Botanising Israel, an epic adventure of war and wildflowers, part 3

We are lucky that one of Ben’s relatives has an appartment at a Kibbutz next to the dead sea. The kibbutz is called En-Gedi and happens to be the worlds only populated botanic garden. What an amazing place it is too. With water from the nearby spring the Kibbutz has florished into the perfect oasis in the desert, it concentrates on growing plants that need little water and so has collections from Africa, Australia, Desert areas of North and South America and most importantly the spiny dry forests of Madagascar.

The view from the apartment at En Gedi

The view from the apartment at En Gedi

The Kibbutz however was not what we had traveled all the way into the desert to see. It was the unique native flora that makes such a barren place its home and makes the most of the little rain it recieves each year.

and we found it..

First stop En Gedi nature reserve and spring.

on entering the nature reserve you are met by plants of Grewia villosa a very rare small desert tree.

on entering the nature reserve you are met by plants of Grewia villosa a very rare small desert tree.

 

Acacia raddiana

Acacia raddiana

Caparis decidua is another species found at Ein-Gedi.

Caparis decidua is another species found at En-Gedi.

Unfortunately the trees of Caparis and Grewia have to live in cages. they are so rare that they have to be protected from grazing.

Unfortunately the trees of Caparis and Grewia have to live in cages. they are so rare that they have to be protected from grazing.

Rock hyrax (a small cousin of elephants) the main perpetrator of the grazing.

Rock hyrax (a small cousin of elephants) the main perpetrator of the grazing.

Capparis spinosa, another native caper, is however quite common in the desert.

Capparis spinosa, another native caper, is however quite common in the desert.

 

En Gedi spring, bringing life to the desert

En Gedi spring, bringing life to the desert

And in the middle of the desert there were ferns. Adiantum capillus-veneris clothed the sides of the water falls and anywhere that was remotely moist.

And in the middle of the desert there were ferns. Adiantum capillus-veneris clothed the sides of the water falls and anywhere that was remotely moist.

Initially seeming barren and devoid of life the desert is a special place quite the opposite of the initial image. It is full of life and far from barren, you just need to open your eyes a little wider to see it.

to be continued………