Petrified Remains

Throughout the small reserve, there are colossal amounts of unmatched sizes and shapes of petrified woods. Their presence is the main factor in what has turned the forest into a favored tourist attraction. The petrified wood exhibits the fossilized remains of about 35 million years of ancient vegetation and is absolutely remarkable in its representation of the original organic material. The wood originates from various types of trees, most of which are acacia trees, pastoral plants, and bushes. 

The tree fossils are the remains of an ancient forest that was brought to this location by floods during the Oligocene period.  The 60 million-years old Oligocene formations cover about 1.5% of Egypt in isolated patches of the Western Desert between the Faiyum and Bahariya depressions, the Cairo- Suez desert road and the Gulf of Suez. 

There are 30 fossil wood species recorded at the Petrified Forest Protected Area; 27 of which belong to trees (dicots) and three to palms (monocots). The 30 species belong to eight families; Fabaceae (16 species), Combretaceae (4 species), Arecaceae (3 species), Malvaceae and Moraceae (2 species each), Ebenaceae, Fagaceae and Monimiaceae (1 species each). Fabaceae is the most diverse taxonomic group (in terms of the number of species recorded). Subfamily Faboideae is subordinate to the other two subfamilies; this is reversed in the extant flora. Detarioxylon aegyptiacum is the dominant species (in terms of the number of trunks recorded). It is also the most widespread in Africa. More information on the fossil species please refer to List of Petrified Trees and Palms in The Petrified Forest Protected Area.