Greenery along Sultan Qaboos Street exists in many interesting forms. Apart from manicured shrubs, the trees, too, present themselves in style
They are evergreen…they are omnipresent throughout the year…they have many interesting forms and figures. Somehow, most people do not take a second look at them, though they pass by everyday for years.
The evergreen trees planted along Sultan Qaboos Street over the past few decades offer a soothing sight to motorists right from Ruwi till Seeb towards the old airport. Accompanied by lush lawns and seasonal flowerbeds, these trees are part of the iconic green glory of the capital which make it endearing to the tourist as well as citizens and residents.
If you look along the main roads while being driven along, you would notice that, apart from offering shade to weary workers during the summer, these trees also appear in intriguing forms that could entice artists as well as nature lovers in Oman. Adorning both sides of this street, these trees need little nurturing or maintenance as they are known to withstand the harsh climate during the summer months.
A popular botanist in Oman, Dr Zulfikar Ali, professor of biotechnology who heads the Muscat study centre of the Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) distance learning programme, disclosed that the trees along the road to the old airport, along with date palms, are basically of four kinds and have been planted in batches in different periods over the past twenty years.
The most common ones include Albizia libak (ciris), margossa (Neem), Gulmohar, Cassia fistula, Caesalpinea, pulmeria and Kuwaiti plant, most of which were planted about 12-15 years ago. “They are evergreen perennial plants that are suited to Oman’s climate and have well adapted to grow in xeric conditions (environment containing little moisture).”
Most of the trees, shrubs and plants are adapted to grow in harsh conditions.
They have anatomical adaptation in roots and stems, also in the leaves to reduce the evaporation of water, he disclosed pointing out that these trees have a type of modification in the leaves, as well as in the stems, such that they can conserve water to sustain themselves in harsh weather conditions.
Dr Ali suggests that the plants do require conditioning of soil at regular time periods besides seasonal irrigation if not regular watering. Little fertilisation is needed, besides trimming/pruning of branches from time to time, he said, adding that these are necessary to keep the trees/plants in normal conditions.
While it is important for motorists to fix their eyes on the road, co-passengers can take delight in the sights en route. You can find some of the most interesting forms between Qurm and Al Khuwayr. These include trees that look like an umbrella, mushrooms, candy floss, a giraffe, a knot of serpents, twins, dancers, catapult, temple ruins, bridal bouquet, loners, palm of five fingers, mirror images, and many other forms one can imagine.
So, the next time you take this road, look out for any of the above mentioned forms, or give them names of your own!