Rachel Neiman
March 27, 2014

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is a 30-acre haven of biodiversity in the heart of the new city. Garden highlights include a colorful indoor tropical conservatory, a Plants of the Bible trail, a herb and medicinal plant garden, and an African savannah grass maze. The Gardens run a variety of festivals and activities throughout the year, as well as a kosher lakeside kosher restaurant and a large plant nursery.

To celebrate the flowering season, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens has shared some rare plant photos — only a fraction of the 10,000 species that make up the largest plant collection in Israel.

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Papaver decaisnei
Papaver decaisnei, a rare annual poppy

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Enarthrocarpus arcuatus
Enarthrocarpus arcuatus, a rare annual of the Carmel coast and Acco coast

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Paeonia mascula
The garden’s first Paeonia mascula (peony) to bloom this year

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Romulea columnae+_Moenchia erecta
Left: Romulea columnae. Thousands of this extremely rare plant were rescued from coastal road construction and given to the botanical gardens in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Right: Moenchia erecta, a tiny rare annual from the northern Golan and northern Galilee.

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Eriolobus trilobatus-seedling
Seedlings of Eriolobus trilobatus tree seedlings.

Jerusalem-Botanical-Gardens-endangered_Papaver decaisnei-blooming
Papaver decaisnei poppy in bloom.

According to horticulturalist and scholar Sara Perzley, “Many visitors to the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens have strolled past the beds of rare and endangered plants. What they may not have realized, however, is that the contents of these beds represent only a small fraction of the Gardens’ total collection of rare plants.

“The collection serves as a living gene bank for rare species, and occasionally some of the plants grown in the nursery are given to nature reserves in Israel to bolster or replace populations that have been diminished or lost.

“So far this year, 127 rare species have been sown, spanning the alphabetical gamut from Acinos rotundifolius to Ziziphora tenuior.”

Most endangered Israeli native plants are listed in the Red Data Book: Endangered Plants of Israel, a catalog of the 413 plant species that are most under threat. Published by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, it can be purchased online at http://shop.parks.org.il.

During the Passover vacation, the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens will be open, free-of-charge, April 16-20.4.14; Wednesday and Thursday April 16-17, 10.00-17.00. (Gates close at 16.00); Friday and Sunday April 18 and 20, 10.00-15.00. (Gates close at 14.00). For more information: http://en.botanic.co.il/

Images by Ori Fragman-Sapir – Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

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