Flora of Arabia

From sand to snow, rainforest to mountain pasture, the Arabian Peninsula is host to an astounding array of flora and fauna.

To many the name Arabia may conjure images of harsh deserts and hot, dry plains but the Arabian Peninsula consists of a unique assemblage of plant species and ecosystems, including several regional hotspots of plant biodiversity; such as the temperate climate of the high mountains of Oman, the tropical South-Western escarpment mountains of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, or the seasonal cloud forest of Dhofar and the other-worldly Dracaena woodland of Socotra. These hotspots support numerous important plant and animal species, and perhaps more importantly, support the livelihoods of many people, but in recent decades many ecosystems in Arabia have become degraded. The main threats to ecosystems continue to be unregulated development, lack of management, and a critical lack of in situ conservation capacity, as well as the high risks from climate change and critical water shortage.

To ameliorate these issues, sustainable resource planning and conservation action are urgently required, and require good quality data that is readily available, thus we present the online version of The Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra.


  • To bring together floristic knowledge of the seven countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the first comprehensive account of the region's vascular plants.
  • To undertake taxonomic revisions of Arabian plants.
  • To publish family accounts of the Flora, and make this information and supporting specimen information and images available over the internet.
  • To provide baseline information to support the work of researchers and conservationists working in the Arabian Peninsula.

Current activities

Volume 1 (Pteridophyta to Neuradacae) accounts are being updated from the original 1996 publication for re-issue online. 

Volume 5 part 1 (Gramineae) accounts are being updated from the 2007 publication for re-issue online.

Unpublished accounts from the remaining volumes are being edited and prepared for publication online.

New accounts are being researched and prepared for publication online.

The Checklist of the Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra, a definitive checklist for the floristic region, will be published in 2017.


Dr Sabina Knees - Senior Editor

Dr Barbara Mackinder - Researcher and Editor

Lorna MacKinnon - Researcher and Editor

Further information on our work in the Arabian Peninsula and neighbouring countries can be found on the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants website.

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Caralluma socotrana

Caralluma socotrana from Soqotra

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)