Some 200 different species of desert plants grow in the bare, arid portions of the archipelago, while the irrigated and cultivated areas of the islands support fruit trees, fodder crops, and vegetables. The variety of animals is limited by the desert conditions. Gazelle and hares are not yet extinct, and lizards and jerboas (desert rodents) are common; the mongoose—probably imported from India—is found in the irrigated areas. Birdlife is sparse except in spring and autumn, when many varieties of migratory birds rest temporarily in Bahrain while traveling to and from higher temperate latitudes.
The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) in Bahrain is approximately 400 year-old, 32 feet or 9.75 m high Prosopis cineraria tree located 1.2 miles or 2 kilometers from Jebel Dukhan. The tree stands on top of a 25-foot or 7.6-m high sandy hill.
The tree is a local tourist attraction, as it is the only major tree growing in the area. The tree is visited by approximately 50,000 tourists every year and the tree often is damaged by graffiti carvings. It is also believed to be the site for cults practising ancient rites.
Trees and shrubs of Prosopis genus are extremely well adapted to arid environments with one of the deepest known root systems.