The beautiful Morning Glory (Convolvulus cephalopods) in the desert of Alain UAE

Desert Morning Glory is a perineal shrub

You can briefly read about the beautiful Morning Glory (perineal shrub Convolvulus cephalopods) in the desert of Alain United Arab Emirates. It is a perineal shrub, found in the Arabian Peninsula, ME, and Persia. The flora is very hardy and well adapted to the desert ecosystem and provides a charismatic beauty to the desert. It is highly drought tolerant and can sustain longer drought for years. Being a desert ecologist, my main interest in the flora (of the desert) has some connection with the camels and other livestock. The flora which provides food to the camels in the desert ecosystem is my top interest while exploring the desert. Convolvulus cephalopods is a very hard and tolerant plant and even the camels cannot vanish it from the desert. It is has a tough body full of hair making it sustainable in the desert. The dense and thick blanket of hair absorbs water from the atmosphere and diverts water back to the plant during transportation and that is the unique strategy of the flora to conserve water.

The height and width of the Convolvulus cephalopodus

The shrub spread with many stems and covers an area up to 3 feet and the height reaches up to 28 inches. The width and height of the shrub depend on many factors such as age, protection, habitat, season, and climate. Here are some pictures showing the width and the height of the shrub. The measurement is taken by iPhone x Pro.

A candidate shrub to be used for the beautification of lawns and parks

I have been advocating native flora to be used for the greening and beautification of an ecosystem. The urban ecosystems can be a habitat of choice for the native flora. It can help in the beautification of the lawns and parks and provide habitat to the local wildlife. On the other hand, the urban places will provide an opportunity for the conservation of the native flora.

Morning Glory provides habitat to different insects, flies, beetles, bees, and much other miniature wildlife. I explore the desert of the UAE and document the flora (main emphasis) and fauna of the country. UAE is a beautiful country with a living desert rich with floral and faunal biodiversity. You can visit my website and can read a wide range of articles about the desert, biodiversity, camels and other native livestock, best practices, camel farming, camel milk, and other important topics. You can find a beautiful video of the flora on my youtube channel. Please subscribe and share.

Convolvulus cephalopodus video in the desert

Fagonia arabica – the desert’s thorny herb and camel’s food of choice

Series about the desert flora and ecology with the livestock connection

Livestock or the whole group of herbivores are the primary users of the foliage. The humans domesticated the animals for food and agriculture keeping some specific goals in consideration, the most important were breeding in captivity followed by the thriftiness on the grasses/foliage. My main thematic idea is to document the flora of the drylands, especially the desert with a special connection with livestock consumption. The herbal value of the flora is another attraction to me and I document the traditional knowledge regarding the flora in the dry ecosystems. I hereby introduce a small herb with high nutritional and herbal value and the camels and goats like it the most.

Fagonia arabica commonly known as camel thorn/Dhamas
Fagonia arabica is commonly known as camel thorn/Dhamas.

Fagonia arabica (Dhamasa, Dhamana, Sachi booti and Shoka’a) and Khar Oshtur in Balochi/Farsi and Shinazghi in Pashtu

Grow near the irrigated strips, browse by camel, goats, sheep, gazals, and Oryx. Fagonia is highly liked by the camels and therefore I call it camel icecream species. I have compiled some of my desert flora documentation work under the category of camel icream species.

Herbal value

Fagonia has very high herbal values and is used by traditional healers for the treatment of parasitic and infectious diseases. One can find many references about the chemical composition and claims as a remedy for certain health complexes. Fagonia arabica plant has been reported to have a wide range of traditional uses in sore mouth, smallpox, hematological, neurological, endocrinological, inflammatory, cooling agent in stomatitis, vertigo, and endothermic reaction in the body. Several bioactive constituents including glycosides, flavonoids, terpenoids, saponins, alkaloids, and trace elements were recorded from the Fagonia arabica plant. The isolation and identification of two flavonoid glycosides (kaempferol-7-O-rhamnoside and acacetin-7-O-rhamnoside) were also reported. Fagonia arabica has been studied for its wide range of biological activities, which include antioxidant, antimicrobial, cardioprotective, and anticoagulant.

Magnet leaf to attract sand and fibers to hide from animals and slower transportation

Fagonia arabica has unique leaves, beautiful and shiny but works as a magnet for sands and fibrous material. This way, they hide from the animals and make it unpalatable for the animals. It is a magnet and has adapted very unique strategy to conserve its race from extinction.

Zygophyllaceae is an important desert flora family, many species fall in this family, i.e. Zygophyllum qatarenses, Tribulus, Fagonia, and some others.

The annual Brassicaceae erupted after a shower in the Arabian desert غريده

Eremobium aegyptiacum (Leisla)

Brassicaceae (Mustard) is found in almost all the desert/drylands, i.e. Sahara, ME, Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We have some very fresh information about the Eremobium aegyptiacum, a large family with an interesting and beautiful flowering of 4 petals.

Eremobium aegyptiacum herb
Eremobium aegyptiacum herb in Masaken area, Alain Abu Dhabi

Wild Ancestor of many leafy and pod vegetables

This plant is the wild ancestor of many of our vegetables as; Broccoli, cauliflower, Canola, Radish, cabbage, rapeseed, mustard, and many more.

Ecological role and feed of primary consumers

It plays a very important role in the rangelands/desert ecology providing food to a range of wild and domesticated animals like bees, insects, bugs, rabbits, sheep, goats, deers, etc. It is the food of choice for the sheep helping in the body compensation after the dry winter period. It is an attractive flowery herbage in the desert and provides nectars to the desert bees. It erupts after a shower in the month of February and March, completing the life cycle in a short season, and burst its pods spreading seeds before the harsh summer. You can see a microniche of the beautiful flora, flourishing in the desert landscape of Alain.

The camel also loves this flora, mainly because of its high protein content and spicy taste.

A spicy salad

I eat it when exploring and walking the desert. It is a very delicious, healthy, and spicy salad in the deserts. Its pods resemble the horn of the cattle and we call it Shakari (horn) in Pashtu.

Eremobium aegyptiacum in Qatar

Can be a beautiful flora for the lawns and parks

I have been promoting native flora not only for the greening of the desert ecosystem and livestock food but as a beautification agent for the lawns and parks. It will not only provide a panoramic view to the lawns and parks but also a very sustainable and healthy ecosystem; providing habitat to the local and native wildlife. A shower of rain in a year is enough to sustain the beauty and lifecycle of the highly adapted desert flora. This way a municipality can save millions of liters of water annually and the other expenses (pesticides, fertilizers, and other costs) as well. This idea will give a boost to the nature conservation move and will help in sustainable lawns and parks.

This plant can grow taller up to 14 inches and spread on the ground up to 23 inches without any additional support.

For further understanding of the Eremorium aegyptiacum

This gallery of pictures of the flora will help you in further understanding the plant.

You can watch a beautiful video of the flora made in the desert, in the Masaken area near Alain UAE.

Eremorium aegyptiacum in the desert.

Arabian Boxthorn (Lycium shawii), AWSAJ in Arabic

Before, I wrote as ‘Please help me in the identification of this climber shrub’ but I knew the answer. Thanks to my friend Saharan Shephard who replied to my query and provided the name with some details.

The shrub has weak stems (mostly many) and climbs on other trees. I found it in Alain Abu Dhabi. It is in the flowering stage now. It has small simple leaves, thorny stalks, and red cherries (though I found one). According to Wikipedia, it is found throughout the Arabian Peninsula.

Arabian boxthorn is a spreading, very spiny shrub growing 1 – 3 meters tall, exceptionally becoming a small tree up to 4.5 meters tall. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as food and medicine. It is also grown as a hedge.

Here the Lycium flora is climbed on an Acacia tortillas tree. I found only one fruit, yellow berry. Inside the fruit is a few small seed-like tomatoes.
Beautiful flowers with olive-like leaves
The stalks are blackish in color

Some more details about the flora Lycium shawii

Lycium shawii is highly adapted to desert ecosystems. The thin-leaved, rigid bush grows up to 3 meters (9.8 feet) high, with a lot of branches and alternating spines that vary in size, and grow along the branches and on their tips. The leaves narrow towards their base. It produces small whitish-pink or purple flowers from Sep to Apr. The fruit is small red pea-sized (seedy berries), edible, and used as herbal medicine as well. The flora like to be the neighbor of Acacia tortillas and Prosopis cineraria to climb and thrive better.

Lycium shawii climbed on an Acacia tortillas tree
Lycium shawii climbed on an Acacia tortillas tree
The shrub has a weaker stem, can’t erect by itself
The thorny stalk of the Lycium shawii

Is it native or exotic?

Yes; It is native to the desert ecosystem of the Arabian Peninsula and some parts of Africa.

It can be used as hedging, fencing, and live wall, my exceptional idea of replacing exotic plants with native flora.

Macro flower photography of the Tetraen qatarensis with beautiful wildlife

I love the desert ecosystem, a calm place with wide horizons and well-adapted bio-players sustaining life in challenging conditions. I always walk in the desert as an explorer and learn from nature on regular basis. My interest is mainly focused on the native flora and the inhabitants relying on such flora. As I walk, I document the deserts’ facts and share them with you people to read, learn and understand the hidden but interesting facts of life in the desert.

Lately, I’m much focusing on the very precious and highly adapted flora (Tetraena qatarensis synonym Zygophyllum qatarense), everything related to this beautiful shrub. Here are the links, you can read in detail about my work compiled on this precious flora.

In this article, I’m sharing some macro photography about the tiny wildlife serving and living in the Tetraena qatarensis. In the pictures, you will see beautiful flowers, flies, robber flies, and other tiny creatures. You will be able to see the close view of the complete flowers, stigma, pistil, and the maturing fruits of the shrub. With each image, there is some brief information that can help you understand the purpose of the picture.

For further reading, go to the links below