The dancing wind and sand made a sculpture of crocodile in the Desert – The Desert’s Art

Walking and exploring the desert

It is always fun walking and exploring the treasures and beauties of the desert. I love to walk and explore in the desert. Desert is the ocean of the sand but there is no Shark and no Stingrays. You can find beautiful and unique flora, fauna, sand dunes, songs of the air blowing, and sometimes a desert storm. Desert is a paradise but you have to choose a good time/weather to roam in the paradise. We have 3 months to go in the desert and inhale long breaths in the open and wide horizons of the desert.

Panoramicview of the desert in Abudhabi
Panoramic view of the desert in Abudhabi

Walking in humps and necks of the camels

In the desert, nature roams, nothing is managed or organized by human beings. The blow of the air, both the intensity and the direction decides the shapes of the dunes and the sands. You will feel like walking among the humps and necks of the camels as some dunes really look like the humps and the others like the neck of the camels. Nature has designed the camel in tune with the desert’s landscape. The colors and shapes of the sand dunes are much similar to the camels and vise versa.

The resemblance of the camels with the desert landscape

The nature’s engineering with the DNA to survive in aridity

Nature is wise and perfect, had learned to cope with climatic conditions under challenging conditions. The leaf, small fibrous hair, special barks, unique roots, and strong stress physiology make the desert flora and fauna fittest. Calitropis is one of the eccentric flora of the desert – surviving the arid conditions with smiles and flowers. The healthier and fresh shine of the leaves and flowers attract the attention of the desert’s travelers, especially when the visitor is an explorer.

Many people know Calitropis a cause of poison, unedible and useless but to me, it is an asset of biodiversity, a treasure of healing molecules, and food for some animals like goats, deers, desert rodents, and some beetles and other insects. The flowers are a rich source of nectar both for the sunbirds and the bees along with other insects.

The bunches of flowers- an attraction in the desert

Zygophyllum qatarense – A guarantee for sustainable greenery in the desert and food for the animals

Zygo is not only resilient, surviving aridity and salts but also responded very positively to the microflora in the livestock’s saliva, especially camels. The flora browzed by the camels is more healthy and shiny than those who grew tall and safe from the grazing. The Zygo is very much in a symbiotic relationship with the animals/livestock, attracting livestock (defecating and urinating around the flora) for soil fertility and igniting responsive physiology to keep itself healthy and stronger. I have found a unique fact always that the camels defecate and urinate around this flora, maybe eating Zygo stimulates camels’ GIT.

Close view of Zygophyllum qatarense browse by the camels
Camels are hunting the desert icecream, – Zygophyllum qatarense

In the picture below you can clearly differentiate the difference between the browsed and protected parts of the Zygophyllum qatarense.

Comparason of the browsed and protected Zygophyllum qatarense
Comparison of the browsed and protected Zygophyllum qatarense

The camel and the Zygophyllum have learned to live in a symbiotic relationship in the desert

Zygophyllum qatarense provides not only food for livestock and wild animals but also provides life support to birds and insects. It is a source of water, food, and minerals, especially salts. As discussed in the above paragraph, there is a strong and positive symbiotic relationship between the camels and Zygos.

Browsed heavily by camels but very healthy and shiny
Zygophyllum Browsed heavily by camels but very healthy and shiny

Crocodile in the desert – Ecoshaping the sand dunes

Citrullus or Gourd melon always makes a fence against the flowing/moving sands and the dunes. It is really amazing, exploring the worth of the desert melon.

Crocodile in the desert - Making shapes
Crocodile in the desert – Designed as a sleeping beast

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.

Citrulus halting the flow of the sands
Citrullus play a physical role as well, fixing the sand dunes in the desert

Sometimes, it makes very amazing structures with a blend of flora and sand. Later other types of flora grow there and the rodents and other wildlife make their home in the Citrullus to get protection from hyper-aridity and the desert storm. Though I have no references and no proof I’m quite sure that the rodents and rats feel protected from the eagles’ eyes in the Citrullus neighborhood. The Eagles can’t prey on the rodents in the Citrullus wine (as rodents make a home there and eat the seeds of flora) also dump the seeds in their burrows and help some of them to germinate again, a very unique symbiotic relationship.

Desert ecology, floral survival, and camel grazing – Impacts and the future hopes

This blog is about a bush in the desert (Tetraena qatarensis synonym Zygophyllum qatarense) which gives us a hope to sustain life in the desert.

3 Actors and the Desert sustaintion

While exploring & understanding the arid regions, you will notice that 3 actors are very important and are strongly correlated to each other, i.e. the prevailing flora, the possible grazer (grazing animals), and the sustainability (desert’s functional ecosystem). The pressure of grazing, annual rainfall, the existence of the fittest flora, and the soil texture have very direct and visible impacts on the biomass of the ecosystem which later drives sustainability.

Some flora are more resilient than the others

Being a desert explorer, I have always noticed that some flora are more resilient and stronger than others. They are more adapted and better cope with the prevailing threats and have learned how to survive and sustain and the Zygophyllum qatarense is one of them. It gives a very stunning beauty to the desert and supports wildlife.

Zygophyllum qatarense is a highly reseleint plant/flora in the deserts of Arabia and Persian gulf region. It is equally adapted to the salty soil and very dry and arid conditions.
This shrub of Zygophyllum is out of the reach of camels, so it will well-grown taller. It can grow taller up to 1 meter but it prefers to spread and cover more area and ensure its sustenance in the arid ecosystem

Zygophyllum is a future hope in the desert

Zygophyllum qatarense is the future hope for the existance of the functional ecosystem in the desert. No animal can vanish this flora from the desert. Very few animals, especially camels and goats like to eat this plant but go to the other types of bushes after taking a few bites from Zygophyllum. In the following gallery of the Z. qatarense, you can see the top twigs have been bitten by camels but the main part and stronger area of the plants are still standing firm. I have a good hope that this resilient bush will sustain in the desert for millennia in the future.

We have very good examples of the sustainability of Zygophyllum as we can see in the following images that the other plants like Tribulus terrestris (puncture vine), Leptadenia, and desert grass (Cyperus) are shortened by continuous grazing as the camels take more bites from the same plant and consume it on daily basis because of the taste and likeness of the flora (Tribulus and Cyperus grass). Zygophyllum is always strong and resilient and sustains greenery in the desert.

Camel lovest to eat the salty and woody bushes but zygophylum is still not highly desirable

Camels have learned (through the long history of evolution) the art of survival in the driest and harshed climatic conditions of the desert. As the deserts have limited diversity of flora, mainly bushes, followed by shrubs and trees are highly resilient in the desert ecosystem, mostly saltish in taste, full of thorns, bitter, full of molecules depressing appetite (alkaloids) of the animals, etc but the camel can still browse and consume such unique plants.

Some plants like Zygophyllum qatarense are well adapted to salinity, droughts, desert storms, and the pressure of grazing by its appetite depressing nature but the camel still browse and consume, especially when the camel is feeling salt hunger or constipation. In salt hunger situations, Zygophyllum is an icecream species for the camel. The camel browses it on the top, takes some bites, and moves forward. It does not take more bites and the plants remain strong and sustainable.

Zygophyllum qatarense is the desert’s beauty

Zygophyllum qatarense gives a unique beauty to the desert and I have always suggested planting this flora in the lawns because of its beauty and power of survival. It doesn’t need any inputs like watering, spraying for pesticides, and other care, so it is feasible to maintain a beautiful lawn. This flora is highly adapted to the dry and hot weather of the deserts. It can be a wildlife sanctuary on your lawn.

Way forward

At the moment, I have lost some pictures, camel eating Zygophyllum but I’m quite optimistic that soon, I shall be able to share with you. Please consider my suggestion, planting native plants like Leptadenia, Haloxllon, Zygophyllum, and other shrubs and trees in your lawns so that your kids are enriched with the knowledge of native flora and fauna as the native plants act as a wildlife sanctuary. The local people in Arabia and Persia have been using this plant for various purposes, ranging from medication (human and animals) to disinfecting/cleaning clothes and other stuff, and insect repletion to rodents control.

An Exploration Walk is an Ecotherapy

I love camels as well as the desert and its biodiversity. As contrary to the common perception, the deserts are very rich and beautiful lands. I hereby share some snapshots of the beautiful flora and fauna of the Arabian desert in Al Ain, Abudhabi, UAE. I shot these pictures during my desert exploration walk. This walk really healed me from my inside. It refreshed my memories and focused my thoughts.

Very friendly desert lizard, resembling the reddish-gold sand of the ecosystem

I’m very much impressed by the resilient power of this desert grass. Also known as Sedge grass with scientific name Cyprus conglomeratus and Thenda in Arabic. Sedges were once used to make sails, ropes, baskets, and mats, and also as fuel.

The withstand the desert storms. Their roots are envaloped by very specialized fiberous cushion to preserve water in the roots.

To know in detail, please click the link and read about different plants and animals in the desert. I’m sure you will love the pictures and will refresh your memories. With each snap, there is some short caption, which will be very useful in understanding desert life.

Enjoy Desert Exploration with Me

I strongly believe in the desert’s ecotherapy. If you have the burden of work and challenges in life then please straightly go to the desert and talk to the creatures over there. See and observe how the desert living organisms survive and how they face the challenges of life with patience. I’m sure that we can better learn from nature. Understanding the philosophy of calmness will give you a great health and satisfaction.

Desert Genetic Resources are Engineered with the Unique DNA

I hereby share some images about the desert and the creatures over there, especially the unique flora of the desert. The desert creatures are engineered by unique DNA, enabling the flora and fauna to flourish very well beside there is no water and scarcely awailable food. The lands over here are covered with the sands but still the desert genetic resource are thriving and providing food to the other animals.

The Land of Yellow Flowers and the Dwarf Asian Bees

It is very interesting that the deserts’ flora produce yellow flowers. Yes, the yellow flowers, which attract insects, bees and the birds from a longer distance in the fade environment of the desert. Here you can found the Dwarf Asian Bees collecting nectar and making womb.

Sour or Bitter, Hard or Soft, the Desert Flora is Food for an Animal or a Bird

The animals, insects, and the birds in the desert have their own taste. They are just after the food not the taste and texture. They know the importance and the value of the food. They eat everything growing in the deserts, some animal eat one and avoid the other but as a main picture, all plants are consumable. Citrullus might be very bitter and poisonus for human but a food of choice for the goats, camels, rodents and the birds. Also, such flora is home to the unique and well adapted fauna of the desert.

The Larger Flora Provides Food for the Big Creature, the Camel

The dear camel thrive in very hot and ultra dry environments, not only the camel physiology but the specialized flora of the desert also enable a sustainable camel development in the desert. Ghaf (Prosopis) tree not only provides a scenic and fascinating look to the desert but also an important food and shade source for the camels and other animals. The super food (camel milk) comes from the combination of the 2 unique creatures, the desert flora and the incredible camels.

Calitropis is Beautifu, Attractive and very Useful

Contrast to the general perspectives, Calitropis is a useful plant. Some traditional medicines are derived from the milk of this plants. The leaves are eaten by deers, goats, and some other animals. Some insects eat the outer layers of the leaf. The flowers are the most attractive part of this plant. It provide shelter and ecosystems to many insects. The birds and the bees eat the nectar of this plant. In the winter the seasonal birds, especially the hummingbird eat their nectar.

I Need your Help

I really need your help in the kind of your feedback. Please support me with your knowledge and experience. Share your pictures of the desert with me, I shall load and post on my website. Help me in circulating my material on your circles of social media and other outlets.

All the best

The Beautiful Plants (Zygophyllum) of Beautiful White Desert

Deserts are very beautiful and attractive, especially if the color of the sand is whitish. A few days before, I attended the Asian Camel Racing Federation founding meeting in Alwathba Abu Dhabi and lived in the Jumeirah desert resort.

The hotel is a very attractive place to live and the surrounding of the hotel is very touchy with the sand and the Zygophylum qatarense. I shot some very attractive pictures of the vicinity where are presented below. To know more about this beautiful flora, please click on the link;

In the Photogallery, you can enjoy the beautiful images of the white-grey sand and the yellowish-green flora, the Zygophyllum qatarense.

The author is an ethnobotanist and ethnoecologist, so straightly went to the nearby sands and started to find the local flora and fauna. There was not much biodiversity but I found 2 types of plants and lizards, though there were some pigeons and doves around. I mostly shoot the pictures of the xerophyte plant (Zygophyllum) and compiled this album of the beautiful plant. Before, I have written and documented this plant as a source of food for camels. Please go to the link below.