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Res. Bult., No. (123), Agric. Res. Center, King Saud Univ., pp. (5-20) 2003


Kamal F. Elkhalifa 1

M. A. M. Ibraheim 2

G. M. El Ghazali 3

ABSTRACT The present study forms a checklist on the flora of the Gash

Delta, Eastern Sudan. The materials examined included freshly

collected specimens plus all specimens deposited at various herberia

and those reported for the area in different publications. A total

number of 163 plant species were documented to represent the present

flora of the Gash Delta. The study resulted in identification of a

number of species not recorded in the main flora of the Sudan, in

addition to updating of names for seven families and twenty eight


1 Plant Production Dept., College of Agriculture, King Saud University, P.O. Box:

2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

2 College of Natural Resources, University of Western Kordfan, Sudan

3 Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, National Research Centre, Khartoum, Sudan

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Studies on the flora of the Sudan are few and were represented in the works of Broun and Massey (1929), and Andrews (1950 and 1952) which may be regarded as the standard reference floras of the area. Recently, El Amin (1990) made a valuable attempt to up-date the trees and shrubs of the Sudan. Studies on regional floras include Crowfoot (1928), Andrews (1948), Obaid and Mahmoud (1968), Sahni (1968), Ahti et al. (1973), Hassan (1974), Wickens (1976), Thirakul (1984), Bebawi and Neugebohrn (1991) and Braun et al. (1991). In addition, there exist some theses, dissertations and reports that include Al Awad (1981, 1985), Kordofani (1985), El Ghazali (1983), Gumaa (1988) and Ahmed (1985). The flora of the Gash Delta was selected for investigation in the present study for a number of reasons. First, large number of specimens previously collected from the study area were encountered in various herberia need to be updated and incorporated in the main flora of the Sudan. In addition, Gash Delta, besides its importance from Agricultural point of view, possesses a great deal of fodder and medicinal plant species that some of which, the sensitive, might be eliminated without being recorded. The present study aimed to document the present flora of the Gash Delta, Eastern Sudan and consequently contribute to the updating of the Sudan's flora. Study Area:

The study area is confined to the Gash Delta, Kassala State, Eastern Sudan. It lies approximately between latitudes 15 28 and 16 26 North and longitudes 35 56 and 36 26 East. The Delta stretches to about 110 km. North-East of Kassala town(Map 1). The climate of the study area is described with respect to two meteorological stations located at Kassala and Aroma towns for the period 1961-1990 as follows:

Average temperature at Kassala is 41.6 o C in May to 16.5 o C in January, while it is 42.5 o C and 14 o C at Aroma, respectively.

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Map 1: Study Area Showing Sample Collection Sites - 7 -

Map 1: Study Area Showing Sample Collection Sites

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rainfall of 251mm per annum at Kassala, and 193mm at Aroma.

Relative humidity varies from 27% in April to 60% in August at Kassala, and from 27% to 48% at Aroma.









The authors collected four specimens for the plant species in the study area. The fresh specimens were collected via four field trips in the different seasons of the year. The collection sites were Bushara village, Wad Sharifi, Kassala, Gammam, Makali, Aroma, Degain, Hadalia and Wagar (Map 1). Materials collected were examined initially for their classification, and further analysis was carried out by dissecting mainly the floral parts using MbC-10 dissection microscope. All specimens were deposited at, and confirmed with the herbarium of the Medicinal and Aromatic plants Research Institute, National Center for Research, Khartoum. Further confirmation was made by comparison with the specimens from Botany Depatment Herbarium, University of Khatoum.

The synonyms of species identified (where exist) were extracted from references such as Wickens (1976), Hutchinson and Dalziel (1963), Milne-Redhead and Pothil (1960-1982). The vernacular names, however, were questionnaired from local people in the study area, or extracted from Andrews (1949, 1953) and Hassan



A total of 163 plant species were studied from the Gash Delta (table 1), these belong to 112 genera in 41 families. Out of the whole number 138 species are dicotyledonous and 25 are monocotyledonous. As far as the material examined is concerned, this study is complete as it includes also all species of the study area deposited at various local herbaria and those previously reported in the main flora of the Sudan (Andrews, 1950 and 1952).

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Most of the species documented in this study have a wide geographical distribution while some are restricted to North-Eastern Sudan. However, only five species are indigenous to the Gash Delta, namely Amaranthus tricolor L., Combretum gallabatense Schwent., Flavaria trinervia (Spreng) Mohr, Paniccum colaratum L. and Pulicaria salicifolia.

Most of the species listed exhibited uniform morphological characteristics in connection with previous published description. Cleome gynandra L. and Basilicum polystachyon were notable exception in this respect. The leaves of the former was found to possess different number of leaflets ranging from 3-7 while Andrews (1950) reported the species to be confined to 5 leaflets per leaf, while the stem of the latter was found to have quadrangular instead of cylindrical as described by Andrews (1950). This might be a biological variation or to the comparison within a wide range as such authors had dealt with the whole of the Sudan's flora or regional floras.

The present study also updates or give synonyms of twenty seven species (table 2).

In addition, this study included three plant species that were not reported by Andrews, these are Acanthospermum hispidium DC., Senna (Cassia) obtusifolia L. and Trianthema portulacastrum L. (Figure-1 a, b, c). However, the second species was recorde by El Amin (1990) to be existing in water sites in Kassala.

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Table 2: List of the changed scientific names

Acacia albida Del.

Faidherbia albida(Del.) Achev

Alternanthera repens L.

Alternanthera pungens Kunth

Borreria compacta (Hiern) K.

Spermacoce chaetocephala DC

Cassia italica

Senna italica Mill.



Cassia nigricans Vahl


Cassia occidentalis L.

Senna occidentalis(L.) Link.

Cassia senna L.

Senna alexandrina Mill

Cassia tora Oliv

Senna obtusifolia(L.) Trwin And Barneby

Coloyynthis vulgaris Schard

Citrullus colocynthis(L.) Schrad

Colocynthis citrulus(L.) Kuntze

Citrullus lanatus(Thunb.) Manst


Kedrostisgijef(J.F. Gmd.) C. Jeffery

Cordia rothii Roem & Schult

Cordia sinensis Lam.

Crassula pentandra

Crassula schimperi Fisch& May

Cucumis melo var. agrisits Naud

Cucumis melo L.

Cuscuta cordofana Englelm

Cuscuta australia R. Br.

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Continued ……………

Table 2


Eragrostis ramaquinsis

Eragrostisdiplachnoides Steud


Eragrostis megastanchya(Koel.) Link

Eragrostis cilianensis(All)







Cleome gynandra L.

Ipomoea amoenula Dandey


Ipomoea heterotricha F. Didr






non Rath

Ipomoea tenuipens Verdc.



Leptadenia arborea(Forssk.)



Leptadenia lancifolia Schurm & Thonn.

Leptadenia hastate(Pers.) Dence





Muika maderaspatana(L.)M.J





Memordica cymbalaria Hook

Phyllanthus niruri L.


Phyllanthus fraternus Webster

Sesbania Arabica Steud &



Sesbania hepperi J.B Gillett

Solanum dubium Fres.


Solanum coagulans Forssk.

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Figure-1 a: Acanthospermum hispidum DC. (XI) - 15 -

Figure-1 a: Acanthospermum hispidum DC. (XI)

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Figure-1 b: Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwind & Barneby. (XI) - 16 -

Figure-1 b: Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwind & Barneby. (XI)

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Figure-1 c: Trianthema porulacastrum L. - 17 -

Figure-1 c: Trianthema porulacastrum L.

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Ahmed, A. A. (1985) the grassess of Northern Sudan (Unpublished). M.Sc. Thesis, University of Khartoum, Khartoum.

Ahti, T.L. Hamet – Ahti and B. Petterson (1973), Flora of the inundated wadi Halfa reach of the Nile, Sudanese Nubian with notes on adjacent areas Ann, Bot Fenn 10:131 162.


Awad, A. A. (1981) Studies on the family cucurbitaceae (unpublished) M.Sc. Thesis University of Khartoum, Khartoum.

Al Awad, A. A. (1985) Ecotaxonomical studies on vegetation of Red Sea State, Sduan, Ph.D. Thesis University of Kihartoum, Khartoum.

In: Agriculture in

Andrews, F. W. (1948), Vegetation of the Sudan.

the Sudan (d. J. D. Tothil), Oxford University press. Oxford.

Andrews, F. W. (1949 A) The flora of Erkawit.

Trees and shrubs.

Department of Agriculture and forestry, Bull No. 1, Khartoum.

Andrews, F. W. (1949 B), Vernacular names of plants as described in flowring plants of Anglo-Egyption Sudan. (Vol. 1) M.C. Coroudale and Co., (Sudan) Ltd.

The flworing plants of the Anglo-Egyption,

Andrews, F. W. (1950).

Sudan (Vol. 1) T. Buncle and Co. Ltd. Arbroath.

Andrews F. W. (1952) the flowirng plants of the Sudan (Vol. 3). Buncle and Co. Ltd. Arbroath.

Bebawi, F. F. and L. Neugebohrn (1991).


A Review of plants of

Northern Sudan, with special reference to their uses.



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Braun, M. H. Burgstaller, A. M. Hamdoun, and H. Walter (1991) Common weeds of Central Sudan. GTZ. Eschborn.

Braun, A. F. and R. E. Massey (1929). Marby and Co., London.

Crowfoot, G. M. (1928) Flowering plants of the Northern and Central Sudan, Orphan’s printing press, London.

El Amin, H. M. (1990). Trees and shrubs of the Sudan. Ithaca Press. Exeter.

El Ghazali. G. E. B. (1983). A study on the Composites of Khartoum Province (Unpublished) B. Sc. Dissertation, Botany Department. Faculty of Science, University of Khartoum. Khartoum.

El Ghazali G. E. G (1985) The flora of the Eastern Nuba Mountains with special reference to Medicinal plants (Unpublisehd) M.Sc. Thesis, U of K., Khartoum.

Gumaa. A/G N. (1988) The Flora of Ingessana Hills with special Reference to Khors, S. E. Sudan (Unpublished) Ph.D. Thesis. University of Khartoum. Khartoum.

Harrison, M.N. and J. K. Jackson (1958), Ecological classification of Vegetation of the Sudan. Agricultural Publication Committee. Khartoum.

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Hutchimson, J. & J. M. Dalziel (1963). Flora of West Tropical Africa Vol. 2 (2 nd edition) Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Adminstrations London.

Kordofani M. A. Y. (1985) Experimental taxonomy of Sudanese Bulb bearing Species (Unpublished) M.Sc. Thesis, Unviersity of Khartoum.

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Milne – Redhead E. And R. M. Pothil (eds) (1960 – 1982). Flora of East Tropical Africa Crown Agents for Oversease Governments and Administration. London.



Agriculture of the Sudan (ed. G. M. Craig). Oxford Unviersity









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Smith. J. (1949). Distribution of tree species in the Sudan in relation to rainfall and soil texture. Ministry of Agriculture Sudan Government. Bulletin Vol. 4.

Thirakul, S. (1984). Manual of Dendrology, Bahr el Ghazal and Central Regions. Groupe Poulin, Theriault Ltee Consultants. Quebec.

Wickens. G. E. (1976). The Flora of Jebel Marra and its geogrpahical Affinites. Her Majesty’s stationaery office, London.

Wickens, G. E. (1991). Natural vegetation In: The Agriculture of the Sudan (ed. G. M. Craig) Oxford Unviesity press, Oxford.

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