The days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting milder – this is a wonderful time to tour the garden, see the seasons change and enjoy the autumn flowers.
At the path that goes up above the restaurant, you can find the spectacular flowers of the Rhodophiala bifida – a geophyte of the Amaryllidaceae family that originates in South America. This is a water-saving plant that can grow in a variety of weather conditions and blooms in a time when most flowers are not blooming. All this makes it an excellent plant for gardening.
It’s always a good idea to pass next to the meadow in the South-Africa section and see what is blooming there. Nowadays we can find Tulbaghia violacea, Eucomis autumnalis (Pineapple Lily) and Strelitzia reginae (the Bird-Of-Paradise)
A shrub that blooms throughout the year in the South-Africa section is Polygala myrtifolia. It has unique and beautiful butterfly-like flowers. In Israel you can find 2 other species of Polygala – Polygala monspeliaca, a tiny herbaceous flower from the central and northern mountains, and Polygala negevensis, a rare and beautiful shrublet from the mountains in the south of the Negev.
Going from South Africa section towards North America section, in the upper trail we’ll meet a cluster of Wild African Olive – Olea africana. The Wild African Olive is an evergreen tree, durable in a variety of conditions. It has many similarities to the European Olive – Olea europaea, and sometimes considered as a subspecies of the European Olive. It has smaller fruit that are eaten in the wild by monkeys, wild boar and birds.
Keeping on along the trail, we’ll reach the California subsection in North America section, where the Canyon Oak – Quercus chrysolepis. This Oak succeeds in growing in rock cracks in the North American deserts, where surface runoff water accumulates.
In our Botanical Garden, the late Dr. Michael Avishai, who was the garden’s Head Scientist saw that although there was only one Canyon Oak in the garden – it grew fruit, it has acorns! He started following this phenomenon, and saw that different oak species can hybridize – mostly species of the same section, but cross-section hybridization can also occur.
In several locations of the Mediterranean section you can find Cyclamen hederifolium already blooming. This is an autumnal flower that usually blooms without leaves. The leaves – that are shaped like ivy leaves – will sprout after the rain. This Cyclamen can be identified by the white “teeth” it has in the dark pink part of the petals. Near the Cyclamen you can see a bee called Amegilla – this is a wild bee that can be found in the garden and in nature around this time of the year.
In the Mediterranean section you can see several trees laden with small red fruit. These are Red Hawthorn trees – Crataegus azarolus. This Mediterranean tree grows in moist maquis, usually in elevations above 800m. The red fruit have flourish texture and less sweet, but they too are eaten by birds.
Near the garden’s offices, in the garden-bed that surrounds the classroom Dianthus pendulus has started to bloom. This is a local shrublet, that grows on cliffs and blooms in the Autumn. In Israel it is rare, but not endangered.
The Topical Greenhouse is now open, after the massive renovations. Now you can register for touring the greenhouse, and see thermophilic plants that cannot survive the winter in Jerusalem. Today we’re looking at a very special plant growing in the tropical section: Pavonia cauliflora. This is a shrub that originates in Brazil, and its flowers grow directly on the trunk. Each flower has big red sepals, while the flower itself is small and white in the middle of the sepals.
At the “Plants of the month” tables near the offices you can find these days our star – the Colchicum feinbruniae. This Colchicum originates in the Golan Heights, and has a delicate cubic pattern on the petals. The latin name, feinbruniae, commemorates Professor Naomi Feinbrun, who was one of the first Botanists in Israel, a world-renowned expert for the Cyclamen genus. Prof. Feinbrun received the Israel Prize in 1995, when she was 95 years old.
Other plants currently blooming in the Plant-Of-The-Month corner and in the Geophyte Terrace are Biarum species. The Biarum genus is closely related to the Arum genus, but flowers in the autumn. One of the most beautiful and special species in the genus is our plant of the month – Biarum auraniticum.
Another plant that should be starting to bloom in the up-coming days is Colchicum hierosolymitanum –Jerusalem Colchicum. Look for it in the Mediterranean section of the garden and in the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem, and if you find it – tell us on our facebook page! A year ago, Jerusalem Colchicum was our plant of the month.
We invite you to tour the garden, see it waking up for the winter – and we hope to have a good winter, blessed with rain and flowers!