Do we need new crops for arid regions? A review of fruit species domestication in Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Climatic changes have created the imminent need for the development of new crops for arid regions. We started to domesticate and introduce wild and exotic fruit trees to our deserts in 1984. We tested different species in five eco zones in Israel, differing from each other in terms of maximum and minimum temperatures, type and degrees of salinities, water evaporation rates, rainfall, etc. We succeeded in cultivating pitaya species using hybrids from the Hylocereus and Selenicereus genera, and with a different species from the Cactaeae Cereus peruvianus, which we named Koubo. These two species are from the Cactaceae family, known for high water use efficiencies (WUE). We already have investors who started the semi-commercial production of Marula, Sclerocarya birrea sbsp. Caffra, and Argan—Argania spinosa. In spite of the fact that we developed good clones and knowledge of how to grow and ship White Sapote, Casimiroa edulis, and Indian jujube, Ziziphus mauritiana, we failed due to a lack of marketing research and development, which is essential for such a project. We have gene banks of some other new fruit crops waiting for investors to grow and bring them into the domestic and world markets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1995
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Domestication
  • Drought
  • Genetics
  • Heat
  • Physiology
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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