Our desert plot continues to grow and many species have been added to it in the past two months. About ten species of desert plants have been planted in the center of the plot, some of them now thriving for the first time after many previous failed efforts to grow them. In addition to the difficulty of germinating desert plants, it is also very difficult to maintain them under the climate conditions of Tel Aviv, due to the heavy rainfall and low winter temperatures compared to their natural habitat in some cases.
About a year ago, following a serious flood in the Eilat mountain area, seeds of several desert plants were collected: the Launaea spinose desert dwarf shrub from the Compositae (Asteraceae) family, which is common in extremely hot desert areas in Israel, mostly around Eilat; the common Reaumuria (Reaumuria hirtella) from the Tamaricaceae family that, like other family members, possesses salt secretion glands that secrete excess salt and thereby eliminate the competitors attempting to germinate around it; the bitter apple (Citrullus colocynthis), from the Cucurbitaceae family, a wild relative of the domesticated watermelon, and a toxic plant used in folk medicine among Israeli Arabs. Its tough spherical fruits were dispersed by floods. The seeds that were collected after the flood germinated easily and at high percentages in comparison to the previous, mostly failed, attempts. The young seedlings of these species and others have now been planted in our desert plot and we are following their development.

desert plants