Arabian oxeye (Anvillea garcinii)

Anvillea garcinii in flower
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Arabian oxeye fact file

Arabian oxeye description

GenusAnvillea (1)

The Arabian oxeye (Anvillea garcinii) is a woody perennial shrub (2) (4) (5) with crinkly, oval, grey or grey-green leaves (2) (4) which taper towards the base and have irregularly toothed edges (2). This rigidly branched species has a woolly appearance, as it is covered in short, white or greyish hairs (6).

The yellow, disc-shaped flowers of the Arabian oxeye grow singly, and are found on the ends of short, thick stalks. The flowers are surrounded by radiating bracts that look like leaves (2).

The Arabian oxeye produces very small, compressed fruits, just 0.3 to 0.4 centimetres in length (2).

Height: 20 - 50 cm (2) (3)

Arabian oxeye biology

Little is known about the biology of the Arabian oxeye; however, it is thought to be pollinated by bees (9).

The Arabian oxeye is known to flower between February and April in the United Arab Emirates and Israel (2) (7), while it has been reported to flower between April and June in the Jordanian desert (9)

As well as being used for animal feed, the Arabian oxeye is a medicinal plant (5), as its flowers and leaves have been shown to have antibacterial properties (10) (11).


Arabian oxeye range

The Arabian oxeye is found across much of the Middle East, from Israel, Lebanon and Syria, southwards to Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and eastwards to Iran and Iraq. This species is also found in North Africa, in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria (1).


Arabian oxeye habitat

Being a desert species (7), the Arabian oxeye is generally found on sandy plains (4) (8) and sand dunes (3), particularly where the sand is very compacted (2).

The Arabian oxeye can also be found in mountains, wadis and on rocky terrain (3).


Arabian oxeye status

The Arabian oxeye has not yet been classified on the IUCN Red List.


Arabian oxeye threats

Habitat destruction is the main threat to the Arabian oxeye (2) (4). There are concerns that this species may soon disappear entirely from the United Arab Emirates as a result of intense habitat disturbance (2).


Arabian oxeye conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures in place specifically for the Arabian oxeye.


Find out more

For more information about conservation in the Emirates:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Modified leaf at the base of a flower.
A plant that normally lives for more than two years. After an initial period, the plant usually produces flowers once a year.
To transfer pollen grains from the stamen (male part of a flower) to the stigma (female part of a flower) of a flowering plant. This usually leads to fertilisation, the development of seeds and, eventually, a new plant.


  1. Catalogue of Life (April, 2012)
  2. Jongbloed, M.V.D. (2003) The Comprehensive Guide to the Wild Flowers of the United Arab Emirates. Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi.
  3. Brown, G. and Sakkir, S. (2004) The Vascular Plants of Abu Dhabi Emirate. Terrestrial Environment Research Centre, Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency, Abu Dhabi. Available at:
  4. Vine, P. (1996) Natural Emirates: Wildlife and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. Trident Press Ltd., UK.
  5. Louhaichi, M., Salkini, A.K., Estita, H.E. and Belkhir, S. (2011) Initial assessment of medicinal plants across the Libyan Mediterranean coast. Advances in Environmental Biology, 5(2): 359-370.
  6. Mandaville, J.P. (2011) Bedouin Ethnobotany: Plant Concepts and Uses in a Desert Pastoral World. University of Arizona Press, Arizona.
  7. Wild Flowers of Israel - Anvillea garcinii:
  8. Assaeed, A.M. (2002) Diversity conservation of rangeland and forest plants in Saudi Arabia. GEF/TWNSO Workshop, April, 20-24, Slutan Qabus University, Muscat, Oman. Available at:
  9. Zaitoun, S.T. and Vorwohl, G. (2003) Major pollen plant species in relation to honeybees’ activity in the Jordanian desert area. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology, 5(4): 411-415.
  10. Javidnia, K., Miri, R., Assadollahi, M., Gholami, M. and Ghaderi, M. (2009) Screening of selected plants growing in Iran for antimicrobial activity. Iranian Journal of Science and Technology, Transaction A, 33(A4): 329-333.
  11. Naji, T., Rustaiyan, A., Atarpor, M. and Behnam, M. (2004) Study of antibacterial effects of Anvillea garcini occurring in south of Iran. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 3(2): 77.

Image credit

Anvillea garcinii in flower  
Anvillea garcinii in flower

© Avinoam Danin

Avinoam Danin
Professor Emeritus of Botany
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Israel 91904
Tel: 972-2-6584319
Fax: 972-2-6585711


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