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Scientific Name: Cymbopogon shoenanthus

Local Name: Sakhbar, Athkhar Athkhar

Arabic Name: Asakhbr, Khasab, Hamra

Common Name: Camel’s hay, Camel grass



Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Tracheophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Order: Poales

Family: Poaceae

Genus: Cybopogon

Species: Cymbopoaon densiflorus



Compactly tufted perennial, the basal sheaths persistent; culms 20—120 cm. high. Leaf-blades filiform to flat, 10—35 cm. long, 1—4 mm. wide, asperulous on the nerves. False panicle narrowly oblong, 5—40 cm. long; racemes 10—30 mm. long, woolly villous with hairs 2—4 mm. long, the lowermost pedicel swollen, its adjacent internode very short. Sessile spikelet narrowly lanceolate, 4—7 mm. long; lower glume chartaceous, nerveless and concave between the keels, these sharp throughout, wingless; upper lemma bidentate, the awn 5—9 mm. long, almost straight, with little difference between column and limb. Pedicelled spikelet narrowly lanceolate, 4—7 mm. long.


Habitat and Distribution:

The plant is widespread in North Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India, and Pakistan. It is widely spread in UAE especially in the Northern Emirates and found in mountain slopes and valleys with gravely soils.

Parts Used: Whole plant and oil


Traditional and Medicinal Use:

In UAE the infusion of the plant was traditionally used for fever and stomach problems and the roots are chewed as an aphrodisiac.

In other countries, the whole plant was traditionally used for lung and stomach problems and for infertility in women. The roots can be used as an antidote for snake and scorpion poison. The oil was traditionally used as nervine for rheumatism, backache, nerve and joint pain and uterus diseases.



In order to survive under droughts, desert plants must intensify water absorption, and reduce water loss. It is usually achieved by decreasing the size of the transpiring parts of the plant so that only few living buds remain enclosed in dried dead leaves.