May 2017

The crown of thistles and flower wreath in Christ's life: flowers and plants in Christian tradition and art – from the Lily to the Rose of Jericho

Uzi Paz pazuzi@bezeqint.net

Keywords: Iris, Aquilegia, Silybum marianum, Rosa (rose),  Veronica, Olea (olive), Bellis, Ceratonia (carob), Cercis siliquastrum, Anemone, Salvia fruticosa, Galtonia, Christianity, Orchis sancta, Cyclamen, Lilium candidum, Anastatica hierochuntica, Ziziphus spina-christi, Ficus sycomorus (Sycamore), Ficus carica (fig), Phoenix dactylifera (date)

Very few plants are mentioned in the New Testament: Lilies of the field, a grain of mustard, the sycamore tree, the fig tree, palm fronds and Hemlock (Conium maculatum).  However, in the folklore, in legends and in numerous works of art, many plants that are connected to the life of Christ are present and shaped  – from the annunciation of his birth until his resurrection after the crucifixion. In many of these plants are hidden names such as Christy, Maria, sanctus etc. We shall try to follow and identify them, and comprehend their connection to events mentioned in the New Testament.

Full Hebrew version


Summary of Kalanit study tour to Mt. Hermon on 10 & 11 May, 2017

Avi Shmida,  the Department of Evolution, Systematics and Behavior, the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Givat Ram, and the Land of Israel Studies at the Kinneret College. avi.shmida@gmail.com
Gadi Pollak – Kalanit editorial board.  gadpollak@gmail.com

Keywords: Quercus boissieri, Quercus look, Arrhenatherum elatius, Sorbus torminalis, Berberis, sinkhole, rockfalls, Mt. Lebanon, Eastern Mediterranean mountains, deciduous Rosaceae, vegetation belts in the mountains, mountainous transition belt forest, Crataegus, Eremurus libanoticus, Hermon vegetation, tragacanth vegetation, snow on Mt. Hermon

The study tour concentrated on the higher altitude belts of Mt. Hermon vegetation, above 1300 m. Two stations were devoted o the mountainous transition belt forest: one at an altitude of 1300 m, in the area of the of the sinkhole that is affected by cattle grazing, and the second on a steep western slope, at a height of 1600 m, where a relatively advanced forest of deciduous trees has developed.  A third stations was on a windy rockfall on the tragacanth belt at an altitude of over 2000 m. Special attention was devoted to the following species: the Sinai Hawthron (Crataegus sinaica), the Mountain Rye (Secale montanum), the Bulbous Oat Grass  (Arrhenatherum kotschyi), the Aleppo Oak (Quercus boissieri), the Mount Hermon Oak (Quercus look), the Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis), the Gum Tragacanth Milkvetch (Astragalus gummifer), the Lebanon Barberry (Berberis cretica) and the Lebanon Desert Candle (Eermurus libanoticus).

Full Hebrew version


The pollination of the Beach Evening Primrose by Cockroaches

Oz Golan – Afeka – Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering, and Kalanit circle  golanoz.me@gmail.com
Avi Shmida,  the Department of Evolution, Systematics and Behavior, the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Givat Ram, and the Land of Israel Studies at the Kinneret College. avi.shmida@gmail.com
Danny Simon, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel-Aviv University.  dysimon@post.tau.ac.il

Keywords:  feeding on pollen, pollination, seashore,  Oenothera, nocturnal insects, moth flowers, alien plants, night-flowering plants, coevolution, Blattoidea (insects),  Tel-Aviv

We are reporting, for the first time, regular visits by the Blattella biligatatoto cockroach to the Beach Evening Primrose (Oenothera drummondii) flowers, which apparently also result in pollination. The species of the genus Oenothera are known  to be adapted to pollination by moths and insects with very long feeding tubes (proboscises), which enable the sucking of nectar. The pollen grains in Oenothera are joined together by strings of sticky glue that adheres well to the moth's proboscis and head scales.  The stickiness of the pollen grains prevents most insects that visit the flowers to gather the pollen as food.  Therefore, it was a great surprise when it was discovered that this type of cockroach visits the  Oenothera flowers in droves, and feeds there particularly from the flowers' pollen, but also to a limited extent from their nectar.  The reporting in the literature of the pollination of flowers by cockroaches is extremely rare, and is limited to tropical regions in the  case of flowers that grow close to the ground.  The evolutionary significance of the reciprocal relations between the cockroach and the Oenothera flowers is discussed.

Full Hebrew version

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