Ghaf - The Umbrella Tree | UAE
Ghaf – The Umbrella Tree
Family – Fabaceae
Species – Prosopis cineraria
These are ever green trees. It has a valuable part in the UAE heritage and culture. It is found in desert regions of the Middle east and Asia. It can be seen in all emirates and is common in Abudhabi, Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai. It is the ancient native tree of the Arabian Peninsula and it is designated as UAE national tree.
It provides shelter and shade for man and animals especially in summer days. It has a good medicinal value and well known to cure most diseases. So the Ghaf trees are most lovable and respectable to the people.
Ghaf trees are very important in the desert ecosystem .
1.The desert animal camel can eat the fruits and leaves of this tree.
2. Bees can collect nectar from the ghaf flowers.
3.Some small animals making burrows between the roots.
4.Desert birds can make nest in this tree
5. Desert animals getting shade and shelter under the tree inorder to survive from the hot summer days.
Umbrella Tree:- Ghaf tree is popularly known as “Umbrella Tree or The Tree of the Dunes".As a sapling it is known as “ haddeb” “nashwa “ as a young tree. Many have shown their love by naming their children after the tree name such as Ghafa,Ghafan,Ghuafa etc.
Peculiarities of the Ghaf Tree
It can survive in desert climate and ability to withstand prolonged drought and high salinity. So it can live hundreds of years with little water. The growth of the tree is very slow due to its habitat and lack of water and nutrition in its surroundings. It can grow approximately 1.5 m in five years.
The fruits, flowers, leaves are rich in protein. Its Wood is an important soure of timber. It releases more carbondioxie at night than anyother tree. It has a very strong root system which can penetrate as deep as 30 metres.When they became damaged or die root nodules release nitrogen in to the soil.
Campaigns: - Numerous campaigns have been introduced for giving awareness about this tree to protect from endangering and preserve the tree. Various laws are implemented to protect the gifted tree of the desert.