Popular plant banned in Qatar for wreaking havoc on infrastructure

Matthew Smith/Wikimedia

Damas tree

The Damas tree, a common plant whose complex roots damage underground water pipes, can no longer be imported, sold or planted in Qatar, officials have said.

According to local media reports, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has asked nurseries to stop bringing the Conocarpus lancifolius trees into the country.

The fast-growing plants can tolerate heat, drought and salty soil, and are commonly used in landscaping across the Gulf region.

Ulf Mehlig/Wikimedia

Damas plant

But the MME’s Public Parks Department said the Damas trees are strangling underground pipes and choking drains with their roots.

Regional ‘menace’

The Damas tree has many redeeming qualities, including its low cost, but authorities across the GCC have been railing against it for years.

In 2012 for example, developer Emaar launched a “Say no to Damas” campaign after the trees began cracking walls of compounds and damaging homes.

At the time, a Saudi newspaper called the tree a “menace” despite its ability to provide shade and act like a privacy fence between neighbors.

It is likely that in Qatar, the plant will not disappear completely.

According to the Peninsula, the MME said it will make certain exceptions for people buying through ministry nurseries.

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