Images of dry tropical habitat: Oman

Though Arabia is usually associated with baking desert, the parts of the peninsula that reach into the tropics are often much richer in species than similarly dry parts of the temperate zone. One part of Oman, a region called Dhofar, supports a unique pocket of tropical deciduous forest.

Click on a thumbnail for a larger image:


Frankinscence tree
The Frankinscence Tree ( Boswellia sacra in the Burseraceae) growing in the Dhofar region of southern Oman
Frankinscense burning
In case you're wondering what frankinscence is, it is the gum that exudes from the bark of the Frankinscence Tree that is used as a wonderfully aromatic inscence. In southern Oman, it is burned in special clay burners.
Cordia flowers
Flowers of a species of Cordia in cultivation in the Botanic Garden of Sultan Qaboos University.
Dhofar landscape
A very odd, unidentified tree (Capparaceae?) near Al Ayun, Dhofar.
This strange plant is an Adenium, a relative of oleander. It was growing on a rocky hillside near the ocean in Dhofar. Many plants of dry tropical areas have water-storing trunks.




Camel crossing
(Images at left and right) Camel crossing and camels on Dhofar roads.
Camels crossing

Coccoon on Moringa
Cocoon of ? on Moringa peregrina built of Moringa leaf segments, photographed in the Jebel Akhdar range in northern Oman.
Dhofar gecko
Small gecko (Pristurus carteri) sitting immobile on a rock in the baking midday sun of inland Dhofar.


dhofar dune tracks
During the day, many drylands, especially the driest ones, look bereft of animals. But this dune face in Dhofar belies the presence of insects, rodents, and lizards.
Tree-climbing goat
Goats are among the most destructive of all grazing domestic animals. One reason is their persistence and resourcefulness. This goat in northern Oman has figured out how to climb an Acacia tortilis.


Dhofar escarpment forest
Hot summer air blasting out of the Arabian interior creates an inversion layer, causing the southern face of a low escarpment in southern Oman to catch just enough of the summer monsoon to support a rich, unique tropical decidous forest.
Dhofar escarpment
This image looks generally southward to the Arabian Sea from just above the lip of the escarpment. This image was taken just a few kilometers from the previous one, showing how abrupt the transition is between the forest on the escarpment face and the drier habitats above it.
Interior Dhofar vegetation
The inversion layer blocks the penetration of moist air northward into the interior. This photo was taken about 30 kilometers from the previous one. The large tree is the unidentified plant shown in photo 4. above, and the black shrubs are Frankinscence Trees.
Wadi Ghul
This large watercourse, the Wadi Ghul, drains the southern flanks of the Jebel Akhdar in northern Oman. The green shrubs in the foreground are Euphorbia larica. The white-trunked tree is Moringa peregrina. Numerous Acacia tortilis trees can be seen below. The shrubs include the Caper Family member Ochradenus.
Wadi Muaydin
The rocky Wadi Muaydin in northern Oman supports trees such as Acacia tortilis, Ziziphus spina-christi, and Acridocarpus orientalis.
Landscape on the Nizwa to Bahla road
This image is from northern Oman, showing a landscape with Acacia trees, numerous grasses, and abundant shrublets of Fagonia.


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Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria
Copilco, Coyoacán A. P. 70-367
C. P. 04510, México, D. F.

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all material © 2002 Mark E Olson