Arabian Gulf Islands
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Some of the major islands in the area

1. Al-Sulaimah/Huwailath ( 27 06 30.65N 49 35 03.23E)

2. Fanatheer    (27 08 35.33 N 49 35 49.35 E)

3. Germa (27 08 24.48 N 49 29 36.03 E)

4. Karen   (2711N, 4952E)

5. Abu Ali  (27 19 33.74N 49 34 00.80E)

6. Janna/Qanna  (27 44 150 N 4950' 230 E)

7. Harqus   (2756N, 4941E )

8. Krain/Kurain    (2756N, 4941E )

9. Juraid   (2711N, 4952E)

10. Batinah  (2713'47" N 4930'22" E)

Approximately 150 islands, located in three geographical locations, are reported from the Arabian Gulf which is about 10-12% of the total islands in Saudi Arabia. Majority of these islands are seen submerged under water for most of the year. Among the 150 or so islands, nearly 30 of them have popular names while others are insignificant due to their size or non-sandy surface. Some of the popular islands, such as Tarut, Abu Ali, Batinah etc. are now connected to the main-land, either by a bridge or through land fill. Among these islands, only a few of them, such as Abu Ali, Batinah, Janna and Taut are inhabited while others are used by migratory or native birds as their nesting places or serve as military base. All islands are 3 meters or less in height from sea level except Janna where some areas of this island are several meters high. These islands are surrounded by shallow coral reefs. Al Arabia is the farthest island from the mainland, about 50 nautical miles from the coast. As far as the size of the islands are concerned, Abu Ali is the largest with an area of 59 sq. km followed by Al-Batina (34 sq. km), Tarout (20 sq. km and Al-Zakhnooniyya (12 sq. km). Vegetation comprised mostly of halophytes such as Halocnemum strobilaceum, Suaeda monoica, Suaeda vermiculata, Zygophyllum hamiense var. qatarense, etc. Plants along the coastal fringes are generally dwarf, reach a meter or less towards the interiors. Tree species are virtually nil, except for a few cultivated species (such as Tamarix aphylla or the exotic species, Conocarpus erectus) in Tarut, Batinah, Abu Ali and Janna island. Islands with a significant number of wild plants are as shown below:

Fanathir Island

 

Aizoaceae

Aizoon canariense

Asteraceae

Ifloga spicata

 

Senecio glaucus

Boraginaceae

Heliotropium arbainense

Brassicaceae

Cakile arabica

Caryophyllaceae

Herniaria hemistemon

Chenopodiaceae

Anabasis setifera

 

Arthrocnemum macrostachyum

 

Haloxylon salicornicum

 

Salsola imbricata

 

Seidlitzia rosmarinus

 

Seidlitizia rosmarinus

 

Suaeda maritima

 

Suaeda monoica

Cyperacea

Cyperus conglomeratus

 

Cyperus conglomeratus

Orobanchaceae

Cistanche tubulosa

Poaceae

Poa annua

 

Panicum repens

 

Poa annua

Resedaceae

Caylusea hexagyna

Tamaricaceae

Tamarix nilotica

Zygophyllaceae

Fagonia bruguieri

 

Fagonia indica

 

Zygophyllum simplex

 

Fagonia indica

 

Zygophyllum hamiense  var. qatarense

 
 

Huwailath

 

Aizoaceae

Aizoon canariense

Asteraceae

Ifloga spicata

 

Senecio glaucus

Boraginaceae

Heliotropium arbainense

Brassicaceae

Cakile arabica

Caryophyllaceae

Herniaria hemistemon

Chenopodiaceae

Anabasis setifera

 

Arthocnemum macrostachyum

 

Haloxylon salicornicum

 

Salicornia europaea

 

Salsola imbricata

 

Seidlitizia rosmarinus

 

Suaeda maritima

 

Suaeda monoica

Cyperaceae

Cyperus conglomeratus

Orobanchaceae

Cistanche tubulosa

Poaceae

Panicum repens

 

Poa annua

Resedaceae

Caylusea hexagyna

Tamaricaceae

Tamarix nilotica

Zygophyllaceae

Fagonia indica

 

Zygophyllum hamiense  var. qatarense

 

 

Abu Ali & Batinah

 

Asteraceae Ifloga spicata
  Launaea mucronata
Boraginaceae Heliotropium arbainense
  Heliotropium bacciferum
  Heliotropium curassavicum
Brassicaceae Cakile arabica
Caryophyllaceae Polycarpaea repens
Chenopodiaceae Anabasis setifera
  Arthrocnemum macrostachyum
  Atriplex leucoclada
  Cornulaca monacantha
  Halocnemum strobilaceum
  Halopeplis perfoliata
  Salicornia europaea
  Salsola imbricata 
  Seidletzia rosmarinus
  Suaeda aegyptiaca
  Suaeda maritima
  Suaeda vermiculata
Cynomoriaceae Cynomorium coccineum
Cyperaceae Cyperus congloeratus
Juncaceae Juncus rigidus
Poaceae Halopyrum mucronatum
  Panicum turgidum
  Pennisetum divisum
  Phragmites australis
Tamaricaceae Tamarix nilotica
Verbenaceae Avicennia marina
Zygophyllaceae Zygophyllum hamiense var. mandavillea
  Zygophyllum hamiense var. qatarense

 

Janna

 

Asphodelaceae

Asphodelus tenuifolius

Asteraceae

Atractylis arabicus

 

Ifloga spicata

 

Launaea angustifolia

 

Launaea capitata

 

Launaea mucronata

 

Senecio glaucus

Boraginaceae

Gastrocotyle hispida

 

Heliotropium bacciferum

 

Heliotropium lasiocarpum

 

Moltkiopsis ciliata

Brassicaceae

Brassica tournifortii

Caryophyllaceae

Herniaria hemistemon

 

Polycarpaea repens

Chenopodiaceae

Anabasis setifera

 

Arthrocnemum macrostachyum

  Atriplex leucoclada
  Bassia eriophora
  Bassia muricata
  Halocnemum strobilaceum
  Halopeplis perfoliata
  Salsola imbricata
  Seidlitzia rosmarinus
  Suaeda vermiculata
Cistaceae Helanthemum lippii
Combretaceae Conocarpus erectus
Convolvulaceae Convolvulus buschiricus
Cuscutaceae Cuscuta planiflora
Cynomoriaceae Cynomorium coccineum
Cyperaceae Cyperus conglomeratus
Fumariaceae Fumaria parviflora
Geraniaceae Erodium laciniatum
  Monsonia nivea
Lamiaceae Salvia aegyptiaca
Leguminosae Astragalus annularis
  Astragalus corrugatus
  Trigonella stellata
Neuradaceae Neurada procumbens
Orobanchaceae Cistanche tubulosa
Palmae Phoenix dactylifera
Plantaginaceae Plantago afra
  Plantago amplexicaulis
  Plantago coronopus
Plumbaginaceae Limonium axillare
Poaceae Aeuloropus lagopoides
  Cenchrus ciliaris
  Panicum turgidum
  Pennisetum divisum
  Sporobolus ioclados
  Sporobolus spicatus
  Stipa capensis
Polygonaceae Emex spinosus
Resedaceae Oligomeris linifolia
Rutaceae Haplophyllum tuberculatum
Solanaceae Lycium shawii
Tamaricaceae Tamarix aphylla
  Tamarix nilotica
Zygophyllaceae Fagonia bruguieri
  Fagonia indica
  Zygophyllum hamiense var. qatarense

 

 Umm Al Baid

 

Asteraceae

Ifloga spicata

Asteraceae

Launaea mucronata

 

Senecio glaucus

Brassicaceae

Brassica tournefortii

 

Cakile arabica

Caryophyllaceae

Herniaria hemistemon

Chenopodiaceae

Anabasis setifera

 

Arthrocnemum macrostachyum

  Haloxylon salicornicum
  Salsola imbricata
  Seidlitzia rosmarinus
  Suaeda monoica
Cyperaceae Cyperus conglomeratus
Orobanchaceae Cistanche tubulosa
Poaceae Cenchrus ciliaris
Zygophyllaceae Fagonia bruguieri
  Fagonia indica
  Zygophyllum hamiense var. qatarense

 

Written and managed by Dr. Jacob Thomas, Dept. of Botany & Microbiology, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2455, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia.