Domestication of plants for sustainable agriculture in drylands: Experience from the Negev Desert

Oren Shelef, Ofer Guy, Elaine Solowey, Michael Kam, A. Allan Degen, Shimon Rachmilevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


With globalization in the last century, introduction of exotic plant species for commercial use has become more accessible. Such attempts may involve extreme land changes. We stress that domestication of native species should be preferred to the introduction of exotic species. We took the initial steps in domesticating several species by examining commercial uses and studying aspects of plant physiology. The following desert plants were considered: Bassia indica, for salt phytoremediation and for livestock feed; Commiphora gileadensis, as an agent against cancer cells; Artemisia sieberi and A. judaica, as plants with allopathic traits; Ficus palmate, as a stand for fig plantation; Balanites aegyptiaca, as a medicinal plant and for other uses; Portulaca oleracea and Scorzonera judaica, as food crops with added values; and Pistacia atlantica, as rootstock for P. vera.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalArid Land Research and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2016


  • Artemisia
  • Balanites aegyptiaca
  • Bassia indica
  • Commiphora gileadensis
  • Ficus palmate
  • Pistacia atlantica
  • Portulaca oleracea
  • Scorzonera judaica
  • plant domestication
  • sustainable agriculture


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