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Posted On: 9 January 2010 03:50 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

A riot of colours in the desert

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A few days of rains have made a difference to Qatar’s desert life. Seeds lying dormant for a nearly a year have sprouted into new growth, and have bloomed in the interiors of the country. The parched landscape is now dotted with indigenous flowers of different hues, with the sliver-green grass visibly transforming the dry surroundings. The winter has cast its spell all across the deserts and various species of desert plants bearing flowers can be seen in different areas of the Qatari deserts. The flowers can be spotted aplenty in places like Umm Salal Muhammed, Umm Salal Ali and Shahaniya. A medley of yellow, white and violet flowers can be spotted in these areas. The good rains this winter have also rejuvenated plants like Anastatica hierochuntica, Sclerocephalus arabicus and Meicago laciniata. Mainly spotted in the Shamal area, Anastatica hierochuntica is popularly known as resurrection plant and belongs to the mustard family. The small, gray plant curls its branches and seedpods inward in the dry season, forming the shape of a ball that opens only when it receives the first rains or dew drops. The parasitic plant Cistanche tabulosa has also bloomed in large numbers in the Mesaieed area. Its flower schenk, also called desert hyacinth, is known for its medicinal value. The Friends of Environment Centre (FEC), under its “Flower Each Spring” programme, has been conducting an extensive campaign to promote local awareness of Qatar’s indigenous plant life. The FEC is expected to announce the name of the “Flower of the Year” and the details of its annual awareness programme in the coming days.