The desert’s plum – Rumex vesicarius found in Masaken area of Alain Abudhabi

It tastes as plum, the shepherd chew and enjoy the taste

It is very resembling spinach by leaves. The leaves and flowers both are rich sources of Vitamin C. The nature arrangement of Vit C for the desert people gives a sharp sour tasting. Because of its taste, the shepherds/grazers have given the name of the desert’s plum.

Rumex vesicarius in Masaken area Alain
Rumex vesicarius in Masaken area Alain

Synonyms and Common names

Acetosa vesicaria, Lapathum vesicarium, Rumex roseus, and the common names are as; Bladderdock, homeid, hummayDH

Ethnoecological understanding of Rumex vesicarius

Rumex vesicarius appears after the rains. Its flowers are vibrant in colors and its texture is very thin. When the flower matures, it shed and flies with the winds because of its wings. They grow taller up to 10 inches. Found in North Africa, Arabia, ME, Persia, and Balochistan.

Herbal use; Its leaves are eaten to enrich the gut microbiome and flash the liver and kidneys. Also boiled and ground the leaves into teas and pastes to reduce symptoms of ulcers, scurvy, and fevers. It is edible in different parts of the world, consumed either fresh, salad, soaked in water, or the leaves are cooked. It is high in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain beta-carotene and lutein.

Stunning beauty and a great candidate as local flora for lawns and parks

As an ethnoecologist and nature lover, I have been advocating native genetic resources for all purposes. The native flora can be the best choice to use for beauty and nature conservation as well as sustainability.

Rumen vesicarious in Makran Balochistan.
Photo credit: Mujeeb Baluch

The Rumex vesicarius is one of the most beautiful flora among the native herbs. We can use this beautiful flora for the beautification of lawns and parks. We can grow in our homes for beauty as well as herbal purposes, the health goodnesses are already mentioned in the above paragraphs. It will attract beautiful insects and flies and will turn your home into heaven.

Hatta Mountain Hiking and Rumex Album

On the 12th of March 2022, I planned hiking & exploring tour to the Hatta mountain of UAE. Hatta mountain is an amazing place, an attractive tourist destination, and a beautiful landscape. Surrounded by the Hajar Mountains, Hatta is covered in undulating peaks and troughs perfect for hiking. You can trek along the winding wadis at the foothills of the mountains, near the border with Oman. Here you’ll see the varied terrain, from sandy patches to sharp rocks. Hiking offers a sense of peace and adventure for all types and ages with lots to explore along your journey. Discovering Hatta by foot is the best way of truly experiencing Dubai’s largest national park.

Here I’m going to share some very important pictures of the landscape and the Rumex vesicarius flora.

Landscape diversity of the Hatta mountain UAE

I hereby share some very important and self-explanatory images of the landscape diversity of Hatta mountain, Dubai UAE. Apparently a dry and arid ecosystem but you can find a wide range of flora and fauna biodiversity in the region.

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.

Some basic botanical facts about Tetraena qatarensis

Tetraena qatarensis sysnonym Zygophyllum qatarense, commonly known as Hadid, Harm, and Tulin. The habitats are Arabian peninsula, ME, and Persia.

Dr. raziq kakar

Scientific classification of the shrub

SpecieT. qatarensis
Botanical classification of Tetraena qatarensis

How does Tetraena qatarensis synonym 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.

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.

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.

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

Calotropis Plant, a Desert Beauty and a Future Hope

Some plants are very well known for the power of resistance, sustainability, and adaptation to challenging climatic conditions and hard terrains. One of those unique plants is the Calotropis.

Calotropis in Blossom, Alain, UAE

The healthier and fresh shine of the leaves and flowers attract the attention of the desert’s visitor, especially when the visitor is an explorer. Many people know this plant only as a source 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, 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 amazing beauty of the Calotropis

Caltrops plant had been used by the indigenous healers for different health problems both in animals and the humans. Raikas traditionally drink camel milk from a folded aak leaf; aak (Calotropis Procera) produces a milky resin and, sometimes, the tip of the leaf is broken so that this resin will mix with the camel milk, improving its health effects. Raika herdsmen may subsist on camel milk for weeks at a time during long migrations.

A Raika camel herder is drinking camel milk in a Calotropis leaf

The milk of the Calotropis plant is also used for dermatitis and injury healing both in animals and human beings. The leaves and also the milk of the plants work as insect repellents. I have personal experience using Calotropis leaf as an insect repellent, which really works. The leaves especially work in the treatment of the wounds in the camels.

Page 2 - Calotropis Procera High Resolution Stock Photography and Images -  Alamy
Sunbird on Calitropis flowers

Personally, I’m in love with the beauty and strength of this unique flora. I’m quite sure that this plant will play a very crucial role in the health and wellbeing of humans and Mother Earth at large. The beauty of glittering flowers and shiny leaves attracts the attention of a desert explorer and gives a great calmness to the soul.

Let us try to understand the nature, beauty, and treasures hidden, and to care for our Mother Earth. Please respect the health of nature, do not throw rubbish and plastic in the beautiful deserts. Try to understand, each flora and fauna in the desert is part of the whole cycle of nature, if one of them is diminished the whole cycle will affect.