Echium humile is a Borraginaceae named Tainast in tamahaq. It is also found almost everywhere in the desert, most often between some stones that will have kept some moisture in the soil underneath.
It is a relative to the European Echium vulgare, called in French Vipérine because its dry leaves look like the dry skin of a viper, after sloughing.
Favorite thing: Those who do not know the desert say that it is a dead land with no living soul on sight! Actually, if you drive fast, you will not see any living being around. If you make a stop, often you will have after a few minutes friendly visitors. If this is not the case, you will most of the time spot in the background a flock of sheeps or of camels. Oh sorry, I said "no living soul" ! Do camels have a soul?
Favorite thing: In Europe, we are used to see donkeys in a green environment, with a lot of grass to graze and find amazing to see them in the desert. However, donkeys are as fit to the desert than the camels, though with different characteristics. Camels do not need to drink everyday but need food everyday. Donkeys need water everyday but can wait after food for several days. Camels can have a heavier load than donkeys but donkeys behave very well in the mountain while camels are happier in plains. Though tourists prefer camels, donkeys are as usefule as camels in the desert! However, I am sure that most visitors prefer to have a photo of their ass on a camel than on an ass!
Contrary to what most visitors think, there are many insects living in the Sahara. They are active only during the night, or evening, and stay hidden during the day to prevent water loss. The best adapted Coleoptera are surely Tenebrionidae and Carabidae. Most of them are completely black to protect themselves from UV radiation.
This photo was taken in the early morning and shows a Carabus beginning to hide under the sand. It will not show any more until next night.
The Dung beetlle, not shown here, lives on animal dungs.
Favorite thing: Moricandia arvensis is a Cruciferae, a relative to salads, radish and other turnips. It is one of the plants that are often found in the Sahara. They grow as15-30 cm tall tufts, especially in places where there has been some water underground, some time! In Spring, they give the typical four petals flower of the Cruciferae, followed by long and thin fruits. They are happily grazed by cattle.
Launaea nudicaulis is an Asteraceae named Aghararam in tamahaq. It is common in the Northern Sahara.
The young leaves can be cooked and eaten, in the same way than dandelion, a close relative. It is also an excellent feed for camels, especially when a mother has to feed a young one on her milk.
Favorite thing: Astragalus gombo is a Fabaceae named Akassaker in tamahaq. It is again a plant very common in the Sahara, 40-50 cm tall, with yellow flowers 25 mm long, gathered by 3-7. The long leaves are divided into 15 to 30 folioles covered with a whitish hair. It is an excellent feed for cattle. They are close relatives with beans and peas.