Quercus calliprinos woodlands; Montane forest of Mt. Hermon
1.3.2 Quercus calliprinos woodlands on basalt
These differ from woodlands on Terra Rossa in their rich herbaceous vegetation and the absence of semi-shrub communities from the early successional stages after destruction and abandonment (Figs. 1.3.15, 1.3.16). Remnants of this community are found in the northern Golan and in the northeastern Galilee. The gentle, north-facing slope of the ancient volcanic cone of Har Odem on the Golan, near Mas’ada, at an elevation of 900-1,000 m., is covered by a dense maquis of Q. calliprinos. It is accompanied by Q. boissieri, Crataegus monogyna, C. aronia, and Prunus ursina. Among the trees, the rich ephemeral vegetation includes some 20 species of Trifolium. The prevalence of herbaceous plants may be due to the soil, which is rich in available phosphorous (Rabinovitch, 1981). During the winter, when Q. boissieri and its Rosaceae companion trees shed their leaves, the floor of the dense woodland (Fig. 1.3.17) gets more light and reveals carpets of Cyclamen coum (Figs. 1.3.18, 1.3.19), which sprout and bloom from the beginning of winter. In areas where the woodlands were cut down long ago, Veronica syriaca typically appears at the start of winter (Fig. 1.3.20).
1.3.3 Montane forest of Mt. Hermon
The montane forest stretches from altitudes of 1,300 to 1,700 m. (Figs. 1.3.21-1.3.24). Its lower boundary is Mediterranean maquis dominated by Quercus calliprinos; its upper boundary (known also as the timberline) is in the transitional area to the “tragacanth vegetation” (cf. section 3.9 to come). The dominant vegetation of the montane forest is deciduous trees such as Quercus boissieri, Q. libani, Acer monspessulanum (Fig. 1.3.22), and several species of Crataegus, Amygdalus, and Prunus (Fig. 1.3.23). Their companions are mainly perennial and annual grasses, other herbaceous plants, and shrubs or semi-shrubs that fail to grow in lower elevations, such as species of Astragalus (Fig. 1.3.23). This category is not represented in Jordan because there are no mountains of this elevation in the northern part of the country; the south does have similarly high mountains but since they have a drier climate, they lack woodlands of this sort. However, a few shrubs common in Mt. Hermon also occur in the crevices of smooth-faced rocks of southern Sinai and in southwest Jordan (cf. section 3.9).