The Vegetation of Egypt
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Elymus farctus sand couch-grass is a perennial rhizomatous grass with erect, rigid cm long culms. It is a facultative halophyte and has the ability to fix sand, therefore, it is considered as the pioneer of the psammosere [17,18]. Lasiurus is a genus of Asian and African plants in the grass family, found primarily in arid regions. Lasiurus scindicus is a perennial herb with culms often woody below, up to 90 cm in length, erect from a thick woody rhizome that occurs in sandy, stony and rocky soils .
Panicum turgidum is a glaucous perennial wild species, widely distributed in all phytogeographical regions of Egypt except the western Mediterranean coastal desert [19,20]. It is also considered to have tolerant drought and soil salinity levels, and is an effective sand binding xerophyte and could be used to fix sand dunes [9,21].
This study was designed to throw light on the ecological features of the abovementioned five geophytes growing in the Mediterranean coast and Cairo-Suez road through studying their associated plant species and edaphic factors controlling their richness and distribution in the study area. On the other hand, Cairo-Suez desert road is about km in length, located in the northern section of the Eastern Desert of Egypt The Galalah Desert , which extends east of the Nile Delta. It represents the natural xeric habitat mainly inhabited by xerophytic vegetation.
The gravel habitat is one of the most characteristic features of this road . The study area is located in some Governorates in the northern part of the Nile Delta and Eastern Desert regions of Egypt, which comprises different habitats Fig. According to the map of the world distribution of the arid regions , the climatic conditions of the Deltaic Mediterranean coast of Egypt is rather arid to semi-arid, where the rate of evaporation exceeds many times the rate of precipitation .
On the other hand, the Cairo-Suez desert road belongs to arid mesothermal type of Thornthwaite  and the arid or extreme arid climate of Walter . Meteorological data of the studied area are presented in Table 1. After a reconnaissance survey that was conducted between and , 95 sample stands 10 m x 10 m were randomly selected to represent a wide range of physiographic and environmental variation in the studied deserts.
Specimens of the selected geophyte plants as well as the other associated species were collected from the Deltaic Mediterranean coastal strip and Cairo-Suez desert road. The studied geophyte species were Cyperus capitatus Vand. Ranemark ex. The relative density and cover of each species have been estimated in the studied stands [27,28]. A floristic count list was taken from the 95 sites to represent the five geo-phyte plants in the study sites: 80 from the Deltaic Mediterranean coast and 15 from Cairo-Suez desert road.
Taxo-nomic nomenclature and analysis of phytogeographic ranges were used according to Zohary ,Tackholm  and Boulos. Each of the 95 study sites was represented by three soil samples that were collected at depths of , and cm. The samples were mixed together to form a single composite sample, which was then spread over sheets of paper and left to dry in the air.
Soil texture, water holding capacity WHC , organic carbon and sulphate were determined according to Piper. Calcium carbonate content was determined by titration against 1N NaOH and expressed as a percentage . Determination of electrical conductivity and pH was determined in soil-water suspension by the method adopted by Jackson.
Professor of Plant Taxonomy and Flora
Carbonates and bicarbonates were determined by titration using 0. Sodium and potassium were determined by flame photometry, while calcium and magnesium were estimated using atomic absorption spectrometer . For ordination, the indirect gradient analysis was undertaken using detrended correspondence analysis DCA . Linear correlations coefficient r was calculated for assessing the relationship between the estimated soil variables and the studied geophytes. The vegetation groups produced from cluster analysis were then subjected to one-way analysis of variance ANOVA, SPSS 16 for Windows testing, based on soil variables, to find out whether there were any significant variations among groups.
Species richness SR is referred to here as the total number of species per site. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index was. A total of species 65 perennials, 3 biennials and 51 annuals constituted the floristic composition, belonging to 97 genera and 28 families Appendix. The largest families were Asteraceae, Poaceae and Fabaceae 24, 18 and 11 species, respectively , Brassicaceae and Chenopodiaceae 8 species each , and Caryophyllaceae 7 species. They constituted For life form abbreviations, see Appendix.
The total number of recorded species was 80 38 perennials, 1 biennials and 41 annuals and 66 40 perennials, 2 biennials and 24 annuals for coastal and inland desert, respectively.
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The most common perennial species associated with the studied geophytes C. On the other hand, the perennial species recorded in the inland desert which associated with studied geophytes Lasiurus scindicus and P. Each of these species attained a maximum importance value IV. Therophytes were the most abundant life form and constituted Chamaephytes ranked second Life forms of the associated species with studied geophytes in coastal and inland desert are shown in Fig.
The chorological spectrum of the recorded plant species was illustrated in Fig. The Cosmopolitan and Neotropical species constituted 7 species 5. The flo-ristic data indicated the abundance of the Saharo-Arabian chorotype mono-, bi- and pluriregional within the major growth forms comprised 75 species For chorotype abbreviations, see Appendex.
The chorological analysis of the present study showed that the Mediterranean taxa were represented by 59 species These taxa were either Pluriregional, Bioregional or Monoregional. Application of TWINSPAN analysis techniques produced 4 major vegetation groups at the 2nd level of classification, and yielded six subgroups at the 3rd level.
The total number of species varied from one subgroup to another Fig. Each of the identified vegetation group was named after the dominant species i. Each is linked to one or more of the studied geophyte plants. Notably, two of the recorded species were determined to have a wide ecological range of distribution and occurred in all the identified vegetation groups: Erodium lacinatum and Hordium murinum.
Group A is dominated by O. This group is linked to L. Among the common associates, Z. Tamarix aphylla is the only tree found, while Centaurea aegyptiaca and Launaea capitata were the only biennial species in this group Table 2. Group A has the lowest share of annuals, with only Trigonella stellata, H. Stands of this group were found on soil rich in fine sand. Vegetation group B consisted of 47 species 9 sites that were codominated by P. Common desert perennials are Z. Apart from Tamarix nilotica, the only tree found, C.
The associated annual species, E.
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Group C1 is codominated by Limonium pruinosum and Halocnemum strobilaceum 44 species inhabiting 9 sites studied in the Deltaic Mediterranean coastal strip; it is linked to C. Besides these dominant species, T. Twenty-eight annual species, including E. Table 2 - Species composition of the obtained 6 vegetation groups in 95 sites in the two phytogeographical regions. Species in bold are the geophyte plants. Group C2 is codominated by C.
This group is linked to C. Other associated perennial species include A. Thirty-seven annual species that were recorded in this group with remarkable presence included Carduus getulus, I. Floristic group D1 consisted of 61 species that were dominated by E. Other common associates imcluded Cynanchum acutum, S.
Group D1 has the highest share of annuals 46 species , which included C. Group D2 is codominated by C. Other associated perennial species included Moltikopsis cillata, T. Thirty annual species were recorded in this group that included the. The application of DCA on 95 stands along axes 1 and 2 eigenvalues 0. Stands of groups A and B were segregated at lower side, which was clearly separated along the two axes of DCA.
Groups C1 and C2 were separated at most upper left side. On the other hand, stands of group D1 separated at right side and group D2 demonstrated an intermediate position. It is clear that the electrical conductivity, silt, organic carbon, sulphates, chlorides and bicarbonates were the most effective soil variables that have high significant correlations with the first and second axes.
In the upper right side of the CCA diagram, O. In the upper left side of the diagram, L. On the other hand, in the lower left side, E. The simple linear correlation coefficient between some soil variables and studied geophytes indicated that C. In contrast, L. Geophytes are a kind of plant having the capability to survive arid environmental conditions and part of their annual life cycle. The present field study indicated that geophytes were recorded along the Mediterranean coast on sandy habitats coastal dunes and sand flats.
This agrees with Maswada and Elzaawely , who reported that the most distributed geophytes C. Zahran and Willis  reported that L. The floristic diversity of the study area included species, through 95 sites in two localities, representing 97 genera and 28 families. These families represent the most common in the Mediterranean North African flora [40,41].
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In the present study, Asteraceae is the largest family and also the most widespread of the flowering plants in the world [40,42], but is not the only largest family in the Flora of Egypt [20,43,44]. These findings were in line with those of El-Amier et al. Comparing the results of floristic diversity in coastal desert 80 species; 38 perennials, 1 biennial and 41 annuals with that in the inland desert 66 species; 40 perennials, 2 biennials and 24 annuals in the present study is more or less similar due to time of field trip in March to May.
On the other hand, decreased numbers of annuals in the northern part of the Eastern Desert can be attributed to the environmental aridity which plays an important role in reducing floral diversity . The dominant perennial species provide the permanent character of the plant cover in each habitat. This may be credited to the rather short rainfall, which is not adequate for the appearance of many annuals. On the other hand, the rainy season provides a better opportunity for the appearance of a considerable number of annuals .
Since the early s, vast areas in the Egyptian deserts Western, Eastern and Sinai were subjected to land reclamation due to population growth and increased congestion in the old lands in the Nile Valley and the Delta. In the study area, urban and agricultural processes were practiced in the deltaic parts.
The land reclamation processes entail an almost complete change in the environmental factors.
Therefore, the reclaimed areas of this study can be considered as transitional areas of the succession process between the old cultivated lands and that of the desert [43,55]. In this study, the dominance of therophytes Therophytes are adapted to the dryness of the region and shortage of rainfall, because they spend their vegetative period in the form of seed [57,58]. These results are congruent with the spectra of vegetation in the desert habitats in other parts of the Middle East .
The whole country lies within the Saharo-Arabian belt of the Holarctic floristic realm . The chorological analysis of the present study indicated the abundance of the Saharo-Arabian chorotype This maybe attributed to the fact that plants of the Saharo-Arabian species are good indicators for harsh desert environmental conditions, while Mediterranean species signal to a more mesic environment [58,63,64].
These two traditions were maintained and expanded in further phases of e- logical development associated with the establishment of the Egyptian University in now the University of Cairo. He died young, and his wife Vivi Tackholm devoted her life to studying the? She died in The second professor of botany in Egypt was F. Physiography Climate and SoilVegetation Relationships. The Western Desert. The Nile Region. Remote Sensing and Vegetation Map of Egypt.
Mutations foncieres et desertification dans le Sud Tunisien. Ayyad M. Habitat and plant communities in the NE Desert of Egypt. Communication in Agrisciences and Development Research 7 6 Batanouny K. Habitat features and vegetation of deserts and semi-deserts in Egypt. Vegetatio 27 Benzarti Z. Etude de la persistance de la secheresse en Tunisie par utilisation des chaines de Markov Chapin F. Zavaleta E. Eviner V. Naylor R. Vitousek P. Reynolds H. Hooper D. Lavorel S. Sala O. Hobbie S. Mack M. Consequences of changing biodiversity. Nature Chapman V.
Salt marshes and salt deserts of the world. London: Hill. Crawley M.
Scale dependence in plant biodiversity. Science Emberger L. Une classification biogeographique des climats. Montpellier 7 Evenary M. Noy-Meir I. Goodal D. Ecosystems of the world. Hot Deserts and Arid Shrublands. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Floret C. Paris: Orstom editions. Gamoun M. Diplome de mastere faculte des sciences de Sfax. Chaieb M. Evolution de la diversite floristique des parcours en Tunisie aride. Tarhouni M. Ouled Belgacem A. Hanchi B. Effects of grazing and trampling on primary production and soil surface in North African rangelands. Ganry F. Gillson L. Rangeland ecology in a changing world.
Grime J. Chichester: Wiley. Hardin G. The tragedy of the commons. Hassib M. Distribution of plant communities in Egypt. Fouad I 29 Jauffret S. Assigning life-history traits to plant species to better qualify arid land degradation in Presaharian Tunisia. Arid Environ.