Occupying the southeastern coast of the Arabian peninsula, the sultanate of Oman is a small country characterised by expansive deserts, rugged mountains and scattered oases. Despite the overall aridity of the country, numerous flowering plants thrive in the rocky soil and fluctuating temperatures characteristic of the area. Hardy and ornamental, the native flowers of Oman include several varieties widely grown in gardens around the world.
A common ornamental plant around the world, sabi star (Adenium obesum) is a succulent evergreen shrub common across Oman. Growing to between 3 and 10 feet in height, it is known for its swollen, bottled-shaped trunk and leathery leaves, as well as its showy trumpet-shaped flowers. Appearing in spring, the flowers occur in shades of pink and red with a pronounced white throat. Despite its beauty, sabi star is moderately toxic and its sap is commonly used as a type of poison in rural areas of Oman.
Creamy Peacock Flower
Although not native to Oman, creamy peacock flower (Delonix elata) is a widely naturalised alien species now common throughout coastal areas of the country. Growing to between 10 and 50 feet in height, it varies wildly in size but always demonstrates a spreading growth habit with a rounded crown of foliage. In spring and summer, creamy peacock flower bears a profusion of large creamy-white flowers with exceptionally long, coral-red sepals with bulbous tips.
A delicate herbaceous wild flower, black-eyed geranium (Geranium ocellatum) thrives in mountainous regions of Oman where summertime temperatures remain moderate. It clings to rocky outcroppings and protected slopes where a reliable source of moisture is available. Growing to 9 inches in height, black-eyed geranium is a low-growing herb bearing hairy, kidney-shaped leaves and dark-pink, cup-shaped flowers with a purplish-black centre. Although small, the flowers are highly ornamental and grown widely around the world.
Summer asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus) thrives along rocky slopes and arid grasslands across Oman. Hardy and beautiful, summer asphodel bears several long, straplike leaves around its base before sending up a 4-foot-tall flower stalk topped by a cluster of waxen, lilylike flowers of a salmon-pink hue. A pale chocolate-brown stripe marks the central line of each petal. In Oman, the tuber is used as both a source of food and medicine.
A scrambling evergreen shrub, Abyssinian rose (Rosa abyssinica) is cultivated around the world as an ornamental for its fragrant, yellowish-white flowers. In Oman, Abyssinian rose exists as both a garden plant and naturalised wild flower, where it thrives along roadsides, in disturbed fields and cool mountainous areas. Known for their rich amber-musk fragrance, the flowers of Abyssinian rose are held in high regard in Omani culture and are commonly planted in cemeteries and near sacred sites.