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Lathyrus clymenum L. in Israel: A "revival" of an ancient species

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Four populations of an annual Lathyrus species new to Israel have been found since 1999. Three of these are located in the Coastal Plain, the fourth in the Judean Mountains. All grow in more-or-less disturbed habitats. These populations were identified by us as Lathyrus clymenum and compared with related or similar species to verify the identification. L. clymenum is a minor crop, grown mainly in some central Mediterranean and south European countries, but it was used for food, and traded as such, already over 3,750 years ago. Archaeobotanical findings of its seeds were discovered in the northern coast of Israel (Middle Bronze Age IIA). These findings were compared with recent material. The possibilities of its re-appearance in Israel, as escaped plants or colonizers/invaders, are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University ; 2: Department of Plant Sciences, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 3: Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, and Center for the Study of Rationality, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 4: Department of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, Afeka-Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering


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