Kalanit – October 2015

Israel Plant Magazine
October 2015

The autumn blooming geophytes in Israel, and the autumn pollination market

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

Keywords: Scilla, bulb, Sternbergia, Urginea, Crocus, harbingers of rain,  harbingers of winter, Colchicum,  tuber, penology, blooming, pollination

In Israel in the autumn there are 72 plant species that are at the peak of their blooming. Half of them are geophytes. The water and storage substances that are stored in the storage organs of the geophytes, enable their autumn blooming even when the soil is completely dry. This raises the question: what is the logic in autumn blooming, when there are hardly any available insects for pollination? Why do impressive and attractive flowers and inflorescences develop when the "target audience" for the impressive display barely exists?  The impressive  blooming of the autumn blooming geophytes occurs under conditions of a "shrunken pollination market" and is demonstrated in the Colchicum species.

Full Hebrew version

Valerianella pumila – a new plant for Israel from the northern Negev

Dror Melamed, nivnav@12.net.il
Ori Fragman-Sapir, the University Botanical Garden, Jerusalem, ofragman@013.net

Keywords: heterocarpy, Mt. Hermon, Mo'av, rarity, monitoring, synaptospermy, Hebrew University herbarium, polymorphism,  synonym, news and reality, distribution of plants in Israel

Valerianella pumila appears in Flora Palaestina (Feinbrun-Dothan, 1986) as a rare plant from Mo'av. In the handbook for Mt. Hermon plants (Shmida, 1981), and in the Analytical flora of Eretz-Israel by Feinbrun-Dothan and Danin (1991), it is mentioned also as a Hermon plant. In February 2015 a single sample of this species was found and collected by the first author in the Grar Wadi Park in the northern Negev. During a repeat visit another two samples were found at a distance of several dozens of meters from the location where the first sample was found. This is the first time that the finding of this species was reported outside Mt. Hermon.  The article offers a detailed description of the species, and a discussion of its status in the genus Valerianella.

Full Hebrew version

Summary of the Kalanit study tour in the Negev 14-15.10.2015

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

Keywords: reverse blooming, Negev Highlands, Shunra sand dunes, autumn bloomers, plants in Israel

The autumn season in the Negev is the driest. The days are hot and dry, most of the plants bear a grey, withered appearance, with blackening leaves, and only in the wadi channels can one find a few plants with a "trickle" of blooming.  Nevertheless, in this season four species of geophytes bloom with large and colorful flowers. These are the Desert Daffodil (Pancratium sickenbergeri), the Tunicated Autumn Crocus (Colchicum tunicatum), Crocus damascenus, and the Large Sternbergia  (Sternbergia clusiana).  A perennial herb that is still in bloom is the Two-whorled Giant-fennel (Ferula biverticallata).  Despite the general dry appearance, several shrublets are at the peak of the blooming, or at its start: Deverra tortuosa, the Sharp Varthemia (Chiliadenus iphionoides), and the White Wormwood (Artemisia sieberi). We also observed secondary blooming of the False Gypsophila  (Ankyropetalum gypsophiloides) and the Desert Oregano (Origanum dayi). Among the desert Chenopodiaceae, the Jointed Anabasis (Anabasis articulata) was at the peak of its blooming, and other Chenopodiaceae are showing off their winged fruit: species of Haloxylon, Salsola, Noaea, and Agathophora.  in the course of the study tour we learnt about these plants and their habitats.

Full Hebrew version

Dimorphism in pollen grains and stigmas of the Wavyleaf Sea-lavender flowers, and its manifestations in the pollination mechanism

Avner Cohen, The Institute for Plant Sciences, the Agricultural Research Organization, the Volcani Center. vhacohen@agri.gov.il
Ada Harazy, Plant Sciences, the Agricultural Faculty, Rehovot. adah@savion.huji.ac.il
Haim Rabinowitch, Plant Sciences, the Agricultural Faculty, Rehovot. Haim.rabinowitch@mail.huji.ac.il

Keywords: incompatibility, apomixis,  pollen grains, dimorphism,  distyly. self-pollination cross pollination, heterostyly,  tristyly, Plumbaginaceae, stigma, vernalization

In the case of the Wavyleaf Sea-Lavender (Limonium sinuatum), like most of the species of Limonium, there is dimorphism among different samples in the exine structure of the pollination grains, and the papillae of the stigma lobes. This structure causes self-incompatibility during pollination, and the success of fertilization from outside pollination only. An intermediate form of pollen combinations has been found, as well as a mixed type of the stigma form, which enables the creation of seeds also from self-pollination, and also in hybridization with plants of different morphological types.  This form may have an evolutionary advantage under unique conditions. Contrary to most species in the Plumbaginaceae family, in most species of the Limonium there is no heterostyly (a difference in the height of the stamens and pistils among different flower types) and the difference between the flower types manifests itself only in different types of pollen grains, and the different type of the papillae on the stigma.

Full Hebrew version

The phytoestrogens in the Subterranean Clover (Trifolium subterraneum)

Tzvia Shapira, a botanist who specializes in the chemistry of medicinal plants. tzviashap@gmail.com

Keywords: clover disease, isoflavonoides, animal estrogen, geocarpy, chemical protection, natural substances, secondary metabolites, phytoestrogens, plants of Israel,  legumens

At the Kalanit study tour in the Upper Galilee in the spring of 2015, we found the species Trifolium subterraneum from the Fabaceae family. This is an annual species, whose fruit is actively buried by the mother plant in the soil. The Subterranean Clover was the plant that caused the "Clover disease" in Australia during the 1940s. This disease in sheep flocks and cow herds caused an economic catastrophe.  The reason was a high concentration of  phytoestrogens in this species. Since then massive research has been conducted to the contribution of these secondary metabolites to the chemical protection they provide plants.  This article deals with this sphere of knowledge, and the possibility of using plant phytoestrogens  for the treatment of various diseases.

Full Hebrew version

The Kurkar hill in Kidron – its botanical value and the importance of its preservation

Gadi Pollak, Kalanit editorial, gadpollak@gmail.com
Ofer Hochberg, landscape rehabilitation with Israeli plants  ofer_h@gbrener.org.il

Keywords: Eucalyptus, batha, Gedera, forest, southern Coastal Plain, Soreq stream, plants of Israel, Rehovot, garigue, understorey, sites of botanical interest, introduced plants, invaders, nature conservation

On a kurkar (sandy limestone) hill planted with Eucalyptus camaldulensis, in the heart of moshav Kidron in the southern Coastal Plain, a natural Mediterranean garigue and batha vegetation has survived, which is rich in various species of wild plants. The hill is isolated from other kurkar sites of natural vegetation in the region. Few species that are typical of the sandy habitats of the Coastal Plain grow there, and its flora resembles that of the of the Judean hills. Despite its being an area that underwent interference, and is surrounded by agricultural areas and gardens, only a few man-accompanying and invading species have penetrated it. The botanical value of the hill is discussed in the article.  The article concludes that it is advisable to conserve the natural vegetation of the hill, and to combine with the conservation the development of recreational and study activities for the benefit of the local community, and the general public.

Full Hebrew version

The genus Sternbergia in Israel and the world – systematics, biogeography, and ecology

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
Ori Fragman-Sapir, The Jerusalem Botanical Garden,  ofragman@013.net

Keywords: geophytes, autumn pollination, reverse blooming, dissemination by ants, harbingers of rain, Amaryllidaceae, aril, autumn bloomers, Mediterranean flora

The Sternbergia, the flower that decorates the country's landscape in autumn, excites us every year anew. Much has been written about the Large Sternbergia (Sternbergia clusiana) in Israel, its distribution, its pollination and the conservation of its populations as unique nature values. In this article we wish to leave the boundaries of the country, and familiarize ourselves with the genus Sternbergia as a whole, from Spain to Central Asia, and to understand its connections with the genera that are close to it, as well as evolutionary processes that occurred among the species of Sternbergia.

Full Hebrew version

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