January 2016

Why are there no seeds in the syconium of the Sycamore in the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, resulting in its reproduction being dependent on man?

Dan Eisikowitz, Department of  Molecular Biology and Plant Ecology, Tel-Aviv University. dane@tauex.tau.ac.il

Keywords:  Ficus sycomorus, Ceratosolen arabicus, symbiosis, gall, Ficus

Sycamore trees (Ficus sycomorus)  in Israel and the Mediterranean Basin do not create seeds in syconiums, and they consequently reproduce only through cuttings planted by man. The symbiotic  Sycophaga sycomori wasp resides in the syconiums of the Sycamore, which it penetrates, creating galls in the female flowers, without pollination. The structure of the syconium, and the life stages of the syconium and the wasp are described in the article, which explains the phenomenon. In Africa the Ceratosolen arabicus wasp lives in cooperation with the syconium of the Sycamore, pollinating the flowers which leads to the creation of seeds.  This wasp does not reside in Israel and the Mediterranean Basin countries.

Dried wild plants in souvenir albums, as representatives of the Holy Land

Ami Zehavi  zehavim@netvision.net.il

Keywords: Dinsmore, Jerusalem, souvenirs, dried flowers, Israeli plants, folklore, plants in the sources

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century,  albums of dried flowers constituted an important part of the variety of souvenirs offered tourists and pilgrims, who came tothe Holy Land. Most of souvenir albums are characterized by attractive "flower arrangements"  made up of the leaves and petals of various plants. The location where the flowers grow is emphasized in these albums, but there is no mention of the identity of the plants.  However, among the creators of the albums, who specialized in the pasting of dried flowers, several are prominent, in that in their albums the emphasis is on the plants, and especially those mentioned in the scriptures: the Old Testament and the New Testament. In these albums every page is devoted to a single plant, and includes its scientific and common English name, as well as a quote that connects it to the past.

Summary of the Kalanit Study Tour in the Northern and Eastern Negev 20 & 21 January, 2016

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

Keywords:  Beersheba, Hatira Crater, Zygophyllaceae, desert, Negev, Cocculus pendulus, Chenopodiaceae, Colchicum ritchii,  

The study tour focused on the crater areas, and the eastern Negev Wadi channels, but we opened out tour by observing the flowering of the Egyptian Autumn Crocus (Colchicum ritchi) in the Beersheba area, which was at its peak. The winter rains in the Negev came early this season, beginning in October, and were characterized by a patchy and local model.  Already now, at the peak of the winter, patches of flowering appeared in locations that enjoyed a lavish supply of water, whether directly from the rain, or from the runoff  flow.  In contrast to the northern Negev mountains and The Avdat plateau, which also enjoyed a good deal of rain, the cold delays the beginning of the flowering there, while in the warmer areas of the eastern Negev, the Arava and the distant Negev – the blooming is not delayed by the cold, and the patches of flowering appear earlier.  The various stations during the study tour enabled us to learn about the basic principles of the desert flora and vegetation, and to get to know the main key species, many of which were in bloom.

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