22 Apr 2018

Arta – Jubail


Whilst birding the Jubail area recently I came across an Arta Calligonum comosum. Thius plant is a virtually leafless perennial shrub up to 2.5m tall, stem much branched from thick woody rootstock. Main stems dark and rough often with peeling bark, older branches white with swollen nodes, less rough but angular and fragile and often dropping. Twigs slender, dark green looks from a distance like long trailing hairs. Leaves if present are minute, 3-5mm long, falling off quickly. Flowers are many, five white sepals with greenish central stripe, no petals, with bright red anthers, on short stalks from leaf nodes, sometimes clustered. Flowers from December to April. Fruit is showy, bristly nut covered with rusty red or white furry hairs, becoming dirty yellow in maturity. It prefers sand plains, dunes and roadsides where it is common and widespread. This species is an excellent desert sand binder, cultivated and used for windbreaks around desert plantations; used as firewood, as it burns smokelessly; dried leaves and stems are chewed to treat toothache, young shoots collected as salad greens or powdered to add to milk as a tonic or flavouring, fruits are edible.
Arta

Arta

Arta

Arta

Arta



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