The Plants of Al Jabal Al Akhdar(Green Mountain)
The highest point in the Western Hajjar Mountains is Jabal Shams (3,009 m), and the Saiq Plateau is about 1,900 metres above sea level, so there are at least three altitude zones affecting natural vegetation and of course, cultivated plants. Only about 300 mm of rain falls annually on these exposed rocky slopes and winter nights can be cold, so plants have evolved to survive. The dry wadi beds in the valleys support quite varied plant communities as there is more shade and water.
Sahab Hotel’s carefully planned garden has preserved whatever plants occur naturally and added others typical of the area. Water conservation is a priority. The local terraced village gardens below Sahab show how carefully water use has been managed for centuries to irrigate the variety of mainly deciduous fruit for which the area is famous: apricots, peaches, pears, apples, grapes, pomegranates and walnuts. Garlic is another speciality here. The Damask rose gardens are the highlight of April.
Small trees include the wild olive, ‘but’ (Monotheca buxifolia) and Acacia gerardii. Higher up, huge specimens of Juniper are dominant. The attractive evergreen shrub Dodonaea viscosa and the bright yellow flowered Euryops provide cover for other interesting smaller flowering plants: herbs like Omani basil, aromatic and medicinal plants such as Teucrium, fragrant jasmine and myrtle, clematis and the beautiful but spiny Ebenus stellata. Succulents are also represented: Aloe vera and two species of the strange carrion flower, Caralluma. These plants also attract birds, butterflies, insects and lizards, creating a microcosm of the rich natural history of these mountains.
Native Plants Images
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