum 1 m high (c.
|Phelypaea spp. (Cistanche)
||Leafless parasite, lacking chlorophyll; depends on nourishment via
thread-like attachments to host plant, frequently a saltbush variety. Often
seen on or near seashore in sandy or shell-covered areas. Flower is a
striking yellow spike, sometimes up to a meter tall, reminiscent of a long,
thin, tightly closed hyacinth.
||(a) Cynomorium coccineum
||Fleshy blackish-brown parasite, smaller than cistanche and less common.
Flowers small and crowded on club-shaped spike. Up to 30 cm high.