Phenology of desert plants from an arid gravel plain in eastern United Arab Emirates

Sabitha Sakkir, Junid N. Shah, Abdul J. Cheruth, Maher Kabshawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Phenological events for desert plants were recorded and rainfall and temperature data were gathered over a three-year time scale at a gravel plain in the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates. Variations of phenological periods were analyzed and correlations between phenological periods and climate factors were discussed. The study showed that the growth and flowering of therophytes were significantly correlated with air temperature. The timing and abundance of rainfall came to be another factor significantly correlated with the onset and duration of chamaephyte flowering as well as the duration of therophyte growth and flowering. The variation in rainfall did not affect the onset of flowering in phanerophytes. Peak growing seasons were from November to March and flowering from November to December (also February to March depending on the availability of rainfall). Flowering in phanerophytes and chamaephytes occurs 4–6 weeks and in therophytes 4–8 weeks after rain. The results showed that variations in growth and phenology between species were correlated with environmental factors, such as temperature and rainfall or, maybe, differences in life form and photosynthetic pathways, each being adapted for utilizing a particular phase of the seasonally and yearly variable rainfall. The sequence of flowering for the species under study was more or less constant despite the difference in the amount of rainfall. The fruiting patterns of most of the species were also found parallel to their flowering patterns. Our results emphasized the need to study multiple species at many sites for the understanding and forecast of regional changes in phenology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Arid Land
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • United Arab Emirates
  • desert plants
  • phenology
  • rainfall
  • temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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