Dubai is one of seven emirates or states that form the federation known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula. The arid subtropical climate is generally inhospitable to flora, with minimal rainfall and cloudless blue skies year round. During the hottest months of June to September, temperatures can reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tribulus omanense is the bright yellow national flower of Dubai. Although some online sources state that there is no common name for this species, it is called puncture vine on the Arkive website, and in 2010, awaits classification by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Arkive also promises posting of full specifications for this flower following comprehensive, expert research. Tribulus omanense is one species among about 25 genera that belong to the Zygophyllaceae family.
The desert hyacinth or fox radish (Cistanche tubulosa) is one of seven parasitic plants of the UAE. It has no green foliage due to the lack of chlorophyll. The bright yellow blooms of the desert hyacinth are dappled with deep red, growing in a pyramid spike on host plants. The desert hyacinth has a high saline tolerance, thriving in arid climates. Interestingly, its big store of seeds remain dormant, sometimes for years, until the host plant’s roots are sufficiently close to be able to prompt germination. The desert hyacinth is a member of the Orobanchaceae family.
The red thumb (Orobanche cooperi ) is among the UAE’s few edible plants, with a long history of use as food and drink. It is also a parasitic plant with no chlorophyll and thus no green foliage, but dark purple, cone-like blooms. Its other common names include tarthuth and desert broomrape. The red thumb is a member of the Orobanchaceae family.
Red Silk Cotton Tree
The showy, red flowers of the Bombax ceiba or red silk cotton tree form a spectacular natural show, usually around February when they bloom continuously for the better part of a month. These beautiful flowers are about seven inches long, ornamenting an imposing deciduous tree that can attain heights of around 100 feet, and a spread of around 60 feet. The red silk cotton tree has several common names, including bombax, kapok, red cotton tree and silk cotton. It is a member of the Malvaceae family, and is native to Asia and Australia. It is something of a rarity in Dubai, especially since the usual agents for the tree’s cross pollination, birds, insects and small animals, are absent. This likely explains the lack of natural propagation of this tree in Dubai. However, this fast growing tree attracts maximum attention for its singular beauty.