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Nature’s natives of the UAE
Apr, 2023 |

United Arab Emirates, the place we call home, is also home to a lot of plants! As per the UAE National Red List of Vascular Plants 2021, over 598 species native plants have been recorded to date. Before we go further, let’s look at what constitutes “native plants”. Simply put, native plants mean ‘local habitats’ or indigenous to the area. Basically, these plants have originated in a particular habitat and region and have been a part of the ecosystem for thousands of years or even more. They are well adapted to the climate, light, soil of that region.

Here is a list of the plants that have such characteristics, categorized as the native plants of the UAE:

Date Palm

A native plant that requires no introduction, the Date Palm tree goes by different names like Nakhl, Nakheel or Nakhla. Cultivated throughout the UAE, the plant is grown at all elevations. It can grow up to 30 meters height, can hold moisture and thrive in extreme hot climate. With over 150 varieties of dates in the UAE, it comes as no surprise that Dates are considered to be the national fruit of the country.

Craving for some high quality dates? Click here to browse through our extensive collection of dates sourced from the best farms.

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Ghaf tree (Prosopis cineraria)

Tall and proud, the Ghaf tree is the national tree of the UAE, and it symbolizes the history and culture of peace and stability of the UAE. It holds this stature, owing to its ability to endure the harsh desert conditions and yet stay green.  The Ghaf tree can live up to 120 years on average. The leaves and pods are known to be of use for human and livestock, along with having medicinal properties.

Arta (Calligonum comosum)

A perennial shrub that can grow up to 2.5 meter, Arta has twigs slender with dark and rough main stems and thicky woody rootstock. The plant is usually found in sandy dunes and roadsides. Arta serves as firewood and has great medicinal benefits.

Calligonum comosum garden plants
Desert hyacinth garden plants

Desert hyacinth (Cistanche tubulosa)

The Desert hyacinth goes by different names like Fox radish, Ginseng of the Desert and grows up to 4 cms. The pyramid shaped plant with bright yellow flowers is a beautiful sight. A unique plant that is not green because unlike other plants, Desert hyacinth does not have chlorophyll and it lives off other plants to get its nutrients.

Ausaj (Lycium shawii)

Often found in gravel, hillsides, wadis, this desert plant can grow up to 3 meters height. With very thin leaves, the plant produces whitish pink or purple flowers and red small edible berries. Traditionally, the leaves, stem and berries are used as cure for eye aliments and such.

Lycium shawii garden plants
Cornulaca monacantha garden plants

Thallag (Cornulaca monacantha)

A woody shrub, that grows up to 60 cms, Tallag is purely a desert wind resitant plant which has blue-green leaves.  Tallag is known for its place in traditional medicine for many illnesses. It also provides grazing for camels.

Safrawi (Dipterygium glaucum)

A perennial shrub that bears flowers and fruits. Safrawi reaches up to 80 cms in height. The shrub grows in deep sands and similar environment.  With medicinal uses, the plant has been used in curing respiratory diseases.

Dipterygium glaucum garden plants
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Arfaj (Rhanterium epapposum)

With the intricate network of branches, Arfaj has small thorns and bright yellow flowers. A perennial shrub, it can grow up to 70 cms height. It is interesting to know that the young leaves of Arfaj is used as a spice. It also serves as wood for fuel and as a grazing plant.

As you would have gathered, many of the native plants has existed in the region for a long time and come with its own versatility and medicinal properties. So, if you want to get one of these versatile garden plants or just order plants online, remember we are just a click away.  Moreover, if you need any assistance, write to us at:  and our team of garden experts in Dubai can provide you with the right guidance.

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