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Res. Bult., No. (123), Agric. Res. Center, King Saud Univ., pp. (5-20) 2003
Kamal F. Elkhalifa
M. A. M. Ibraheim
G. M. El Ghazali

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

Plant Production Dept., College of Agriculture, King Saud University, P.O. Box:
2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
College of Natural Resources, University of Western Kordfan, Sudan
Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, National Research Centre, Khartoum,
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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
C in May to 16.5
in January, while it is 42.5
C and 14
C at Aroma, respectively.
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Map 1: Study Area Showing Sample Collection Sites
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The rainy season (July-September) is with mean annual
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
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
Faidherbia albida(Del.) Achev Acacia albida Del.
Alternanthera pungens Kunth Alternanthera repens L.
Spermacoce chaetocephala DC Borreria compacta (Hiern) K.
Senna italica Mill. Cassia italica
Cassia nigricans Vahl
Senna occidentalis(L.) Link. Cassia occidentalis L.
Senna alexandrina Mill Cassia senna L.
Senna obtusifolia(L.) Trwin
And Barneby
Cassia tora Oliv
Citrullus colocynthis(L.)
Coloyynthis vulgaris Schard
Citrullus lanatus(Thunb.) Manst Colocynthis citrulus(L.) Kuntze
Kedrostisgijef(J.F. Gmd.)
C. Jeffery
Cordia sinensis Lam. Cordia rothii Roem & Schult
Crassula schimperi Fisch& May Crassula pentandra
Cucumis melo L. Cucumis melo var. agrisits Naud
Cuscuta australia R. Br. Cuscuta cordofana Englelm

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Continued …………….. Table 2
Eragrostis ramaquinsis
Eragrostisdiplachnoides Steud
Eragrostis cilianensis(All)
Eragrostis megastanchya(Koel.)
Cleome gynandra L.
Gynandropsis gynandra (L.)
Ipomoea heterotricha F. Didr Ipomoea amoenula Dandey
Ipomoea tenuipens Verdc.
Ipomoea pulchella snesu Kak.
non Rath
Leptadenia arborea(Forssk.)
Leptadenia heterophylla(Del.)
Leptadenia hastate(Pers.) Dence
Leptadenia lancifolia Schurm &
Muika maderaspatana(L.)M.J
Melothria maderaspatana(L.)
Memordica cymbalaria Hook
Memordica tuberose(Roxb.)
Phyllanthus fraternus Webster Phyllanthus niruri L.
Sesbania hepperi J.B Gillett
Sesbania Arabica Steud &
Solanum coagulans Forssk. Solanum dubium Fres.

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

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

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Figure-1 c: Trianthema porulacastrum L.
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