Geophytes of the negev as a genetic source for ornamental garden plants, cut flowers and pot plants

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Abstract

Of the 250 species of geophytes found in Israel more than 95 have been found in the Negev Desert highlands and other arid zones. They belong to 34 genera and are divided into 10 families. The Negev highlands and other arid and desert areas, are covered by low shrubs. This area, with unpredictable amounts and distribution of rain, is a suitable habitat for the many geophyte species that are common among the life forms of plants occuring in this area and which have a short growth season. Many of these plants have the potential to be used as cut flowers and ornamental garden and pot plants. In many species, such as Tulipa systola and Colchicum ritchii, there is a great diversity of individuals that flower at different times, produce different shaped leaves and flowers, and different flower colours. The suitable genetic lines of these species could be developed for use as flowering pot plants. In one large population of 7m petrana (the Yerucham Iris) more than 15 flower colours have been observed, ranging from white, to yellow, to brown, to blue and almost black, with all the shades between. In this population, flowering of different clusters of plants occurs at different times. Because of the height of the stems, and large beautiful flowers of these plants, they could be developed for use as ornamental garden plants. Other potential garden plants include Asphodeline lutea, Muscari commutation, Pancratium sickenbegeri, and many others. Amongst the plants that could be developed for the cut flower market are: Narcissus tazetta from a population near Sede Boker, with its large beautiful flowers, long stems and pleasant perfume, the desert ecotype of Anemone coronaria, as well as Ixiolirion tataricum and Ornithogalum narbonense and many others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActa Horticulturae
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Pages783-793
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9789066058194
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1997

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
Volume430
ISSN (Print)0567-7572

Keywords

  • Desert scrubland
  • Genetic lines
  • Leaf/flower phenology
  • Species distribution

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