In the lower regions of the Euphrates and Tigris and in the alluvial plains, papyrus, lotus, and tall reeds form a thick underbrush; willow, poplar, and alder trees abound. On the upper and middle Euphrates, the licorice bush yields a juice that is extracted for commercial purposes; another bush growing wild in the semiarid steppe or desert yields gum tragacanth for pharmaceutical use. In the higher Zagros Mountains grows the valonia oak, the bark of which is used for tanning leather. About 30 million date palms produce one of Iraq's most important exports.
Wild animals include the hyena, jackal, fox, gazelle, antelope, jerboa, mole, porcupine, desert hare, and bat. Beaver, wild ass, and ostrich are rare. Wild ducks, geese, and partridge are the game birds. Vultures, owls, and ravens live near the Euphrates. Falcons are trained for hunting.