An indigenous species, specifically of the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia, the Ghaf is a drought – tolerant, evergreen tree which is, possibly, the sturdiest plant of the harsh desert environment In the UAE, it can be seen growing on low sand dunes, undulating sand sheets and along margins of gravel plains mostly in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
The presence of Ghaf in an area indicates that there is water underground. The tree taps water stored deep in the sand, its roots penetrating as deep as 30 meters to access it. Thus, Ghaf is able to withstand very low rainfall and still stay green. How long it can survive if groundwater itself gets exhausted, is yet to be determined.