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Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is the largest plant collection in Israel and the Middle East, spanning 45 acres.

The Gardens has plants from around the world, and display more than 6,000 species.

Their collection features 2,700 native species in Israel, including 400 or so are in danger of extinction.

It act as a living gene-bank to protect endangered plants in Israel and abroad, and educate about them.

Jerusalem‘s climate allows for the cultivation of plants from a wide range of habitats and climates.

The the gardens feature six section: Southern Africa, Europe, North America, Australia, South-West and Central Asia, and the Mediterranean.

The sections simulate the landscapes of these areas and so there is always something blooming at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

During the summer and holidays, the botanical gardens hosts festivals with workshops and activities. During the winter they host special weekend activities for families.

In 1926 land purchased on Mount Scopus with plans for the first botanical garden in the Land of Israel, today known as the National Botanic Garden of Israel.

The plans were based on the flora of the Land of Israel from Mount Lebanon to the desert.

Planting began in 1931 under the direction of the chairman of the Hebrew University Botany Department at the time.

These gardens were also the first home of the Biblical Zoo.

Access to the campus was cut off during the 1948 War of Independence.

So, the garden was planted anew, beginning with North American conifers.

To plan your visit, see the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens’ website for visiting hours and ticket prices.

Near By

North America Section

The North American section is characterized by landscapes which reflect its variety of climates.

You can walk from forests to prairies to deserts all in a few minutes.

In this section, you’ll see everything from cacti to deciduous trees, from coastal redwoods to southern magnolias.

You’ll also find the wild relations of the pumpkin, corn and sunflower, which are typical of Mexico.

With its lawns, waterfall, hidden corners, and abundant shade, the North American section is an ideal place to have a picnic and rest.

Subsections

Coniferous forest
Deciduous forest
Mixed forest (broad-leaved and coniferous) of the southeastern USA
Dry evergreen forest of the Rocky Mountains
Grove and park forest of California
Succulent desert flora
Grass prairies
Mountainous flora of Central America

Southern Africa

Some ten percent of the world’s known flowering plants – close to 22,000 species – come from South Africa and many have made their way into gardens worldwide.

Enjoy the savannah and desert landscapes, the aloe collection with its fiery-colored winter blooms, spring flowers, fall amaryllis displays, unique bulbs, and enchanting sitting corners.

Two additional attractions in this section are an African Savannah Grass Maze and original 2nd Temple period burial tombs.

Subsections

Bushy flora of the Cape area
East African coastal grove
Rock and sand deserts
Afro-alpine temperate forest
Savannah flora and bush deserts

Bonsai

The Gardens have one of the oldest and most varied Bonsai collections in Israel.

The collection includes some 300 trees and is the focus for research and development of new botanical techniques.

They hope this research will contribute to the rescue and preservation of wild trees.

The Bonsai exhibit includes a path that winds between the Japanese cherry trees, a symbolic stone and water display, and a greenhouse for exhibiting cold-sensitive trees.

Southwest & Central Asia

This section represents the Irano-Turan region of plant distribution.

This huge geographic region includes the mountains and deserts of Asia and stretches from inner Anatolia through Iran to the borders of Tibet and Mongolia. 

Jerusalem’s climate suits the plants in this section, so there is no need to artificially irrigate at all.

The Asian Section includes a collection of fruit trees, many of them the ancestors of the edible fruits we cultivate today.

During summer and fall, we can taste some of these fruits.

Their fragrant Herb and Medicinal Plant Garden is also in this section.

Spring is crowned with the blossoms of the deciduous fruit trees, such as pear, apple and cherry, and carpets of wildflowers.

In the fall, this section also features the translucent yellow blooms of the Sternbergia.

Subsections

Open Steppes and Forests of the Anatolian Heights
Park Forest of the Zagros Mountains
Mountainous Thorny Cushion Flora
Sand deserts of Central Asia
Mountainous Forest of Central Asia
Steppe Forest of Kopet Dag
The Yehuda Kirschstein Section of Herbs and Medicinal Plants

Mediterranean

This oldest section of the gardens offers the largest trees and the shadiest spots.

Here you’ll find the country’s biggest collection of oaks, plus Cedars of Lebanon at their southernmost point of growth in the world.

You’ll also find many plants mentioned in the Bible.

The Mediterranean section is carpeted with wild flowers in the spring, including Narcissus, Wild Lupine, and Coral Peony.

This section also exhibits many of the plants in danger of extinction that the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens collects, cultivates, and protects.

Subsections

Flora of the western Mediterranean
Flora of the Atlas Mountains
Flora of the Canary Islands
Flora of the eastern Mediterranean
Water plants

Australia

Australia is the largest arid continent on earth, but still manages to have varied climates.

It is tropical in the north and north-east, Mediterranean in the west, temperate and rainy in the southeast, and arid in most other places.

Australia is home to many plants which have entered horticulture and forestry, in Israel and worldwide.

Many rare plants can be seen in this section, which includes a Australian Display Garden.

Subsections

Rainforest of northern Australia
Flora of southwest Australia
Flora of the Australian deserts
Bushy Eucalyptus flora
Flora of southeast Australia and Tasmania
The Fink Family Australian Display Garden

Europe

In the European section, flowers bloom from spring to mid-summer.

The deciduous trees have beautiful fall colors, while the cherry trees light up the end of winter, blossoming from mid-February through to the beginning of March.

The European Section includes the Lake, with its own display of water plants that bloom particularly during the summer.

Subsections

Forests of the Atlantic coast
Deciduous forest of Central Europe
Temperate forests of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea
The Cohen Family Lake

Tropical Conservatory

The Conservatory has approximately 300 kinds of plants, all differing in shape, color, and usage.

Endangered plants, exotic banana trees, coffee plants, orchids, and cacti are all on display.

The Conservatory is divided into two regions, the tropical region and the desert region. 

There is also a stream with aquatic plants growing within and remains of ancient columbarium carved into rock, exposed at the site during construction.

Dating back to the Second Temple period, its pigeon niches display Stapelias, small distinctive succulent plant.

In the tropical region, the visitor enters a rainforest, complete with tall plants growing on even taller trees.

Everything is eye-level to help the visitor understand the rainforest dynamic and the species growing there.

Orchids, ferns and bananas are just several plants that thrive in the tropical region.

In the desert region, the visitor is exposed to some of the world’s most unique plants and their adaptation to dry conditions.

The display includes the Trichodesma with beautiful teal colored flowers, a Jericho rose that releases seeds only after 10mm or more of rain, and shrubs producing fragrant fruits from which perfumes are made.

Discovery Trail

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens opened an exciting hands-on trail for kids, which explores water, earth and plants.

The path takes you from station to station, and gives kids an opportunity to play with the water, build with the earth and explore the plant life.

Yad Vashem
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