Shrub-Steppes with Trees (Contd.)
1.3.11. Shrub-steppes with trees
1.3.11c Pistacia khinjuk, Crataegus sinaicus and more…
Subunit 3.11c is richer both in non-desert trees and shrubs and in their companions. Here, the large outcrops of smooth granite and the high elevation of the southern Sinai massif influence the number of habitats available for the survival of rare species. The typical trees of this rocky environment are Pistacia khinjuk (Fig. 1.3.90), Crataegus sinaicus (Fig. 1.3.91), and Ficus palmata (Fig. 1.3.92). The west-facing escarpments of Gebel Serbal are rich in Moringa peregrina, which grows on rocky slopes near springs. In the vicinity of the Wadi Feiran oasis, this kind of habitat supports dozens of Moringa trees. Typical shrubs of this rocky habitat are Rhamnus disperma, Rhus tripartita, Cotoneaster, Periploca aphylla, and Sageretia thea. Most of the endemic and rare species of Sinai occur in rocks that also support trees.
1.3.11d Juniperus phoenicea, Pistacia khinjuk, Crataegus aronia and more…
The Quercus calliprinos and Juniperus phoenicea woodlands in Edom, Jordan are denoted as 3.11d on the vegetation map. This climatically controlled belt of arboreal Mediterranean vegetation terminates some 120 km. north of the Dana-Tafila area. Large areas of shrub-steppe and steppe-forest typify the western ridge of the Jordanian plateau between At Tafila and Petra. They are dominated by Artemisia sieberi, Noaea mucronata, and spiny species of Astragalus, with occasional arboreal components such as Pistacia atlantica, Crataegus aronia, Juniperus phoenicea, and Quercus calliprinos. These vegetal formations develop on fissured limestone, basalt, and chalk rocks. The smooth-faced hard sandstone outcrops of the Dana-Petra area support the richest relic arboreal flora in the Near East: Juniperus phoenicea (Figs. 1.3.93, 1.3.94, 1.3.95), Quercus calliprinos (Fig. 1.3.96), Pistacia atlantica, Pistacia palaestina, P. khinjuk, Crataegus aronia, Amygdalus korschinskii, Ceratonia siliqua, Olea europaea (Fig. 1.3.97), Arbutus andrachne (Fig. 1.3.98), Cupressus sempervirens (Figs. 1.3.99, 1.3.100, 1.3.101), Rhamnus punctata, R. lycioides, R. disperma, Ficus carica, F. palmata and Sageretia thea.
Typical semiparasites of the Mediterranean maquis, such as Osyris alba, Thesium bergeri, and Viscum cruciatum, occur in the rock crevices together with typical vines of the maquis – Rubia tenuifolia, Ephedra foeminea, Hedera helix (Fig. 1.3.102), Bryonia cretica, and Lonicera etrusca (Fig. 1.3.103) – which are represented by a higher number of individual specimens than any other Mediterranean vines in any other refuge in the Near East. We may conclude that the rich Mediterranean flora here, with its many endemics, has found a successful refuge which has played a long-term role in the region’s evolutionary history.