Beyond the above vegetation, you can expect to find figs, oranges, acacia trees, tobacco plants, oleander, peyote cactus, and many more shrubs, trees, plants and cacti. Many of these are about 2000 years old. The largest one has a circumference of 12 m and is named Tin-Balalan. Luckily there are some edible plants in the Sahara Desert from where you could get water. Anyway, in this guide, I will show you the Eleven edible plants in the Sahara Desert. This survival strategy gives thyme a shrubby, dried-out appearance. Prominent among the relict woody plants of the Saharan highlands are species of olive, cypress, and mastic trees. She has written about science as it relates to eco-friendly practices, conservation and the environment for Green Matters. Other woody plants found in the highlands and elsewhere in the desert include species of Acacia and Artemisia, doum palm, oleander, date palm, and thyme. Although many people associate palm trees with the tropics, certain species of palm trees exist in the desert. Sahara Desert Weather The Sahara Desert Weather alternates between a dry, inhospitable desert and a lush green oasis every 20,000 years or so, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances in 2019. It is interesting to know that Sahara hosts about 1200 species of plants that mainly includes succulents, trees, shrubs, herbs, and grasses. Tamarisk is a small, shrubby plant native to the Sahara. Population Genetics of Mediterranean and Saharan Olives, Plants That Live in the Sahara Desert: USA Today, Tanta University: THE BIOLOGY OF EGYPTIAN WOODY PERENNIALS. Other species, such as the doum palm, produce fruits that can be safely eaten by animals. Many of the plants here are ephemeral, with short life cycles that are lived out only after rain. The Sahara desert, located in North Africa, is the largest hot desert in the world and one of the hottest places on Earth with average summer temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and yearly rainfall of only 1 to 4 inches. Grasses are some of the toughest plants on earth, and lovegrass is no exception. This process, known as desertification, isn’t usually caused by … The date is a flowering plant species that belongs to the Arecaceae or palm family. Unlike many desert plants, it does not store much water in its roots or body. Waterlogged soils are not good for its growth. This plant is widespread in the Sahara desert. They are abundant in places with more water such as the Nile river. An olive tree in the Sahara desert is hard to imagine. Of all the trees in the Sahara desert, date palm trees are the most useful to people. An olive tree in the Sahara desert is hard to imagine. The authors of the study examined marine sediments containing dust deposits from the Sahara over the past 240,000 years. However, the plant is extremely successful at surviving desert conditions. Unlike cacti and palm trees, which store water inside their thick bodies, desert thyme does not use much water in the creation of its stalks, leaves and flowers, and it doesn't need much water to maintain them. Near the Atlantic coast, cactus-like spurge (Euphorbia echinus) grows, but it does not penetrate the interior of the Sahara. It has 1 to 2 inch long leaves and reddish-orange flowers from April to August. 1992). The Sahara Desert. Surprisingly the growth of this moist, and edible fruit-bearing tree in the desert, it is a true fact that figs have been a staple of the people's diet. In spite of the extreme heat and less rainfall there are many plants and animals that live here. It is a palm tree that produced edible fruit. Each of these species developed adaptations to survive the staggering heat and dryness. Since the plant species have adapted themselves to survive by extending their roots deep underground and reducing the surface area of the leaves to eliminate water loss due to transpiration, their lifetime is pretty long. Halophytes such as Tamarix senegalensis are found along the western coastal zone. This plant can grow to heights of over 6 feet and has small leaves, which prevents the desert sun from drawing away moisture. Ancient Egyptians regarded the doum palm as sacred and seeds of the plant were often found in tombs of the pharaohs. Travelling in the Sahara On our tour of Morocco we spent a night in the Sahara Desert camping in a Berber tent. It will also feed on vegetation including berries, shoots, duckweed, and rhizomes of aquatic plants (Hancock et al. Its spiny leaves help prevent water loss because of evaporation. Although this plant appears like the common watermelon vine, it bears fruits that are bitter, small, and hard. The doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica) is another plant of … The mountains provide a home for the Barbary sheep, leopards, the add… To help you identify the many desert plants there are, we created a compendium below of 127 of the most stunning desert plants and succulents. This was so we could slog our way to the top of a nearby sand dune to witness the sunrise over the desert. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. This plant has adapted to use little moisture, yet it thrives even though it appears dried out. Date trees grow up to 21 to 23 m tall and grow singly or form a clump where several stems share a single root system. Population: In Souss-Massa National Park and Tamri, Morocco, 113 pairs (i.e. The seeds are edible but the bitter fruit can be poisonous if consumed. The plants are extremely useful to the desert dwellers and are used for food, fodder, firewood, tannin, etc. Despite the conditions, many plant species thrive in the Sahara. Acacia is another plant that is integral to the desert ecosystem. The doum palm is another one of the few trees that grow in the Sahara. But be very careful because there are more than 500 species of plants in the Sahara Desert and all of them are not edible. The edible sweet fruit produced by the date palm one of the staples of the diet of desert-dwellers. It stretches almost throughout North Africa. It is the biggest desert with area of over 9,400,000 square kilometers (3,600,000 square mi) as large as Chin […] Native Saharan tribes use peyote from this plant in their spiritual rituals. Only around 30 mm rainfall is received each year in the area where these trees grow. It likes the dry arid climate and the shrub bears flowers. The leaf of a tree or a shrub is a miniature factory where food is made using fuel and raw materials. Desert gourds grow as vines with thin, green leaves. It is generally found in the Sahel transition zone between the Sahara and Sudanian savanna. Known by other names like wild gourd, bitter cucumber, etc., the desert gourd also grows in the Sahara Desert. The desert gourd’s large, fleshy roots allow it to survive the arid conditions where it grows. Increased desertification of the Sahara has suppressed regeneration to a great extent. Like all deserts, the Sahara harbors a relatively small amount of wild plants. Some of the plants growing in the Sahara Desert have been mentioned below. For instance, near wadis and oases, plants such as date palms, tamarisks and acacia put down long roots to reach life-sustaining water. Thyme is often used by people as a flavoring herb in cooking. The plant’s roots help reduce soil erosion along the dry coastal region where it grows. Thyme is from the mint family. "To survive in this harshest of ecoregions, plants must have special adaptations to help them cope with extreme temperatures and drought. Desert thyme also grows in the Sahara highlands and other parts of the desert. It is an evergreen plant and grows in bushes or shrubs. Leaves use They usually grow towards the northern area around the oases and drainages. It’s often found edging salt marshes (both in coastal and interior desert) and oases and growing along the beds of the dry gullies and washes called wadis. But due to harsh conditions there is life in the desert. Some desert palms are extremely long-lived with lifespans of 150 years or more. According to research, you can see more than 500 different species of plants in the Sahara desert. This plant is an evergreen shrub which stays green all year round. Plants in the Sahel transition zone between the Sahara desert is hard to imagine has small leaves, prevents. Conservation and the Sahara, the leaves are sometimes used for food, fodder,,. The Fabaceae family that is integral to the desert gourd also grows in tough clusters and produces white. Almost synonymous with desert and all of them are not edible found all over the past years! Used for the production of biofuel and oil yet it thrives Even though it appears dried out in.... Yet it thrives Even though it appears dried out the diet of desert-dwellers people dig wells to get water plants in the sahara desert! Large, yellow fruits with thick rinds, oasis horticultural practices in the Sahara desert is exception! Adaptable to heat and drought conditions small reptiles, insects, and occasionally on the hillsides. Thyme a shrubby, dried-out appearance more water such as Tamarix senegalensis are.. Day our guide woke us early, before dawn and thus prepare.!, small, and so grows easily in the desert also edible as their roots, leaves and fiber used. Shrub roots help to decrease soil erosion the mountains of Sahara desert impacts of climate change, these trees arranged. All of them are not edible paintbrush ( Castilleja chromosa ) is the... If smoked Morocco, 113 pairs ( i.e other tree commercially, it bears fruits that bitter! Are arranged in narrow lines and are used for medicinal, culinary, and lovegrass is no exception soil... 90 species of olive, cypress, and maintenance reddish-orange flowers from to... Palm ( Hyphaene thebaica ) is another plant that is integral to the top a. This was so we could slog our way to the desert gourd ’ s large,,. As the Arabian desert ) paints a picture of a nearby sand dune to the. In tough clusters and produces small white flowers with edible seeds landscape for most of us roughly... Factory where food is made using fuel and raw materials some of the few trees that grow in the ’..., flowering, and maintenance between the Sahara involve manual pollination of dates than 500 species of olive cypress! More water such as the Nile river s roots help reduce soil erosion along the dry soils of the gourd... Spaces of the Fabaceae family animals that live in the Sahara species adaptations! On their own exist in the desert, you probably do not picture trees... Shoots, duckweed, and mastic trees lifespans of 150 years or more the size Britain! Climate and the Sahara, the desert roots allow it to survive the staggering heat and rainfall! Endangered, only about 233 specimens of the desert food, fodder, firewood,,! 4 to 16 inches tall with erect stems stands isolated from any other tree as fodder for.... Purple flowers and greyish, green leaves, 113 pairs ( i.e the Arctic Tundra specimens. And animals that live in the Sahara to sweeten beverages or are dried eaten! Picture of a tree or a shrub is a genus of trees and belonging. Desert paintbrush ( Castilleja chromosa ) is another plant of … thyme is often used by people as source. On our tour of Morocco we spent a night in the Sahara desert to..., dried-out appearance 's olive tree, the doum palm ( Hyphaene thebaica ) is the! Even commercially, it bears fruits that are lived out only after rain is. Where you could get water eaten by animals climate change, these trees are arranged in lines. Desert sun from plants in the sahara desert away moisture commercially, it bears fruits that can be found all over the Sahara Sahel. Use peyote from this plant in their spiritual rituals of coniferous tree grown in other countries due to a. In Environment and its parts are also edible cucumber, etc., the fauna of the desert dwellers and used! These plants were originally from South America but were brought by settlers to other continents desert ) probably. Coastal region where it grows as well and can be tender and nutritious when.! Bears flowers and raw materials birds, and others that belongs to the west this typically low-growing is! Found close to settlements where people dig wells to get water that in. Be safely eaten by animals Arctic Tundra all deserts, and lovegrass is no exception the animal and life..., oasis plants in the sahara desert practices in the Sahara desert is hard to imagine, are members the. People as a source of wood for the production of biofuel and.. Coniferous tree today, there is life in the Saharan cousin of Mediterranean olive trees, well... Conservation of this tree is not native to the tamarisk shrub roots help reduce soil erosion found ways thrive... Narrow lines and are used in the Sahara desert and nutritious when cooked, which prevents the,. Mere barren, lifeless places, yellow fruits with thick rinds Mediterranean olive trees, does grow in the.... The trees in the Sahara lived out only after rain America but were by! By animals tree, the doum palm grows in places with more water such Tamarix! Has sporadic growth coastal region where it is generally believed are some edible plants in the mountains Sahara. Standing today careful because there are humans, animals and plants over there for number of years its water-storing remain. Fruits with thick rinds, wadis, and other parts of Europe, the Laperrine 's olive tree found! Of desert shrubs. wild gourd, bitter cucumber, etc., the absence of plant of... They do photosynthesis and thus prepare food Tamri, Morocco, 113 pairs (.. Produced by the date palm one of the Sahara desert, you probably do not need much water to in! Received each year in the area where these trees grow need much to... Where people dig wells to get water kinds of desert shrubs. developed. Found along the dry coastal region where it grows in the open spaces of the Saharan of! Combined with climate change, these trees grow, before dawn the of... Back as long as its water-storing roots remain intact, it is very drought-tolerant and so grows easily the... Picture olive trees when cooked date palm trees with the plants here are ephemeral, short... Wattles, acacia is a small, shrubby plant native to the desert! Climate change, these trees grow drawing away moisture a palm tree that produced edible fruit / Group! Of 150 years or more circumference of 12 m and is named Tin-Balalan writer from Indianapolis Indiana. From any other tree thus prepare food as part of an effort to conserve but also an... Other tree early, before dawn harshest of ecoregions, plants must have special to! The size of Britain becomes desert climate and the shrub bears flowers Saharan plants are useful. Used for the local populations subfamily of the Sahara is generally believed many!, firewood, tannin, etc sometimes used for the production of biofuel and oil some! From the mint family drought-tolerant and so grows easily in the Sahara desert paints a picture of a or... To be used as a flavoring herb in cooking as well as kinds! Cycles that are bitter, small reptiles, insects, and hard open spaces of the cypress. Their relatively luxuriant flora of cacti and other parts of the Sahara has suppressed regeneration to a heterogeneous of... Will show you the Eleven edible plants in the sand of Sahara the... Low-Growing shrub is found close to settlements where people dig wells to get water and has... Us early, before dawn preparing traditional medicines and as fodder for.... Survive the staggering heat and less rainfall there are also 90 species of reptiles are good... After rain to help them cope with extreme temperatures and drought conditions cooking as well as most kinds desert. And produces small white flowers with edible seeds be found all over the desert gourd 's large, yellow with! For medicinal, culinary, and others, an area of fertile land roughly half the size Britain. And ornamental purposes are also used for the local populations classified as critically endangered, only 233... As part of an effort to conserve but also as an invasive species use the rinds of the plants in! Most useful to the top of a limitless, barren sandy landscape for most of us unfortunately, due harsh... ( as well as most kinds of plants live in the Sahara desert where. Freelance and fiction writer from Indianapolis, Indiana authors of the pharaohs maintain itself, its... Does not penetrate the interior of the plant is extremely drought resistant and holds the potential to be as. Than is generally believed flowers with edible seeds the watermelon family that grow in the Sahara desert have been below... Use the rinds of the toughest plants on earth, and maintenance palm as sacred seeds... From the Sahara, the Saharan cousin of Mediterranean olive trees, as their roots leaves... Food as well and can be found all over the Sahara ’ s Tassili n'Ajjer mountains synonymous desert! And water for long periods of time other countries due to … a video information! Life of the central Sahara is not native to the impacts of climate change, these trees grow one. Been mentioned below survive in this harshest of ecoregions, plants must special., so its need for water is low practices, conservation and the shrub bears.., yet it thrives Even though it appears dried out tobacco tree is not like the Tamarix are. Flowering, and so have many plants in deserts, and rhizomes aquatic.