Hunting Desert Roses

4:17:00 PM Brooke Neal 18 Comments

When I told my friend we were going out to dig for desert roses she thought we were  actually  hunting for a plant, but in fact a desert rose is a gypsum formation found in the ground. The deserts around Saudi offer the prime conditions--arid with just enough moisture. The resulting clusters look like flowers. We went out last Saturday and had a blast. Not only is this a super fun family activity, but it offers up a great geology lesson and requires a bit of patience and work on everyone's part.  
So, how do you find them?  Choose a piece of ground and start digging. Our first pit didn't yeild anything, but with our second we hit the mother load. We hit water about 4 feet down, but most of our roses were found between 2-4 feet. Some are small enough to hold in your hand while others weigh up to 10 pounds. The kids loved taking the newly discovered roses over to water pail to rise them off to see the pattern emerge. 

This clever fellow saw us out in the desert and brought over his camel for rides and pictures. He knows how to make a buck! After he left we saw a large herd of camels roam by unattended. I've been told they know where to return to every night.  
Like I said, this was a great activity for the family--the kids enjoyed digging in the soft sand, loved the discovery and were really interested in the formation process.  Don't you love it when you can actually combine learning and fun!
Linking with...Black and White Wednesday * Wednesdays Around the World * 


  1. That must have been fun and adventure for the kids! And beautiful rock formations!

  2. I haven't heard of a desert rose before. How neat.

  3. I have seen folks playing in the sand, but there was always water next store

  4. What a fun family outing! Those roses are just beautiful.

  5. Don't you just love this planet of ours! I saw a post yesterday how the sand in a beach in japan the pebbles in the sand are actually star shaped.

  6. Such a great experience digging for desert roses, and they are so pretty. We have a cabin in Oklahoma, and there are some places in nearby Arkansas that have many of these rocks. Also what a fun side experience to see all of the camels. Hope your children are enjoying their new home. Definitely different than Europe!

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