The Botanic Garden
The Botanical Garden at Sultan Qaboos University was established in 1991 to be the first botanical garden in Sultanate of Oman. Since then, work is continuing to develop the garden to be an environmental window for the Arabian Peninsula plants and especially Omani plants. The garden is situated at the center of the university campus about 4.5 ha large and it is characterized by the presence of many native plants in one area comprise for approximately 40% of the garden’s plants. The garden is seeking to be one of the attractive options for those who are interested and studying the Arabic plants. The garden is divided into seven areas according to the plant taxonomy and geographical presence.
The Role of Botanic Garden
A Botanic garden is a scientific front, where plants are classified based on the species, family and order to which they belong. The botanic gardens are considered as a reference to the researchers, students and amateur botanists. The role of the botanic garden is:
- Plant identification and classification.
- Cultivation of new plant varieties.
- Scientific research related to plant, soil and environment.
- Emphasize the role of the herbarium in the advancement of plant taxonomy and systematics.
- Conservation of biodiversity and threatened species through seed bank.
Botanic Garden Sections
The idea of the nursery is based on the propagation of plants and their preservation to be planted in the botanical garden and as samples for students and researchers, and for teaching purposes. There are also research areas in the nursery, through which many students and researchers use them in their research projects.
Arboretum includes a group of trees and woody shrubs, and focuses on the Omani species like Ghaf trees and Sumer, in addition to the tropical trees and non-tropical trees in several regions. The arboretum design shows the ways that were used by the trees like shade, food for livestock as well as a fence for protection.
3. Omani Plants Group:
Botanical garden offers a unique collection of local Omani plants which are divided into two groups: Northern and Southern Oman Collection. It is known that the local Omani plants is estimated at more than 1200 species of which 70% is concentrated in the southern regions of the Sultanate.
• Plants of Northern Oman
The vegetation of Northern Oman can be considered as characteristic of arid lands. The average annual rainfall is usually well below 250 mm per year and occurs irregularly. As in most deserts, there is no soil, and the ground is covered with rocks or sand. Desert plants are adapted to low precipitation and extremes of temperature. Most of the characteristic desert plants have small leaves that are either leathery or are shed during unfavorable seasons. Trees in deserts form open woodland rather than forests. Typical deserts plant includes small Acacia trees and shrubs such as Tamarix and Christ’s thorn (Sidr). The Acacia-tree (Acacia tortilis - Simr) is one of the most common trees in Oman, distributed on the coastal regions, foothills and plains. Small annual plants appear after rainfall. These germinate rapidly from buried seeds. The seeds can survive in the soil during the long periods of drought, which sometimes extend over many years. The life cycle of such species is short, hence flowering and fruiting is accomplished within a very short period of time.
• Plants of Southern Oman (Dhofar)
Dhofar lies in the Southwest of Oman, and for the most part, consists of sparsely vegetated desert. Limestone Mountains covered in type of vegetation totally unique in Arabia. For three months every year, from June until mid-September, during the Khareef or South West monsoon, these south-facing escarpments are blanketed in moisture-laden clouds, and are consequently covered for several months in dense woodland. The diversity of habitats in Dhofar is reflected in a richness of plants species; over 750 species are recorded of which 50 are endemic with 2 endemic genera. Floristically, the plants of Dhofar have strong affinities with the drier regions of tropical North Africa, rather than with Northern Arabia.
4. African Group:
The botanic garden contains a large group of African endemic plants in Oman. Where the site of the Sultanate of Oman and its proximity to the African coasts plays an easy transmission of many kinds of wildlife species into the country. As the relationship Oman maritime trade with Africa, transfer many materials that where utilized, such as trees that are used in the fuel or shade. In general, the trees in the southern regions of the Sultanate have a close relationship with the trees of Africa, as many species in Salalah in particular are very similar to those in Northeast Africa.
5. Systematic Beds:
This classification intended on how to arrange the plants according to their identity. The plants are a sequence from the species to the genus to the family. The systematic beds area in the garden is divided into 33 basins, divided between dicot and monocot plants. Where it was taking into account the beds division to the degrees of similarity and differences between flowering plants and that beds represent the main groups of flowering plants that grow in arid and semi-arid areas.
Monocotyledons are a group of flowering plants with a single” cotyledon” or embryonic seed leaves. They differ from the dicotyledons in that the vascular bundles (in which nutrients and waster are transported) are scattered all over the stem. They are herbaceous, rarely being woody. Their leaves are usually without stalks and have parallel veins. Their floral parts are usually in threes or multiples of three.
Dicotyledons are a group of flowering plants with two “cotyledons” or embryonic seed leaves. They are herbaceous or woody plants with well-developed stems. The vascular bundles (in which nutrients and waster are transported) in the dicotyledons are arranged in a circular pattern around the stem. Their leaves usually have stalks and reticulate venation. Their floral parts are usually in fours or fives, or multiples of fours and fives.
6. Ibn Sina Garden of Medicinal Herbs:
The garden was designed in a systematic planning, where the circulatory system diseases’ florid is at the central pivot and the other groups are arranged around this axis. The Arabian Peninsula is considered as a rich of herbal medicines which are used to cure or cooking or perfume extract. Addition to this, basins have been placed showing pollination methods and plant adaptation with different habitats.
7. Water Garden:
The water garden is located in the center of the botanic garden, where consists of three sections: the lake, Falaj and a bird observatory. The lake contains many kinds of wildlife which is used for teaching and research and also includes Falaj. The Falaj which is the irrigation system used in the Sultanate of Oman, considered as an integral part of the fabric social life of the Omani society since ancient times and it is a resource upon which the water of life and civilization. The water garden also has a bird observatory which is used for research and photography of the birds found in the botanical garden as an ideal destination for transit or landing. In addition, the water garden has many sites to relax and spend times.