The beautiful Al Muhtadi flowers are spread all over the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant. Known as 'pulicaria glutinosa', Al Muhtadi is found widely with many species in the Sultanate of Oman.
The plant has medicinal value and was used widely in the past as herbal medicine.
Many still use the plant for the treatment of health issues in joints, particularly rheumatism, by collecting the juice from the Al Muhtadi leaves, heating it and then wiping the affected area with the liquid.
This plant is abundant on the slopes of mountains and valleys. Its flowers are yellow in colour, look shiny, especially on sunny days. Thus, it is classified as one of the common plants in the Sultanate of Oman, providing food for wild animals and birds throughout the year. This plant tolerates the high heat of the sun and the dry climate for long periods.
"This plant is considered one of the symbols of Omani nature. There is no valley without this plant. It can be seen on the hills of the Al Hajar Mountains and in the streams of the valleys. Omanis still benefit from it in extracting medicinal herbs, as they treat skin diseases and joint diseases", a specialist in the Sultanate of Oman's biodiversity told the Observer.
"This plant has a great environmental contribution in the expansion of the green area in the mountains and valleys of the country. Its overuse as a medicinal plant and food for animals has led to a reduction in the plant's population. So we demand the necessity of studying the possibility of re-using it as a medicinal plant. Cultivation in their natural habitats," he added.
The Sultanate of Oman is rich in flora and fauna. It hosts nearly 1,200 species of plants, including 78 species not found anywhere else in the world. Official data indicate that the Sultanate of Oman has more than 200 edible wild plants, such as: bot, qasm, sedaf and many others.
To preserve this unique biodiversity, the Sultanate of Oman has paid special attention to protecting these natural species. Laws have been formulated to protect such plants.
The Sultanate of Oman has joined many international environmental agreements and protocols. Various natural reserves have been established and specialised research centres have been established, such as the Oman Centre for Animal and Plant Genetic Resources of the Scientific Research Council, and work to invest, conserve and preserve these natural resources for generations.
Local references mention that national universities and colleges are seeking to benefit from the raw materials of the Omani environment. Perhaps the establishment of the University of Nizwa for the research chair entitled Omani plants and marine biology products is one of the models in directing scientific research to benefit from Omani plants.
"The Omani frankincense project is one of the leading projects in the field of Omani medicinal plants and other diverse projects in this field".
Botanists consider plants to be the basis of the food pyramid for life, and in the event of their demise, life on earth disappears with it. Therefore, these specialists recommend that the responsibility for the preservation of plants is a "collective responsibility", and accordingly, projects must continue to propagate and cultivate plants of economic, cultural and medical importance.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY YAHYA AL SALMANI