By Bassam Mohor
In the northern reaches of Jenin Governorate, in the village of Al-Jalama, the Jalama Botanical Garden opened at the end of 2022 on an area of three dunums. The garden is located on the outskirts of the fertile Marj bin Amer plain (Jezreel Valley) and contains a group of globally and locally threatened rare plants, including the national plant of Palestine, Iris Faqqu’a, and a group of orchids such as the Galilee orchid, the Carmel, al-Musannan (Orchis tridentata). Other plants include the common water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) and the Scorzonera phaeopappa, which are among the recently recorded plants in the West Bank. (Location: 32.5060216, 35.3192113.)
The botanical garden is a place to study and learn about the diversity of wild and nectar plants in Palestine. It preserves and protects more than 150 species from 40 families of plants that grow in our Palestinian environment. New species are also protected as they are planted in the garden as part of an ex situ conservation program. Among the most important featured plant groups are the irises, which include 6 species in the botanical garden, and the orchids, which include 12 species, and more than 60 species of nectar plants. More plant species will be added in order to contribute to the preservation and protection of wild plants in Palestine and to be part of the global network of botanical gardens, focusing on plants that provide food for bees and pollinators.
The garden also contains a community environmental farm based on the principle of voluntary work to help build a sustainable society, where the depletion of natural and agricultural resources, along with rapid population growth, puts great pressure on the environment and Palestinian society. Palestinian farmers have little information about green environmental agricultural practices and their importance, and about environmental issues related to the green economy, food sovereignty, and sustainable development.
In addition, there are 30 beehives in a training apiary that is equipped with the latest modern technologies. The apiary provides a means to expand the capabilities of current beekeepers and train new beekeepers, with a focus on recent graduates in agricultural engineering, veterinary medicine, and related disciplines. It works according to the latest scientific methods of sustainable beekeeping principles, including the biological control of diseases, the organic production of honey and various bee products, the recycling of beekeeping waste such as wax by using it in many applications, and the adaptation of beekeeping to the effects of climate change.
It is noteworthy that the garden was established by the Jenin Beekeepers Cooperative Association in partnership with Al-Jalama Women’s Center and Ma’an Development Center.
Visitors to the botanical garden are welcome at any time, and visits may be coordinated with the manager, Islam Daghlas, at +972 594 055 529 or by email at email@example.com.