As a research center the Botanical Garden is involved in diverse studies of the plant world, such as various aspects of agriculture, climate change, the evolution of flowers, plant-animal interactions etc... The research grounds are located along the eastern border of the garden, above the Ayalon Highway. Additional research facilities are located in the office building and the botanical exhibitions are also used for research. Two of the interesting studies on crop plants that are currently being conducted in the research plots are described here.    

The effect of endophytic fungi on wheat, conducted by Prof. Amir Sharon (Institute for Cereal Crop Improvement)
 Plants contain microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. Some of these microorganisms (called endophytes) have various effects on plant development. In the framework of this study a variety of endophytic fungi in wild cereals have been isolated and identified. From the variety of species identified, two were chosen and transferred into wheat plants. Nursery experiments revealed that the endophytic fungi had a positive effect on the plants' resistance to drought and salinity stress. The aim of these experiments in the Botanical Garden was to examine the effect of the two endophyte species on the development of the wheat plant in its vegetative and reproductive states, under field conditions.

 The effect of sowing date and nutrient level on the growth of Eragrostis tef, conducted by Metiku Teshla (supervisor of the succulent collection) 
The cereal Eragrostis tef is a major component in the everyday diet of people of Ethiopian origin in Israel. Despite the tiny size of its seeds, they are rich in calcium and protein and lack gluten. So far, attempts at the commercial growth of Tef in Israel have been unsuccessful, even though it grows spontaneously and is widespread in Israel. The aim of the study conducted in the Botanical Garden was to examine the effect of sowing date and type of soil on the growth and yield of Tef.

Tef seedlings that had germinated at the beginning of March 2016 can now be seen in the research plots. The study began about three years ago, but unfortunately the first crop was destroyed by jackals just a few days before its planned harvest. The Tef field is apparently a favorite wallowing ground of the jackal population that visits the garden at night. The Tef plot is now fenced and protected from unwanted visitors and the results so far suggest that the yield is affected by sowing date.

Photo: Gavri Sion

Tef experiment, Photo: Gavri Sion

Photo: Gavri Sion

Tef plots, Photo: Gavri Sion