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This article is about an older version of DF.
A red sand desert blending into a rocky wasteland.
Deserts in the real world.

A desert is a very dry biome, with little to no rainfall each year. Deserts can be found in almost all climates except the most extreme cold regions. They are always arid, so cold deserts may only have flowing water for a few months of the year, and warm deserts might have rivers that evaporate during the summer months. The desert temperature is mostly on the far ranges of warm or cold, and can reach scorching or freezing temperatures in certain regions. Variable heat loss is not a feature in biomes, so very hot deserts will remain warm/hot in the night with only a small decrease in temperature.

Very few trees and plants are able to grow in these barren lands. There is a surprisingly decent amount of creatures however. Camels, for example, are very common to this kind of biome and provide an excellent food source (whether one or two humps). Breaching caverns for resources that deserts lack can make building a fortress a whole lot easier.

Types of deserts[edit]

There are three types of deserts: badlands, rocky wastelands, and sand deserts. The key characteristic of deserts is that they form in very low rainfall.

Badlands have soil but very little rainfall, and so have very little to offer in the way of plant life, both shrubs and trees. They are mostly hot or cold, but can also have another climate. Badlands form in areas with high drainage.

Rocky wastelands are arid, barren areas rich in stone. It may be difficult to find soil or an aboveground water source. Additionally, trees and other plant life are usually scarce at best in these areas. Thus, trees should be grown in subterranean tree farms. For pasture, the top layer of dirt can simply be channeled through; grass will grow in the resulting pit. Wastelands form in areas with medium drainage.

Sand deserts are large and dry areas of sand. They can be difficult for a beginning player to found a fortress in, due to the fact that there are usually few trees and plants to be found, and it may require digging several Z-layers deep before any stone is found. However, similar to rocky wastelands, areas of the map can be channeled out for grass growth. The new grass tiles will even allow tree growth, with enough time. Deserts form in areas with low drainage.


All desert creatures and vermin can appear in any type of desert.


In savage deserts:

1 No longer appears since v0.42.04

In evil deserts:


In savage deserts:

In good deserts:

In evil deserts:


All desert plants can appear in any type of deserts.


" Alfalfa
" Barley
" Blade weed
" Caper
" Fisher berry
" Hide root
" Lentil
" Longland grass
" Potato
" Prickle berry
" Rat weed
" Red spinach
" Rope reed
" Rye
" Strawberry

In savage deserts:

" Whip vine

In good deserts:

" Sun berry

In evil deserts:

" Sliver barb



In savage deserts:


In good deserts:

Feather tree

In evil deserts:



. Baby toes succulent
. Needle grass
. Pebble plant

In good deserts:

O Bubble bulb
. Downy grass

In evil deserts:

O Staring eyeball
Wormy tendril
"Desert" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: zareth
Elvish: avetho
Goblin: slosno
Human: asto
Chasm · Desert · Forest · Glacier · Grassland · Lake · Mountain · Murky pool · Ocean · River · Savanna · Shrubland · Tundra · Wetland
Aquifer · Brook · Deep pit · Island · Magma pool · Passage · Road · Tunnel · Volcano · Waterfall
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