Arfaj

Rhanterium epapposum - (R. Ingram)
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Scientific Name Rhanterium epapposum Arabic Name Arfaj Tagged As Plant, Shrub, Daisy Endangered Status
 

Botanical Description

Perennial shrub, intricately branched, up to 70cm high.

Leaves

Basal narrowly lance-shaped with serrated edges, leaves taste peppery.

Flower

Heads numerous, small, terminal and yellow.

Fruits

Small, 0.25cm without hair tuft, form in late spring and fall off the branches after maturity; each fruit contains 6-8 seeds.

Flowering

From May.

Fruiting

From January to May.

Habitat

The species can grow on sandy and gravel plains, low sand dunes and low hillsides.

Distribution

Once a common dwarf shrub in many north-eastern parts of UAE, overgrazing has led to the disappearance of the species in many locations.

Globally

The genus is distributed over western North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Iran.

Uses

Very important grazing plant, especially for camels. Young leaves used for food preparation as a spice. In some places it used to be gathered for fuel when no other woody species were available.