UAE: Scientists unveil ‘alien’ plant invasion


A study reveals that The UAE takes pride in having a society that welcomes newcomers. That is – a kindness that is imparted to even plants.

Scientists have found that many “alien” plants are arriving in the Emirates, though all plants are not considered ideal guests. 

Their research has identified five species of plants from other parts of the world bound their roots in Fujairah for the first time. 


Mikhail Korshunov, one of the study’s authors, stated, ” As we advanced in our research, we began to find that plants have escaped from the culture, but remained close to humans, at the outlets of pipes from air conditioners.”

” Many species of ornamental plants brought at plant nurseries started to escape. Hence we came up with the idea that we should go to the source of alien flora, plant nurseries.”

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New to the UAE

One species, painted surge, found in sandy soils, grew freely at a Dibba nursery. On the other hand, a chay root was discovered on the seafront at Fujairah. 

Seaside rivulet weed was found at a nursery in the Al Badiya area. In contrast, another familiar wasteland named East Indian mellow was found in wastelands in India and identified at a Dibba nursery. Apart from these, the researchers also discovered a climbing plant called lesser balloon vine or love in a puff at the Friday market in the village of Masafi. And according to researchers, all these plants were new to the UAE. 

Horticulture’s hostile takeover

One alien plant that has spread widely in the UAE is a tree called Prosopis juliflora. This biocoenosis transformer outcompetes local plants and causes more sweeping changes to the local ecosystem, animals, and soil quality. 

The researchers in the journal Plants wrote, ” The areas near Sharjah Airport, Umm Fannan, and Al Talla, situated at the lower elevation of the dune area, are heavily invaded.”

Mr. Korshunov and Dr. Byalt have portrayed this invasive species to assist efforts to control it. 


The report mentioned above states that the species of plants found in the UAE, considered ” alien” plants based on their nature, are not suitable for the place in which they are found. 

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