What Endangered Plants Are in the Sahara Desert?

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The Sahara Desert's hot, dry climate makes plant life difficult.
The Sahara Desert's hot, dry climate makes plant life difficult. (Image: desert landscape with a tree image by Pavel Bernshtam from Fotolia.com)

Although the endangered species you typically hear about are from the animal kingdom, several endangered species also come from the plant kingdom. Due to the difficult climate and lack of vegetation, the Sahara Desert is home to a few of those endangered plant species.

Location

Located in Africa, the Sahara Desert sprawls over 3.5 million square miles. According to Geology.com, the desert occupies portions of Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia.

Environment

Considered one of the hottest areas in the world, the Sahara Desert features an average year-round temperature of 86-degrees Fahrenheit. The hot temperatures and extremely dry climate make it a difficult environment for animals and plants.

Endangerment

As explained by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, an “endangered” plant refers to “a species facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild because of low or declining numbers or a small range.” According to GardenGuides.com, the endangered plants in the Sahara Desert include the leopard orchid and umbrella thorn.

Leopard Orchid

Vibrant clumps of leopard orchids grow in subtropical trees in Southern Africa. The plant’s roots absorb water and nutrients quickly, allowing it to survive in the dry desert environment. However, it requires frequent watering and gentle care during its first few months of development. The desert environment makes proper growth difficult, which has resulted in its endangerment.

Umbrella Thorn

With a wide, spreading crown of leaves that give this tree its umbrella shape, the umbrella thorn tree remains one of the most widely recognized trees in the Sahara Desert. While various animals feed on the leaves, flowers and fruits, humans use the timber for several purposes. These habits have unfortunately led to its endangerment.

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