Meet Salalah’s winged guest

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
Muscat, July 27  –
A trip to Itin mountain in Dhofar is complete only if you visit Ain Jarzeez on your way back to the plains.
Ain Jarzeez, which is just about seven km from Salalah City, is also an important source of water feeding farms and several wells.
The spring’s distinct features are the rock formations and the natural hanging garden. The spring changes its landscape features depending on the amount of rainfall received. The best period for Ain Jarzeez is between June and September.
The natural hanging garden of Ain Jarzeez features a creeper Capparis Cartlaginea that attracts a special guests — Shining Sunbird. The shining Sunbird belongs to Nectarinidae family. The plant Capparis Catiaginea provides exactly the required food for these nectar and berries eaters.
Sunbird looks like the Hummingbird. But what gives away is how they feed on the nectar. Unlike Hummingbird, Sunbird stays perched while extracting the nectar.
Ain Jarzeez is an ideal location for the Shining Sunbirds which are known to thrive in arid and semi-arid tropical shrubland, woodland or rocky areas, often near water, or in rural gardens and agricultural lands in countries such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
Capparis Cartlaginea in its native range is reported to be found in countries like Egypt to Tanzania, West Asia to India, Arabian Peninsula and West Indian Ocean. At Ain Jarzeez they make an impact with the way they hang from the rocks. The plants also bear fruits.
“More than 70 per cent of Oman’s plants are located in the Dhofar Governorate. And there are specific plants that wait for the khareef season such as the climber Cucurbitaceae,” said Salem al Rahbi, Founder of Encyclopaedia of Omani Plants, who is dedicated to the cause of spreading awareness on Omani plants and introduces them on his social media platform on instagram, @e.o,omani.p.
In the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge S N Mishra noted that “medicinal importance of the Capparis products and unnoticed threatened status in their respective niches for sustainable use and long lasting conservation. Being harsh terrain species, plant needs to be considered for strategic planning for greening deserts hilltops.” And that is exactly what the creeper does to the landscape of the spring at Ain Jarzeez. In Africa too this plant is used for its medicinal benefits. The plant is known for its drought tolerance which indicates that the plant can survive even during the non-khareef seasons.