Included here is the Persian Gulf (also known as the Arabian Gulf) situated between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Persian Gulf Saltmarsh

In the area around Kuwait Bay the saltmarshes show distinct zonation and can be divided into six vegetation zones. Moving from the lower shore landward these include a Halocnemum strobilaceum-Juncus arabicus zone, a Halocnemum strobilaceum-Suaeda vermiculata zone, a Nitraria retusa-Zygophyllum qatarense zone, a Zygophyllum qatarense-Haloxylon salicornicum zone, a Nitraria retusa zone and a Tamarix aucherana zone.

Halocnemum strobilaceum-Juncus arabicus (syn. Juncus rigidus) saltmarsh zone
Confined to the lower marshes, and inundated by seawater about 500 times, this zone largely comprises scattered low shrubs. The few associated species include Aeluropus lagopoides and Launaea mucronata.

Halocnemum strobilaceum-Suaeda vermiculata saltmarsh zone
Much wider and more luxuriant than the previous zone, the vegetation comprises a range of halophytic perennials and annuals together with number of nonhalophytic annuals. The few associated species include Bienertia cycloptera, Mesembryanthemum nodiflorium, Salicornia herbacea, Salsola imbricate, Salsola bryosma, Seidlitzia rosmarinus and Suaeda aegyptiaca.

Nitraria retusa-Zygophyllum qatarense saltmarsh zone
This zone is much wider than previous zones and may comprise more than one parallel belt. Among the associated species are Cornulaca monacantha, Cressa cretica, Schismus barbatus and Oligomeris linifolia

Zygophyllum qatarense-Haloxylon salicornicum saltmarsh zone
This zone occurs on the higher parts of coastal flats where saltmarsh merges into desert vegetation, and represents a transition zone supporting a number of nonhalophytes on its landward borders. The many associated species include Aaronsohnia factorovskyi, Aegilops kotschyi, Anthemis deserti, Arnebia decumbens, Asphodelus tenuifolia, Astragalus annularis, Astragalus hauarensis, Atractylis carduus, Bassia muricata, Brassica tournefortii, Bupleurum semicompositum, Carduus pycnocephalus, Cistanche tubulosa, Citrullus colocynthis, Convolvulus oxyphyllus, Cressa cretica, Cutandia memphitica, Cyperus conglomeratus, Emex spinosa, Erodium laciniatum, Euphorbia densa, Euphorbia granulata, Fagonia bruguieri, Filago pyramidata, Frankenia pulverulenta, Gymnarrhena micrantha, Gypsophila capillaries, Helianthemum lippi, Helotrophium bacciferum, Hippocrepis aneolata, Ifoga spicata, Koelpinia linearis, Launaea capitata, Launaea mucronata, Loeflingia hispanica, Lotus halophilus, Lycium shawii, Medicago laciniata, Moltkiopsis ciliata, Natraria retusa, Neurada procumbens, Panicum turgidum, Picris babylonica. Plantago ciliata, Plantago coronopus, Plantago ovata, Rhanterium epapposum, Rostraria pumila, Salsola cyclophylla, Scabiosa oliviera, Schismus barbatus, Senecio glaucus, Spergularia diandra, Trachynia distachya and Traganum nudatum, Trigonella stellata together with various Arabian endemics or near endemics like Astragalus spinosus, Paronychia arabica, Reseda arabica, Silene arabica, Schisma arabica and Sporbolus arabicus.

Nitraria retusa saltmarsh zone
This extensive zone can extent for up to 1300 m on the lower saline edge of the sabkha flat where the water table is close to the soil surface. Nitraria retusa is a mono-dominant in places but mainly represented by stunted, depauperate shrubs. However, the zone is heavily impacted by camel grazing. The few associated species include Tamarix aucheriana.

Tamarix aucherana saltmarsh zone
This zone extends further inland for up to 1700 m on edge of the sabkha flat. Tamarix aucheriana is often the only dominant species but often associated with Cress cretica. The few other species include Aeluropus lagopoides and Convolvulus oxyphyllus.


Ghazanfar, S. A. 2006. Saline and alkaline vegetation of NE Africa and the Arabian peninsula: an overview. In: Biosaline Agriculture and Salinity Tolerance in Plants. Eds. M. Öztürk, Y. Waisel, M. A. Khan & G. Görk. Birkhäuser Verlag, Switzerland.

Mohamad, A. E., El-Sheikh, Rafik M. El-Ghareeb e Anna Testi. 2006. Ecology of plant communities in coastal salt marshes habitat in Kuwait. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei, 17: 311-331.