When most people think of a desert, they think of a harsh, hot, and arid area without vegetation—a landscape filled with nothing but giant dunes. But, only a small part of all deserts on earth is like that. And Wadi Rum is not one of them.
Wadi Rum desert has a ‘hot arid’ desert climate. Its vegetation is accordingly, sparse. Still, a lot of visitors are amazed by the variety and abundance. In this blog, we share information about the vegetation of Wadi Rum.
The influence of altitudes
Altitudes influence climate conditions. Every 100-meter increase in height means a temperature reduction of 1 degree Celsius. The differences in temperature and precipitation between the mountain peaks and the valley floors of Wadi Rum are significant. On the valley floors, you will find typical desert vegetation. And high in the mountains, you can find Mediterranean vegetation.
Wadi Rum desert’s 3 main types of vegetation
- Dune vegetation
Over sixty percent of the desert is covered with this type of vegetation. It consists mainly of shrubs and bushes. The main species include the Haloxylon persicum (White Saxaul), the Retama raetam (White Broom), the Calligonum comosum (Arta), and the Neurada procumbens (Saadan).
- Acacia Rocky Sudanian vegetation
This type of vegetation can be found in the rocky areas of Wadi Rum. The main species in these areas include the Acacia radiana (Samar) and the Anabasis articulate (Jointed Anabis).
- Hammada vegetation
Only some sorts of the plants that are part of this vegetation type can be found in the desert. The main species we have include the Anabasis articulate (Jointed Anabis), the Retama raetam (White Broom), the Tamarix (tarfa), and the Achillea fragrantissima (Qaysūm).
The wide variety of flora
In the protected area, you can find over 160 species of plants that belong to almost 50 different plant families. Most of them are specially adapted plants that can survive in our harsh desert climate.
- About 7 of them are useful as a source of wood
- Over 30 species we use for medicinal purposes
- Some 15 we avoid as they are known to be poisonous
- Around 50 are a source of food for different species of animals including our livestock
- 6 plants are endemic
Plants are essential for survival in the desert
Bedouin living in the desert depend on what the area can provide them. Plants are essential to survive. Over time we learned how to use all plants. We will give you three examples of how we use plants for multiple purposes.
- Haloxylon persicum (White Saxaul)
The White Saxual is dominant and vital in Wadi Rum. This plant can fixate dunes. Further, they are also the main fodder for our camels. And we collect the dead plant’s wood as firewood.
- Retama raetam (White Broom)
The White Broom is another dominant and resilient plant in our desert. It is known for its excellent ability to fix dunes. This plant can survive the dry, harsh conditions of the desert very well and is palatable for our animals. And we also use it for medicinal purposes. We collect the dead plants to use it as firewood.
- Anabasis articulate (Jointed Anabis)
The Jointed Anabis White Broom is palatable for our animals. We use this plant for washing purposes as it has the ability to foam and clean. And when dead, these plants are useful as firewood.
During our tours, we also share information about plants and the way we use them. And for those who like to participate in Bedouin life, they can assist us in collecting firewood. We will use this wood to provide you tea and a traditional Bedouin lunch or dinner.