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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Ducrosia anethifolia (Apiaceae)
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
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