| Flora study
Phytoecology analysis of Wadi Gaza
March 2002, by Web Team
Floristic Exploration in Palestine has a long history. Many botanists have contributed to the knowledge of the local flora, mainly in the course of the last hundred years. Research by scholars resident in this country began early in the current century.
The first of them was A. Aaronsohn who, among other botanical activities, collected extensively both in Palestine and in the adjacent countries. His collections were revised and published by H. R. Oppenheimer in 1931 and H. R. Oppenheimer and M. Evenari in 1941.
J. E Dinsmore, American by birth and a resident of Jerusalem, was another pioneer in the research of the local flora. He published the Jerusalem Catalogue of Palestine plants in 1912 and later (1932-1933) revised Post’s Flora of Syria, Palestine and Sinai.
In the early twenties, A. Eig and E.Faktorovsky began their floristic studies, which were continued in the Institute of Natural History headed by O. Warburg.
Since the foundation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, four decades ago, floristic investigations have been undertaken by the staff of its Botany Department, and extensive plant collections from Palestine and from neighboring countries have been brought together in the herbarium of the University. A Eig, an outstanding taxonomist and phytogeographer, who devoted himself to the study of the local flora until his untimely death in 1938, published, together with the present authors, the Analytical Key to the Plants of Palestine (1931, Hebrew) which was the basis for the Analytical Flora of Palestine (1948, Hebrew) as quoted by Zohary (1966) (Flora Palaestina by Zohary and Feinbrun-Dothan (1966 and 1977) is the first Flora confined to Palestine, that is, to Cis- and Transjordan, comprising Israel, Jordan and the Gaza Strip. It includes many species and varieties newly described, recorded for the first time or renamed since the publication of the second edition of Post’s Flora (1932-1933). Certain groups have been reexamined.
The flora treats about 2,400 species and consists of four parts, each comprising one volume of text and one volume of plates.
Parts One and Two, written by Micheal Zohary, include the families of the Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Apetalae and Dialypetalae.
Parts Three and Four, written by Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan, include the families of the Sympetalae and the Monocotyledoneae.
Present knowledge of the flora and vegetation in Gaza strip is scarce and fragmentary. It is noteworthy to mention that the first account of the flora in Gaza Strip is that of Boulos (1959).
The Gaza coastal zone has been inhabited since Paleolithic times and possibly before.
The flora of the southern levant is a result of the complex biogeographical processes and history of the region.
Vascular plants in the Gaza Strip mainly belong to the Saharo-Arabian, Mediterranean, and Irano- Turanian phytogeographic regions.
The highest concentration of endemic plants can be found in the coastal zone on sandy soils (17 species).
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