Farsetia Linearis

Endangered from the deserts of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

This landscape was different from anything I had ever experienced and the barrenness had a beauty of its own. I did feel a bit like a goat though, dashing enthusiastically from one sparse patch of greenery to another.

In the heat, the word meander is perhaps a better description than dash!

I was out looking for plants with Rapali, a botanist from the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum and we came across a silver grey, dried up straggle of twigs that I almost trod on. Rapali became very animated in the excitement of the find and proclaimed that the plant was indeed Farsetia linearis and endangered in Sharjah.

Neither of interest to grazers nor the flamboyant specimen I had hoped for as an artist with its dried stems and leaves with rolled margins, but under the microscope the tiny 10mm flowers revealed a beauty of their own. At higher magnification of x 30, the appressed hairs were visible, medifixed on short stalks covering the plant to help protect it against water loss.

The transparent division within the pods carried overlapping lines of winged seeds and the subdued tones of the plant reflected the subtle palette of the desert.

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