The Star of the Desert

Inside the mighty world of the Middle East’s deserts and valleys, you will find a plant that is both significant and stunning! This plant or shrub was and still there for the people of the desert. It is a complete pharmacy, a food spice, and camel’s favorites. If you are an adventurous person and been to deserts, then check your photo album on your phone, as this amazing plant will be standing somewhere there between your lovely memories… such beauty can’t be missed!


Markh plant is something you will 100% see on any trip to the desert here in the UAE. It’s always green with stems branching from the ground up to 3 meters high. Leaves are rarely found since they appear only in the early stages of growth. The stems are smooth and cylindrical which reflects a great technique to preserve water and reduce the vapor from the tree in hot days. Isn’t it clever?


If you were camping in the desert, make sure to wake up at dusk to enjoy the distinctive aroma that will travel all the way from the surrounding Markh shrubs to your camp. Markh flowers are known to bloom during winter months especially from November to June. Their beautiful flowers are small greenish that looks like star clustered, while their unique spindle-shaped fruits contain many seeds and silky white hair.


Have you been to a local feast where they served you traditional rice and meat dishes with small green aromatic stems inside? Yes, these are Markh stems. They are collected and cleaned then added to the meat to provide a wonderful flavor and aroma that cannot be achieved by any other spice! If you didn’t taste it yet, then add it to your “must-try food“ list. In addition to the use of Markh in local cuisine, these stems and fibers were used widely in the making of ropes, shades, roofs, fences, and not to forget women’s fashion. Yes, women used Markh fibers to create great-looking belts by incorporating some beads and other elements to make them look even more exclusive.


Are we done with the Markh wonders? Not yet! It is such a treasure for many of the desert inhabitants, as they use it to heal many illnesses like urine retention, several digestive system illnesses, cough, wound dressing, and rheumatism. Not to forget that Markh shrub was used in making a fire to help people survive the cold desert nights.

Now you know more about Markh plant, keep an eye on the next wonder that we will share soon! Make sure to spread the knowledge by sharing this article’s link with your family and friends, or throughout your social media account and tagging @AlAinZooUAE.