A postcard from Argentina

Updated: 12/01/15

January 2007

Portulaca oleracea

During my sabbatical leave I undertook an expedition to look for my favourite research target: Portulaca oleracea. Trying very hard to find it beyond my previous findings at the latitude of 40 degrees, I visited southern Argentina at the latitude of 50 degrees and more, but found no signs of the Portulaca at all.

However, I found the homeland of an old friend; Stipa papposa, a very localized alien (in Israel). In Israel, this perennial grass grows only in Givat Ram, and only in the old terraces, some 50 to 100 m SW of the swimming pool. In Patagonia, its homeland, it grows on thousands of square kilometers, appearing in huge steppes of perennial grasses and small shrubs. When learning from my colleagues in Germany, who identified the plant from Israel, they said that it comes from S. America. It was hard to imagine endless plains covered with it.
I do not wish to refer here to the meeting (or should I say “meat-ing”) with the sheep and cows who were eating these grasses when I arrived.

Stipa papposa


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