Human Flower Project
HFQ#9: What Thrives in Qatar?
Calling all Persian Gulf landscapers…
Georgia Silvera Seamans, our well-traveled friend, forwards a question from her sister-in-law.
“Would you happen to have any idea of plants that would survive in Doha, Qatar? We have some palm trees lining the property but I am thinking of something along the lines of ground cover, shrubs or little knee high types of plants?”
(Qatar, for Ameri-centricists, is a peninsular state extending about 100 miles into the Persian Gulf, off the northern coast of Saudi Arabia. It’s about the size of Massachusetts, with a lot more oil.)
While Central Texans are becoming better acquainted with desert plants all the time, we don’t know what would do well in Qatar. But here seems to be some excellent offhand advice from Bonnie James, as she describes local plants to be featured in a new garden project of the Qatar Foundation.
“…acacia tortilis (Arabic name is Samr, umbrella thorn), cymbopogon parkeri (Khabar, a tall, scented grass), lycium shawii (Awsaj, a thorny shrub), rhanterium epapposum (Arfaj, a shrub), and ziziphus nummularia (Sidra).”
Rhanterium epapposum (Arfaj), a flowering shrub that does well in Qatar
Bonnie provides lots more information on each of these species, so we hope Georgia’s questioner will read the whole piece from the Gulf Times. For example: “Honey from Sidra flowers is said to be the most sought after in the world, costing as much as 100 times that of other honeys.“ And ash from burned sidra leaves is used to treat snakebite. Are snakes a problem in Doha?
And thanks for the question, as it has alerted us to the Qatar Foundation’s ambitious undertaking, a human flower project if there ever was one: the foundation has begun planning the world’s first Qu’ranic garden—“that blends the teachings of the Qur’an with modern day horticultural understanding.” In partnership with UNESCO, the effort began last fall. We hope to follow its progress here at HFP.