Relict Maquis Trees - Continued

Published: October 31st, 2010 | Updated: 14/01/15

“Small Petra” is situated some 5 km north of the well known “Petra.” The southern-most specimens of Quercus calliprinos grow in this area. They have survived since the penetration of the Mediterranean climate and vegetation into the Edom desert (Fig. 3.1.59), and continue to grow in fissures of sandstone cliffs. Special woodland of Q. calliprinos develops on hard limestone at a higher elevation, where the amount of precipitation is higher. It is unique in the vegetation of the Middle East due to the companionship of Artemisia sieberi shrub-steppe (Fig. 3.1.60). The latter prevails on the mountain slopes where the rock substratum is much softer.

The large rock outcrops in Edom enabled the survival of additional maquis trees such as Olea europaea (Fig. 3.1.61), Arbutus andrachne (Figs. 3.1.62, 3.1.63), and Cupressus sempervirens (Figs. 3.1.64, 3.1.65). Among the relicts of the Mediterranean maquis in Edom there is also the semi-parasite Osyris alba (Figs. 3.1.66-3.1.68). Its seeds are dispersed to short distances by small song-birds which feed on the red berries (Fig. 3.1.68).

Fig. 3.1.59: One of the southernmost Quercus calliprinos trees 5 km north of Petra.

Fig. 3.1.60: Quercus calliprinos trees accompanied by Artemisia sieberi shrub-steppe on a hard, fissured limestone layer at high elevation in SW Jordan.

Fig. 3.1.61: Jebel and Wadi Beida, near Petra, where one of the few relict Olea europaea trees grow. Collected with the help of the experts – Haroun Jamada and his son.

Fig. 3.1.62: The last Arbutus andrachne which survived in J. Beida (left). It is so rare that Haroun, who knew all the other plants, did not know its name. The closest A. andrachne tree grows 40 km north of here. On the right, Dana village seen through the twigs of a single A. andrachne growing at the spring ‘Ein Qeiqab,’ after the local tree’s name. The nearest population is 100 km NE of here.

Fig. 3.1.63: Arbutus andrachne in the Judean Mountains.

Fig. 3.1.64: The Cupressus sempervirens reserve in the north part of the Dana Reserve.

Fig. 3.1.65: Dr. Abdulkader Bensada at the C. sempervirens reserve.

Fig. 3.1.66: Shrubs of the semiparasite Osyris alba growing on roots of Quercus calliprinos.

Fig. 3.1.67: A shrubs of the semiparasite Osyris alba in a rock fissure, SW Jordan.

Fig. 3.1.68: Fruits of the semiparasite Osyris alba ready for dispersal by small birds.