Because characteristics, namely soil. Out of these six

Because of the nature of the terrain and harsh
climatic conditions of high temperatures and scanty erratic rains (Abdel Bari,
2005), the vegetation of Qatar is poor open scrub of undershrubs, perennials and ephemerals (Babikir, 1984), These life
forms make up over 60% of the total flora whereas perennials represented by
trees, lianes, shrubs, undershrubs and perennial herbs are about 40% of the
total number of taxa recorded (Abdel Bari, 2005).

Additionally, six types of plant communities
have been recognized according to their floristic composition and habitat
characteristics, namely soil. Out of these six plant communities three are represented
in the Khor EI-Odaid area. These types are; first coastal land sabkha community
type that are halophytic coastal communities which occur in low-lying sites
with Halopeplis perfoliata and Zygophyllum spp. as the dominant
plant species. On the other hand, the coastal land sand communities type occur
on either the flat terrain or the undulating sand dunes adjacent to the sea shore. These plant communities are
characterized by the dominance of Cyperus conglomeratus
v. effusus with Fagonia indica and Arnebia hispidissima
among others as the main associates. The last type is sand dune community which
occurs wholly on the south and south east portions of Qatar, Panicum
turgidum and Cyperus conglomeratus v. multiculmis dominate in pure
stands (Babikir, 1984).

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Moreover, nine halophytic and eleven
glycophytic plant communities recognized in Qatar. Six of the twenty
communities; three halophytic and three glycophytic, may be encountered in the
SE part of Qatar. The halophytic communities are: Limonium axillare,
Aeluropus /agopoides and Sporobolus arabicus; while the
glycophytic ones are: Panicum turgidum, Rhanterium epapposurn and
Zygophyl/urn quatarense. In general, it
seems that plant distribution in Khor EI-Odaid area is determined by a gradient
in salt and water content ranging from the coastal sabkhas to the coalesced
dunes adjacent to the coast to the hamada plains in the inland margins.
Variation in the chloride content of the soil also plays a role in this vegetation
gradation (Babikir, 1984).

Besides the mangrove, which occupies the tidal
and swampy muddy shorelines, the other species occupy deep rodats with
relatively finer soils and more moisture retaining capacity. The alien tree
species Prosopis juliflora is now naturalized. The most dominant shrub
is Lycium shawii (Local name: Awsaj) which hardly reaches its maximum
height due to extensive grazing by all livestock, as well as by the totally
vegetarian desert lizard Uromastyx microlepis. All types of immigrant
and resident birds feed on its fruits, which are small red berries (Local name:
Masaa). The most common family of flowering plants besides the grasses, legumes
and composites is the Chenopodiaceae, which is represented by 22 species
belonging to 16 genera mostly of halophytic taxa (Salsola with 5 species).
Although the composites, legumes and grasses make up the largest species
representation, most their genera are represented by one or two species each,
except for few genera, e.g. Launaea Compositae and Astragalus Fabaceae.

There are no species in Qatar among above mentioned species included in the world
lists of endangered species. However a number of species are subject to total
disappearance from the flora of the State of Qatar if they continue to be
exploited without any effort of conservation and/or introduction within the
local agri-system. Among these are the favored wild edible species: Glossonema
edule (Local name: Attar, Yarawa), which is eaten as unripe fruits; Launaea
capitata (Local name: Hewa), the whole plant is collected and the rosette
leaves are eaten as a salad. The desert truffles (Termania and Tefrezia), which
is collected almost to extinction, so far no real effort is put into their
possible cultivation as most other edible macro-fungi. Equally endangered are
some local species of medicinal value in particular: Halophyllum
tuberculatum (Local name: Sazab) and Teucrium polium (Local name: Yaad,
Gaad) (Abdel Bari, 2005)

The halophytic vegetation of Limonium/Halopeplis
comm. is confined to the sabkhas in the littoral coastal plain. The
soil here is fine-grained with poor drainage and high salinity as they
are affected by the shallow saline water table. In general, Limonium
axillare dominates nearest to the shore, while Halopeplis perfoliata
dominates most landward. In the sand dune ecogeomorphological system
(Cyperus/Panicum comm.) the soil is loose coarse sand,
predominantly oolithic, and occasionally lime-cemented. Nearest to the
shore, the dunes are less dynamic than the inland ones which are mobile
and generally of the barchan type. The relatively high salt content
on the coastal sand dunes helps stabilize the sand dunes by preventing
the removal of sand particles by wind. On the other hand, the inland
dunes, with relatively low amount of salt and water, change their sizes
and shapes continuously by the effect of wind. Plant growth is dominated
by Cyperus conglomeratus vat. Multiculmis when slower movement of dunes
is involved, while Panicum turgidum dominates on the inland relatively
dynamic dunes. Finally, in hamada plains with thin soil and hard
calcareous rock fragments, the plant growth is dominated by Zygophyllum
quatarense. This plant species usually dominates in less moist and low
chloride content habitat (Babikir, 1984).