May 2018

About the forests of the Mount Tabor Oak in Ramat Menashe and the Shraon Plain

Uzi Paz,

Keywords: P.E.F. (Palestine Exploration Fund), Pistacia atlantica, acorn, park forest, felling of trees, Styrax officinalis, charcoal

The tree vegetation in the country suffered badly in the course of the long history of the country. Nevertheless, several forests remained in the country until the mid 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. These were forests of the Mount Tabor Oak (Quercus ithaburensis) that remained in three locations. The article focuses on two of them: in Ramat Menashe and the Sharon Plain. The dramatic increase that occurred in the middle of the 19th century in the size of the population in the country, the growing need for heating material, and above all the need for charcoal and sleepers for the Turkish railways   during the First World War, led to the destruction of these forests as well.  These forests are mentioned in the writings of several travelers.  In the 1990s 35 old-timers living in the villages of Ramat Menashe were questioned about the image of the area during Turkish times, and the early years of the British Mandate. Contrary to common notions, the center of Ramat Menashe was apparently not wooded in those days.

Full Hebrew version

Trends in the floristic composition along the Gilboa-Beit She'an Valley gradient

Shauli Aviel, Kibbutz Sdeh Eliahu, and the Kalanit Circle, 
Eitan Shapira, Kibbutz Ein Hanatziv, and the Kalanit Circle,
Gadi Pollak, the Kalanit editorial,

Keywords: Irano-Turanian, phytogeographic, Mediterranean, ecological gardient, Sørensen Coefficient, Saharo-Arabian, species richness, transition belt vegetation, rock plants, flora of disturbed habitats

The floristic composition of the plant communities in sites without grazing, varies greatly along the geographic gradient from the peak of the eastern Gilboa to the Beit She'an Valley. the gradient is characterized by an altitude fall of 750 m, a fall in the quantity of rain, and a rise in temperatures. On the basis of the phytogeographic distribution of the species it was found that despite the variability in the environmental conditions, all the sites along the rift are on the dry margins of the Mediterranean vegetation region. Most of the species are Mediterranean, and the rate of steppe and desert species along the rift's stations is meager. The richness of species falls with the fall in altitude. The presence of rocks, the depth of the soil and the proximity of cultivated areas affect the makeup of the life forms, and the number of species that belong to distinct ecological groups, such as rock plants and weeds.

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The history of botanical illustrating and the question of its validity in the era of photography

Uri Roseberg,

Keywords: botanical illustration, line illustrations, plant photography

This article reviews the history of botanical illustrating, which developed side by side with the development of the drawing and printing technologies, and in parallel with art trends. The contribution of the botanical illustration to the botanical science is described, and the question of its validity in the era of photography is raised. Several of the great botanical illustrators, who left their mark on this sphere, which constitutes a point of overlapping between science and art,  are mentioned. An additional article will be devoted to the history of botanical illustration in Israel, and the artists, who contributed to the creation of the Flora Palaestina, generations of plant guides and popular books.

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Summary of Kalanit study tour to the Hermon May 16. and May 17, 2018

Avi Shmida,  Department of Ecology and Evolution and the Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Givat Ram.
Mimi Ron, Deshe Institute, Nature Museum, Tel_Aviv University and Kalanit circle,
Editing: Gadi Pollak Kalanit editorial

Keywords: Geum urbanum, Graminae, sugar dolomite, sinkholes, Rosaceae,  Orthrosanthus heterocarpus, taraganthic belt, vegetation belts, maquis, Mt Hermon, yellow terra-rosa, Johrenia dichotoma, mountainous transition belt forest, Ar'ar stream, Viola pentadactyla, annual vegetation, annual plants, Astragalus gummifer

Thanks to the abundance of Graminae, the Hermon was green during the days of the study tours, which focused on study stations along a course in the mountainous forest belt, and study stations on the lower border of this belt. The result of the heat and dryness in the course of most of April 2018 resulted in the relative paucity of flowering. Nevertheless, the study tour was rich in discoveries and findings, of which we sould note Onosma roussaei, which is new to the Hermon and Israel, the discovery of the Eastern Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum caprinum), for the first time on the Hermon by Nogen Tsabari, and the extension of the distribution of the Clustered Clover (trifolium glomeratum), Allium davisianum, and the Oriental Knavel (Scripoides orientalis) to the Hermon as well. The summary discusses the general characteristics of the vegetation studied in the course of the tour, while emphasizing the species unique to the Hermon, and new species. There is also a discussion of the subject of the Hebrew names of plants, which have undergone changes since first being published. To sum up, two additional reports were added: one about the uses of the Quercus boissieri galls, and the second about several animals that were observed in the course of the study tour.

Full Hebrew version

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