Bulletin 34 - March 1988: Plant Recorder's Report

Plant Recorder's Report

by Rob Western

Being out of the mainstream of ENHG events has meant for the Plant Recorder that 1987 was a year of interpretation and consolidation, rather than making new recordings, apart from a week's expedition at the end of April. A few new species turned up during this trip but nothing endemic or really unexpected for the UAE.

A field trip to the Ghayl area was conducted at the very end of April. Several Abu Dhabi members plus two from Dubai made the long car trip on a hot Thursday afternoon and were rewarded with perfect conditions for a night camp. The next morning the group was given a short introduction to plant taxonomy before we made a thorough exploration of the surrounding plain, dunes and hills. The final checklist for the morning was 83 species, many of them unexpected annuals. A full report was printed in Bulletin No. 33.

All three Bulletins of 1987 contained articles relevant to botany. In addition to the Ghayl report there was an article on the vegetation of the East Coast in Bulletin No. 31, and Mike Crumbie contributed an in-depth account of Abu Dhabi mangroves in Bulletin No. 32.

The Recorder had the distinction of being the first speaker when the Group moved its Monday evening presentations to the Cultural Centre. A large audience on Jan. 5th heard about the origins of various plant families and individual species in the UAE, and how a wide variety of influences have affected the history of local vegetation. Although the region is not as floristically rich as, say, Yemen, there are significant influences from East Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia itself and also from the Mediterranean.

About 90 pressed specimens have been affixed to folders and these will be added to the Group's collection at the Old Fort. Each will in due course be accompanied by a description and a distribution map, and some will have photographs depicting habit and habitat.

During the year the Recorder corresponded with various individuals and institutions in the Gulf and in Europe; prints of various articles received have been added to the library. As ever, Ian Hedge at Edinburgh Botanic Garden has been most helpful with advice and encouragement, not to mention prompt identifications.

This year will see more fieldwork in March under Bish Brown's watchful eye, plus one or two field trips if my dates off Das Island coincide with weekends. The first is tentatively set for Mar. 4th.


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