Ziziphus lotus with Herbaceous Vegetation; Mediterranean savannoid vegetation
1.3.6 Ziziphus lotus with herbaceous vegetation
Grasslands of wild wheat, barley, and oats cover the relatively warm, dry area of basalt hills in the southeastern Galilee and the slopes around the Sea of Galilee down to the Samarian desert. A similar formation covers the west-facing slopes of the Gilead below the Tabor oak belt. In drier and warmer sites, Stipa capensis becomes the dominant plant. In fact, in the same site one may find Stipa capensis dominating in relatively dry years, and Avena sterilis in relatively moist years. However, a better indicator of such conditions is the lignified and spiny shrub, Ziziphus lotus, which spreads as green patches all over the area (Fig. 1.3.38). This category appears as a mosaic with that of category 3.7 in the steep topography in the vicinity of the rift valley, from north of Jericho to north of the Sea of Galilee.
1.3.7 Mediterranean savannoid vegetation
Ziziphus spina-christi, a low spiny tree with edible fruits, is the principal component in grasslands of annuals with large seeds such as wild wheat, barley, and oats (Fig. 1.3.39). These develop on warm, stony-rocky slopes of the Galilee, Golan, Gilead and Samaria, descending to the Rift Valley at sea level and below it. Ziziphus spina-christi may shed its leaves under environmental stresses of several sorts. In warm, dry parts of the country, its leaves may fall during dry seasons and sprout again after rainfall. In colder parts of the country, such as the Golan slopes (Fig. 1.3.40), it is deciduous in winter. Z. spina-christi dominates in true savannas in Africa, where its companions are Sudanian perennial grasses, hence the vegetation here is called “savannoid.” Established stands of this tree can also be seen along the transversal valleys on heavy soils and along the Sharon Plain, where it grows on sandy-loamy soils together with the grass Desmostachya bipinnata.