Plants of the Nile

1. Papyrus – This species of aquatic flowering plant belongs to the sedge family. The tall leafless grass has a greenish cluster of stems at its tip and has been used historically to produce papyrus paper.

2. Plume thistle – Found all over Egypt, but especially around the Nile, the plume thistle is a tall biennial plant that consists of a rosette of leaves, a taproot and a flowering stem. Traditionally, the stems were peeled and boiled for consumption.

3. Chamomile – This is a daisy-like plant from the family Asteraceae. There are many species of chamomile, however the one common to the Nile is Matricaria – a type commonly used in herbal remedies.

4. Blue Egyptian water lily – The ‘blue lotus’ is one of the most iconic plants on the Nile. With broad leaves and colourful blue blooms, this water lily stands out amid the sandy tones of Egypt. It had a spiritual link to the Ancient Egyptian deity Nefertem.

5. Opium poppy – As the name suggests this is the species of poppy from which opium is derived – the source of narcotics like morphine. The plant has blue-purple or white flowers and silver-green foliage.