This Qatari suburb is where the wettest deserts grow the most elaborate flower designs

Qatar is home to the largest ephedrine processing plant in the world, which is majorly popular with pharmaceutical companies operating in other countries. The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of ephedrine, which is used in a number of drugs, such as cough syrup, melatonin, and cancer treatment.

The United Nations considers it an “important destabilizing agent that also causes enormous damage to people and communities.” (Follow this link to find out how the chemicals are derived and abused.)

En route to the Middle East, the Doha region where Qatar is located receives an influx of moisture from the Arabian Sea every four to six days. This rainfall increases the azaleas in the region. That’s good news for the flowers, which are left blooming as there’s no phosphorous or nitrogen in the water. Additionally, the qat-herbs in Qatar can survive for days without sunlight — this too helps protect the plants’ flowers from the sun’s harmful rays.

It’s certainly not unusual for these flowers to have the importance of their gardens at dune face, but what is quite unusual is how detailed they can be carved into each other.

A group of local students were inspired to discover the artworks when a teacher presented them with the task of drawing out messages carved in the ground. Excited about the attempt, the students worked quickly, but quickly discovered the language of the symbols is rather hard to understand. It appears they are carved by locals who come to the desert to find the herbation and sell the dried qat leaves there. Since traditional qat smoking and qat chewing is banned in Doha, the students gave up trying to decipher the meaning of the scribbles.

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