Included here is the Red Sea situated between Africa and Asia. It is a seawater inlet which connects to the Indian Ocean via the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.


Salt marsh in the Red Sea represents a mixture of mangove and more typical saltmarsh vegetation. Several zones or communities have been recognised. Moving landward these comprise: Avicennia marina mangrove fringe, Halocnemon strobilaceum zone, Arthrocnemon glaucum zone, Halopeplis perfoliata zone, Limonium pruinosum zone, Limonium axillare zone, Aeluropus zone, Sporobolus spicatus zone, Halopyrum mucronatum zone, Zygophyllum album zone, Nitraria retusa zone, Suaeda monoica zone and Tamarix mannifera zone.   However, not all of these zones may be present and none of them with the possible exception of the Zygophyllum album zone extend for the entire length of the Red Sea.

Avicennia marina mangrove fringe

Mangrove, often comprising pure stands of Avicennia marina, fringes much of the Red Sea coast, but in places it forms mixed stands with Rhizophora mucronata.

Halocnemon strobilaceum saltmarsh zone

Salt marsh dominated by Halocnemon strobilaceum mainly forms towards in the Gulf of Suex end of the Red Sea but not further south. Associated species include Alhagia maurorum, Arthrocnemon glaucum, Salsola villosa, Zygophyllum album and Zygophyllum simplex. 

Arthrocnemon glaucum saltmarshzone

This community extends throughout much of the Red Sea but in scattered patches. Associated species in the southern regions include Halopeplis perfoliata and Limonium axillare but these are replaced by Halocnemon strobilaceum in the northern parts.

Halopeplis perfoliata saltmarsh zone

This zone is only found in small scattered patches. Arthrocnemon glaucum  and  Zygophyllum album are the main associates. Others include Launaea cassiniana and Zygophyllum simplex.

Limonium pruinosum saltmarsh zone

This zone is mainly confined to the area around the Gulf of Suezbut not further south. Associated species include Nitraria retusa, Sevada schimperi, Suaeda calcarata and Zygophyllum album.

Limonium axillare saltmarsh zone

In this zone Limonium axillare makes up most of the sparse vegetation cover. The few other associates include Salsola baryosma, Salsola vermiculata and Sporobolus spicatus.

Aeluropus saltmarsh zone

This zone is dominated by the morphologically and ecologically similar species Aeluropus brevifolius and Aeluropus lagopoides. These grasses usually adopt a creeing growth form. Associated species include Cyperus conglomeratus, Sporobolus spicatus and Zygophyllum album.  Other more ephemeral species include Aristida meccana, Astragalus eremophilus, Crotalaria microphylla, Lotononis platycarpa and Polycarpaea spicata.

Sporobolus spicatus saltmarsh zone

This saltmarsh grassland is mainly confined to southern areas. Associates include Cyperus conglomeratus, Panicum turgidum, Salsola baryosma and Sevada schimperi.

Halopyrum mucronatum saltmarsh zone

This saltmarsh grass zone is confined to a limited area within the Red Sea but has a extensive distribution on maritime sands. Among the associates are Heliotropium pterocarpum and Indigofera argentea.

Zygophyllum album saltmarsh zone

This forms the only ubiquitous zone within the Red Sea but the associated species are considerably varied.  Amongest these are Launaea capitata, Monsonia nivea, Retama raetam and Tamarix mannifera.

Nitraria retusa saltmarsh zone

This salt tolerant shrub is mainly confined to the northern parts of the Red Sea. It tend to contribute to most of the cover within this zone but other species such as Limonium pruinosum and Zygophyllum album may be present. 

Suaeda monoica saltmarsh zone

This species seems to a feature of dryer saltmarsh zones and can extent beyond the limits of salmarsh to the fringes of the coastal desert plain. The community is relatively species-rich supporting over 50 species. Examples include Halopeplis perfoliata and Heliotropium undulatum.

Tamarix mannifera saltmarsh zone

Tamarix mannifera is one of the most common shrubs in the Red Sea coastal zone. It can grow in a variety of habitats in various forms. In some of the dryer saltmarsh zones it can form thickets and may form a three layered profile. Associated trees and shrubs include Acacia raddiana, Calotropis procera, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Retama raetam and Tamarix aphylla. However the ground layer is usually fairly sparse but Juncus arabicus may form extensive mats. 


Kassas, M. & Zahran, M. A. 1967. On the Ecology of the Red Sea Littoral Salt Marsh, Egypt. Ecological Monographs, 87: 297-315.