The wetland section of the Israeli flora collection is in bloom and thriving!

The wetlands in Israel constitute a unique habitat due to the availability of water almost year-round, making it possible for plants to flower even during the hot and arid season when most other plants wilt.
Many wetland plants in Israel have become endangered due to over-exploitation, pollution, and destruction of their habitats. The Tel-Aviv University Botanical Garden is working to conserve populations of several wetland plant species and return them to the habitats from which they have disappeared.

This year we were asked by the Israeli plant gene bank to collect seeds of water plants, in order to study different methods of preservation. The gene bank activity focuses on the collection and preservation of populations of wild plant species with agricultural or economic potential, as well as on rare or endangered plant species.

The photos shows the fruit of Nuphar lutea (yellow water-lily), covered with a special bag made of fine mesh. N. lutea is a submerged water plant, found in the Nuphar lutea pond ("Brikhat Ha'Nupharim") at the Yarkon river source. Similarly to other water plants N. lutea blooms above the water surface, but its fruits ripen under the water. Seed dispersal occurs after the fruit disconnects from the mother plant, floats, cracks open, and spreads its seeds across the water surface. The mesh bags covering the fruits will prevent seed dispersal, without disturbing the ripening process.

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