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Thymelaea hirsuta (mitnan)

Mitnan is a yellow-flowered desert shrub, the leaves of which are used in traditional medicine and the branches and bark are woven to make strong rope.
Thymelaea hirsuta flowers

Thymelaea hirsuta growing near Petra in southern Jordan in 2008. (Photo: K. Abulaila, NCARE)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Thymelaea hirsuta (L.) Endl.

Common name: 

mitnan (Arabic)

Conservation status: 

Not yet evaluated by IUCN.

Habitat: 

Coastal plains and loessial wadi beds of deserts.

Key Uses: 

Fibre, medicine, paper.

Known hazards: 

Poisonous to fish and mammals.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Rosanae
Order: 
Malvales
Family: 
Thymelaeaceae
Genus: Thymelaea

About this species

A desert shrub, used to make strong rope and paper, Thymelaea hirsuta is known locally by the Arabic name of mitnan. It belongs to the plant family Thymelaeaceae, which also includes ramin (Gonystylus spp.), which are grown for their white wood, and Daphne spp., which is grown for its scented flowers. The roots of mitnan can extend to a depth of 3.5 m, helping the plant obtain water in harsh desert environments.

Synonym: 

Passerina hirsuta L.

Genus: 
Thymelaea

main info

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