Following the recent discovery, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and chairman of the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD), issued a directive to conserve and propagate the plant. It is now included in the local propagation programmes run by the EAD's plant nursery in Al Dhafra's Baynunah area.
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Belonging to the hierarchical Peganum family, the plant is completely different from the Rhazya stricta species, which was usually seen in eastern Al Ain and many other emirates. Peganum harmala is characterised as a perennial herbaceous plant that is heavily branched, with a length of 30 to 60cm. Its leaves are highly elongated and divided into narrow parts. Its single flowers are white in colour and develop three-chambered fruit with small black seeds.
The plant grows wild in most countries of the Arab world and the Mediterranean, especially in rocky areas in environments with relatively abundant rain. In Abu Dhabi, this species is spread in the Houbara Reserve between Al Marzum area and Madinat Zayed. The discovery also meant a whole new genus (Peganum) has been added to the UAE's flora, further highlighting the plant diversity of the country.
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