Flora of Saudi Arabia

 

flora_of_saudi_arabia

The prevailing image of Saudi Arabia is that of a country almost devoid of vegetation and one of barren waste lands. Mrs. Sheila Collenette in her book ‘Wild Flowers of Saudi Arabia’ published by Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) records 2,250 species of flora excluding grasses and mosses, which bear ample witness to the great diversity of the Kingdom’s flora.

This page is neither meant to picture all flowers of the kingdom nor for any authentic study of the genus but only to sample the diversity of flora in the region. Even though, I hope it will help those entering into the field of botany in Saudi Arabia. The time of the day and area where it was spotted have been provided for each flower if it will be of help at any kind. Names of the flowers have been identified by the help of Mrs. Sheila Collenette’s book on wildflowers of Saudi Arabia.

  • “Your website is very special and a credit to all your research. The flora of Saudi Arabia is so very little known that anything to help bring it to the attention of those who can protect it and preserve these special habitats is to be encouraged.”

    Mrs. Rosie Peddle FLS (Fellow of The Linnean Society of London)Associação para Plantas e Jardins em Climas Mediterrânicos, APEJECM & Mediterranean Garden Society, Portugal
  • “It is a great pleasure to see the rich and diverse flora of Saudi Arabia represented here by Nowfal’s excellent photographs. This is an absorbing subject worthy of further research.”

    Mrs. Sheila CollenetteAuthor, Wildflowers of Saudi Arabia, Hampshire, UK

 

Convolvulus-buschiricus

Convolvulus buschiricus

A shrubby plant with hairy stems to 1 meter long; light pink flowers 2.5 cm wide with no scent.

Location: Madain Salih in Madinah Province
Time: Afternoon, March

Retama-raetam

Retama raetam

A shrubby plant with thin and flexible branches, which are silvery green when young and dark green when mature. It is also called ‘White Broom’. Small flowers with a size of 1 cm wide. It is impressive mainly due to its abundant blossoming. Its roots penetrate the soil to a great depth (some claim up to 20 meters), and they reach water even after the upper soil layers have dried. The leaves are simple, narrow and elongated, with a length of 10 mm.

Location: Madain Salih, Madinah Province
Time: Mid noon, March

Lavandula-dentata

Lavandula dentata

A native flowering plant. Growing to 60 cm tall, it has gray-green, linear or lance-shaped leaves with toothed edges and a lightly woolly texture. It has long-lasting, narrow spikes of purple flowers, topped with pale violet bracts. The whole plant is strongly aromatic with the typical lavender fragrance.

Location: Jabal Soodah, Asir Province
Time: September

echinops

Echinops

An erect branching spiny-leaved herb 1m high; very pale blue flowers in spherical heads 4cm wide; faint sweet scent; the spines do not extend beyond the open flowers and the stems are pale brownish. Widespread in the region.

Location: Diriyyah area, 40 km NW of Riyadh
Time: Afternoon, April

datura-innoxia

Datura innoxia

A branching leafy herb 60cm high with dark green leaves. The flower is trumpet shaped, 4cm wide; very spiny hanging fruits. Its leaves are not grazed as it is highly poisonous even to man. It is a very widespread plant in the country.

Location: Al Hair, 30 km South of Riyadh
Time: Morning, December

rosa-abyssinica

Rosa abyssinica

A thorny shrubby plant with stems to 4 meter long; creamy-white flowers 2.5 cm wide with sweet scent. It has long weak shoots by which it grows over other plants.

Location: Abhah in the Asir Province
Time: Afternoon, November

achillea-biebersteinii

Achillea Biebersteinii

An erect leafy herb 35 cm tall branching from the base and with feathery grey-green leaves; Almost flat heads 9cm wide of tiny deep yellow flowers; very aromatic. Usually growing in colonies.

Location: Ragbah, 160 km NW of Riyadh
Time: Late afternoon, April

teucrium-oliverianum

Teucrium Oliverianum

A leafy herb (40cm); widespread in wadis and on alluvial soils. It appears in spring after rainfall.

(Local Name: Qasba’a)

Location: Tumair, 160 KMs NE of Riyadh
Time: Morning, March

9 Comments

  1. Beautiful flora photographs. I am trying to identify a plant growing here in the desert in the Al Aflaj region of KSA. It’s a ground-hugging plant with small leaves, producing, on tendrils, a plenitude of extraordinary round fruits which dry to become brittle. A local member of staff says that in Arabic it is (transliterated) “hanthel” and has the local name “shari”. I have taken a number of photographs and put them on my Facebook business Page at https://www.facebook.com/DavidBoycePiano/photos/ms.c.eJw9j8kNADEIAztaEW7339gqEHiODD4SBk8mUk~_j~;LL5NMewxRE7jmFvnR8LSdJJOct9r8O495rzr9zsj02LQ5fLb~;Mtmldvv~_3jnU~_T73I5MHvc~_376elQ~;Hv~_Q0s0ep9V~;TD9Q8~;MH8~;2neH4QLp2xXPrkoffK7IWidLUfjyxPZQ~-~-.bps.a.895968137135181.1073741889.244714395593895/895968200468508/?type=1&theater

    I also have an album there of photos of Calotropis Procera

    • Dear David,

      Sorry for a very late reply though, the name of the plant in my knowledge is ‘colocynthis’ and is widely grown in the semi arid parts of the Kingdom. The fruit though looks like a small melon is not edible.

      Thank you again for your interest in Splendid Arabia

  2. Thank you for sharing these very beautiful images. I would love to see more of them. I wonder if you might tell me, Mrs. Collenette, whether any sort of large lily (Liliaceae) occurs naturally there; also, the Compositae Achillea millefolium, known as ‘yarrow’ in North America; and, also so familiar here, Daucus carota (an Umbelliferae)? It is odd how just a few images of wild flowers can alter one’s idea of another country’s lands.

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