How Zygophyllum qatarense Support Wildlife and Livestock in the Desert?


Desert biodiversity, ranging from flora to fauna, and the detritivores and micro-organisms are unique and important, playing pivotal roles as biotic players of the desert ecosystems. I have been exploring the role of Zygophyllum qatarense in the desert for many years and share interesting facts from time to time. https://arkbiodiv.com/2017/01/08/the-strong-and-resilient-plant-of-desert-zygophyllum-zygophyllum-qatarense/

How Zygophylum. q provides life supporting opportunities to other living creatures?

Zygophyllum qatarense provides not only food (leaves and twigs for livestock and wild animals), but also provide life support to the birds and insects. This plant is also an important source of water for camels & goats (the plant’s bulbs are full of water and minerals), the birds (migratory birds eat the bulbs for water and salts), flowers provide nectars for the butterflies and bees (ultimately provide prey for migratory birds), and the mature/fallen bulbs become the food for the detritivores. https://youtu.be/Izc8O6tdj5A

Migratory birds in the month of November enjoying the desert ecosystem and its food chain is supported by the Zygophyllum qatarense
A beautiful migratory bird sitting on the top of the Zygophyllum qatarense in Empty quarters desert, UAE

Zygophyllum qatarense is the only source of water in the extreme dry conditions of the EQ Desert

This is really a unique flora with almost 0 % water loss. It absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and the scatter roots in the sands absorb moisture from the due in the cooler hours of the night. I call this plant a water trap in the desert. The plant redirects or reabsorbs the moisture of the transpiration with the help of the tiny hairs. This plant is really very strange and unique. It is called Harram in Arabic. https://arkbiodiv.com/2021/11/14/leaves-and-twigs-of-zygophyllum-qatarense/

Liwa region, Abu Dhabi UAE
The mix of red and grey sands’ desert in Empty Quarters Desert with the blend of Zygophyllum q. provides a panoramic and fascinating view
Zygophyllum qatarense is the only source of water, trapping water from the atmosphere’s moisture and converting it into available water and mineral for the living creatures in the challenging desert’s conditions.

Zygophyllum is nomads’ medicine – An Additional Note

Zygophyllum qatarense is not only a source of food for desert creatures but had been used for the treatment of different ailments in the remote areas of the desert. The aqueous extract of the plant is used for;

  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • Acts as a diuretic
  • Pain killer and antipyretic
  • Local anesthesia (the extract is applied on the joints and longbone muscles)
  • Anti-histamine/antiallergic activity, stimulation
  • Anti-depression
  • Anti-constipatory
  • Contraction of the uterus (full of phytoenzymes) and
  • Vasodilation.
  • A good sunblock in the desert
  • Provides freshness to the skin
  • Remedy for certain types of dermititis

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