October 2017

Brachiaria subquadripara – a new alien species in Israel

Dror Melamed nivnav@012.net.il 
Yoel Melamed yomelamed@gmail.com

Keywords: Poaceae, Panicum, Urochloa, invasive species, alien species

In November 2016 a weed that is not one of the recognized flora of Israel was found on a traffic island near the coast in Tel-Aviv. The plant was defined as Brachiaria subquadripara, an annual Poaceae (grass), which apparently originated in tropical Africa. The article describes the plant and discusses the taxonomy of the genus Brachiaria, with emphasis on the species that are found in Israel.

Full Hebrew version

Coloration and morphology in plants as a defense against being consumed by animals – about  the book of Simcha Lev-Yadun

Gadi Pollak – Kalanit editorial board.  gadpollak@gmail.com

Keywords: aposematic, color patterns, camouflage, imitation, mimicry, signal, warning colors, autumn colors, thorns. spines, prickles

Simcha Lev-Yadun's new book – Defensive (anti-herbivory) Coloration (2016) – presents a new and original approach to explaining manifestations of coloration and shape in plants – of the sort that appear in all the aboveground parts of the plant, that are not necessarily connected to attracting pollinators to flowers, and the distribution of fruit and seeds. Plants are constantly exposed to consumption pressures, in the confrontation of which many characteristics that provide durability at various levels, were sorted out. Color  and shape characteristics in a plant (in all its parts, and not only the reproduction organs) are explained in the book as a means for warding off preying dangers, by means of evasion and even active deterrence, using a variety of means such as camouflage, mimicry and warning. The book opens up a window to a fascinating research sphere, which is in its first stages of formation.
Lev-Yadun, S. 2016,  Defensive (anti-herbivory) Coloration in Land Plants, Springer International Publishing AG,  Basel, Switzerland. 385 pp.

Full Hebrew version

Summary  of Kalanit study tour in the Negev Highlands, 26 October 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. avi.shmida@gmail.com
Gadi Pollak – Kalanit editorial board.  gadpollak@gmail.com

Keywords:  Pictacia atlantica, Bufonia ramonensis, Yeruham Stembergias, Stembergia clusiana, Crocus damascenus, Arud Pass, Amaranthaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Nahal Shkedim, Colchicum tunicatum, autum flowering, Negev Highlands vegetation, rock plants, endemic plants in the Negev Highlands, relict plants, Amygdalus ramonensis

The vegetative landscape in the Negev Highlands in autumn is a steppe of grey-to-black shrubs and shrublets that have shed most of their foliage. The dry winter of 2016/17 and the hot summer that followed, left their marks on the poor flowering, and among the autumn flowering shrublets only the Common Varthemia (Chiliadenus iphonoides) was in full bloom. The Large Strenbergia (Stembergia clusiana) started to bloom in the Strenbergia site in Yeruham, and among the other geophytes a large population of the Tunicated Autumn  Crocus (Colchicum tunicatum), at the end of its flowering,  was observed in Mishor HaRuhot.  Individual flowering items of the Damascus Crocus  (Crocus damascenus) and Scilla hanburyi were observed as well.
The vegetation and flora of the Upper Negev Highlands were studied along the wadi of Nahal Shkedim, where several Mount Atlas Mastic Trees (Pictacia atlantica) and Ramon Almonds (Amagdalus ramonensis), Bladder Senna (Colutea istria), and Palestine Buckthorn (Rhamnus lycioides) shrubs grow.  A few plants of  the Ramon Bufonia (Bufonia ramonensis) – a rare, endemic, endangered species that is unique to the Negev Highlands – were found on rock surfaces in their only site in Israel.

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