The Desert Research Station and the Botanical Garden have been established in Al-Muzahimiya, 50 km west of Riyadh, encompassing an area of approximately 40 hectares. The land is of a sandy desert nature, with soil composed of more than 50% sand. The area is dominated by desert environment, sub-tropical and above draught climate. Annual rainfall rate is about 100m. Temperatures in summer may exceed 45oC, and its water is ultra saline.
The Desert Research Station comprises the Desert Botanical Garden, the Model Garden for Landscaping Desert Sites and the Seed Bank, in addition to a nursery devoted to plant propagation studies and production of saplings. Parts of the research station were given over to experiments on local and imported plants of wild pastureland, sand movement and fixation and the use of saline water in irrigation.
The Station’s activities center around the introduction of trees and shrubs from other deserts which resemble those of the Arabian Peninsula. The aim is to experiment with them and study the extent of their acclimatization in the desert conditions prevailing in the Riyadh Region. The number of plants introduced in the Desert Botanical Garden has reached 250 varieties of trees and shrubs which have been imported from Australia, the United Sates and Africa as well as other regions in the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, studies are being carried out on 135 varieties of local wild plants. Other studies and research connected with soil and sand, and their salinity are also being carried out.
The plants introduced from the world’s other deserts are being cultivated in the section allotted to the International Desert Botanical Garden, under desert conditions prevailing in the Central Region, and the extent to which they are being acclimatized and are suitable for afforestation on a large scale are being investigated.
Sample of trees that have been studied in the Desert Research Station in Mezahmeyah
The Model Garden for Landscaping Desert Sites represents a paradigm for gardens created with wild desert plants. Its various aspects illustrate the vitality of Saudi culture, and the diverse activities engaged in by the denizens of the desert, particularly in the usage of water, as well as showcasing the beauty of the desert, and man’s ability to adjust to life therein. In this garden, plants are grown which are accustomed to aridity and do not require large quantities of water, and the elements which represent the desert environment of the Kingdom, including scattered stones.
The Desert Botanical Garden in Muzahmeyah
The Seed Bank in the Research Station is concerned with collecting seeds of local and imported wild trees, bushes and plants, so as to preserve and propagate them.