Philanthropist distributes 100,000 free Ghaf and Arak trees

Emirati hopes scheme will encourage people to look after UAE's green spaces

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - September 24:  The ghaf tree forest near the Digdagga area of Ras Al Khaimah on September 24, 2008. The ghaf tree is an indigenous tree which grows in the flat sandy plains of the UAE deserts. Its very long roots ensure it can reach water from deep within the ground allowing it to survive in the hot desert conditions.  (Randi Sokoloff / The National) Prosopis africana. Prosopis cineraria is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to arid portions of Western and South Asia,[1] such as the Arabian[2] and Thar Deserts.[3] Common names include Ghaf (Arabic),[1] Khejri, Jant/Janti, Sangri (Rajasthan), Jand (Punjabi), Kandi (Sindh), Banni (Kannada), Vanni (Tamil), Sami, Sumri (Gujarat). It is the provincial tree of the Sindh province of Pakistan. Prosopis cineraria is a small to medium-sized thorny tree, with slender branches armed with conical thorns and with light bluish-green foliage. The leaflets are dark green with thin casting of light shade. It coppices profusely.

The tree is evergreen or nearly so. It produces new flush leaves before summer. The flowers are small in size and yellow or creamy white in colour, appear from March to May after the new flush of leaves. The seedpods are formed soon thereafter and grow rapidly in size, attaining full size after about two months.

It is well adapted to browsing by animals, such as camels and goats. Young plants assume a cauliflower-like, bushy appearance in areas open to goat browsing.

Prosopis cineraria requires strong light, and dense shade will kill seedlings. The crown (aboveground portion) grows slowly.

The root system of Prosopis cineraria is long and well developed, securing a firm footing for the plant and allowing it to obtain moisture from groundwater. Taproot penetration up to 35 m (115 ft) in soil depth has been reported. Like other members of the family Fabaceae, symbiotic bacteria found in its root nodules allow it to fix nitrogen in th *** Local Caption ***  RS031-GHAF.jpgRS031-GHAF.jpg
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An Emirati philanthropist has launched a project to distribute 100,000 free Ghaf and Arak tree saplings to residents across the UAE.

Salem Sultan Al Qayedi came up with the idea to encourage people to expand green spaces in the country by planting more foliage.

Mr Al Qayedi said the scheme - which he calls ‘My tree is my endowment’ - attracted large crowds at Maliha market in Sharjah this week.

He said other supporters had also been in touch on social media asking if they were able to pick up more of his trees.

“This project was launched in celebration of these holy days and to instil the importance of expanding green spaces by planting more trees,” Mr Al Qayedi said.


Read more:

250 native ghaf trees planted at RAK desert resort to mark International Day of Forests

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“We want to encourage community members to be part of this process.”

The Ghaf tree is a species of small, flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is found right across the Gulf region as well as parts of south Asia but is widely regarded as the national tree of the UAE. Its long roots ensure it can reach water from deep within the ground, allowing it to survive in the hot desert conditions.

The Arak tree or shrub is native to the Middle East and Africa. It typically grows to a height of three metres and its fibrous branches have been used for centuries as a natural toothbrush - or miswak - due to its antiseptic properties.

Mr Al Qayedi said the next phase of his project would be to distribute a million free trees and to launch a campaign aimed at educating young people in the UAE about the importance of green spaces.