Being a desert, many people would not think that the Sahara desert would produce a healthy crop of edible plants. Nevertheless, the Sahara desert is home to several species of plants that nourish its residents, and even provide a lucrative business option. The plants in the Sahara are a staple in the day-to-day lives and diets of the Sahara populace. There are five plants in particular that are most frequently cultivated and eaten.
The first of these plants is the orange tree. Most North Americans think of Florida and California when it comes to the orange crop, even though the Sahara desert offers plenty of its own oranges in its dry, hot landscape. The trees grow particularly well along the coast of the Nile and in various other areas in the Sahara that have an oasis.
A heavily used herb in American cuisine is thyme, which thrives naturally in the Sahara, as well as several additional herbs. Thyme, in particular, is considered food to many of the animals that inhabit the Sahara desert, while the locals cultivate thyme to add flavor to their meals.
Figs are also grown in the Sahara desert. While it may be difficult to picture these soft, tasty fruits growing in desert environments, figs play a significant role in the diet of Sahara residents and have done so for ages.
Another fruit native to Africa and the Sahara desert is the magaria. Magaria is fruit similar in size to the cherry. They are a muted brown color and are typically dried to use in the cake batter.
While the olive tree will often make one think of Italian olive groves, this plant is also native to the Sahara desert, growing best in many areas bordering the Nile. It is a very useful and vital plant to the desert's ecosystem as well as its business structure, as the olive tree is a profitable resource.
The term Sahara desert plants typically bring to mind thoughts of the cacti that also populate the area or even the unusual gourds that cannot be eaten but help to heal bites from a scorpion. As far as Sahara residents go, however, the most vital vegetation of the whole area are the plants consumed daily as food.