Trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science common name

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SAcred Fig



162 / 163   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Sacred Fig, Peepul, bo-tree

hebrew name: 

שודק סוקיפ ficus kadosh


Scientific name:

 Ficus religiosa

Arabic name: 

سدقم سوكيف



An enormous tropical tree, one of the most  

beautiful species in the Ficus genus. Its trunk grows 

very wide and it develops characteristic vertical ribs 

when mature. Its bark is smooth and pale, and its  

primary branches grow up in a long diagonal from  

a low point on the trunk. The foliage is airy, leaving 

the structure of the tree and its branches visible. Its 

large, flat, thin leaves are heart-shaped, with a long 

tail-like point at the end.

In late spring and early summer, around the time 

of the monsoon season in its native region, the  

leaves turn yellow and fall all at once for a brief 

period. Immediately afterwards, new reddish leaves 

appear, and among them are the pairs of figs, 

which get pollinated by the tiny wasps that are 

unique to this tree. The ripe figs attract birds and  

fruit bats.

The sacred fig is native to the Indian subcontinent, 

southern China, and Indochina. Buddha is said to 

have been sitting under this magnificent tree when 

he attained enlightenment, and it is sacred to both 

Hindus and Buddhists. One specimen, supposedly 

planted in Sri Lanka in 288 BCE, is thought to be the 

oldest angiosperm (flowering plant) in the world. In 

Hindi culture, the sacred fig is a sign of happiness, 

success, luck and long life.

Buddha in Glory   

Rainer Maria Rilke 

Center of all centers, core of cores,

almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet –

all this universe, to the furthest stars

all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;

your vast shell reaches into endless space,

and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.

Illuminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,

blazing high above your head.

But in you is the presence that

will be, when all the stars are dead. 




164 / 165   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Sapodilla, chicle tree

hebrew name: 

הברע הלידופס


sapodilla areva


Scientific name: 

Manilkara zapota

Arabic name: 

يكيرما رورعز ,هتوبس



A tropical evergreen fruit tree with impressive  

foliage. Its brown trunk exudes a white rubbery  

substance called chicle, which is used to make  

chewing gum. The tree’s shape is oval and uneven. 

Its dense, elliptical, thick, glossy leaves are the tree’s 

main charm.

A few inconspicuous white flowers may appear 

on the tree throughout the year. Subsequently, round 

brown fruits develop among the leaves once or twice 

a year. There is no difference in appearance between 

ripe and unripe fruits, but ripe fruits are soft to the 

touch and have very sweet, yellow-to-brown flesh 

that tastes like caramel or chocolate pudding.

The sapodilla is the only species in the genus 

Manilkara. It is native to Mexico, Central America 

and the Caribbean, and from there it spread to other 

countries. In Israel, it has been planted primarily at 

sites that specialize in tropical fruits, including some 

specimens in the experimental plot for exotic fruit 

trees at the Weizmann Institute.

SAuSAge tree



166 / 167   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Sausage tree

hebrew name: 

הצונמ הילגיק


kigelia menutza


Scientific name: 

Kigelia pinnata

Arabic name:  




A tree with a thick, upright trunk. The sausage 

tree has smooth gray bark, an oval or round shape, 

and pinnate leaves with large dark leaflets. It is  

semi-deciduous: It sheds its leaves only during very 

dry summers or unusually harsh winters. 

In the spring and summer, large flowers develop 

on long, hanging stems that can be several meters 

in length. The flowers grow out perpendicular 

to the stems; their shape is characteristic of the 

Bignoniaceae family –  tubular and funnel-like. The 

flowers open only at night, when they attract insects 

and bats. The fruits are immense and unusual:  

Light brown and shaped like loaves of bread or large 

sausages, they too are suspended from the long 


The sausage tree is the only species in its genus. 

It grows throughout tropical and subtropical Africa, 

where it provides food for elephants, giraffes,  

monkeys and pigs. Native Africans also benefit from 

the tree – canoe-like boats are made from the trunks, 

a beer-like beverage is prepared from the fruit, and 

other parts of the tree are used in folk medicine. 

SenegAL dAte PALM



168 / 169   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Senegal date Palm

hebrew name: 

יוטנ רמת


tamar natu’i


Scientific name: 

Phoenix reclinata

Arabic name: 

لاغنسلا ليخن


Arecaceae (Palmae)

A palm with multiple trunks. The gray trunks that 

grow in a group from a single base are relatively thin 

and curved, creating a unique sculptural profile. At 

the top of each trunk is a crown of deep green, stiff, 

curved pinnate fronds, whose color differentiates 

them from the grayish leaves of the common date 


Male and female inflorescences (flower clusters) 

develop on separate trees. Female trees go on to 

produce branched clusters of edible, elongated fruits 

that are orange-brown when ripe. In the tree’s native 

regions, both the fruit and the heart of the trunk  

are eaten.

The Senegal date palm is one of approximately  

15 species in the genus Phoenix. This species grows 

wild throughout tropical Africa, from Senegal to 

South Africa. It can be found growing in various  

environments, from sea level to mountainous  

regions. As an ornamental plant, it is grown in  

warm countries for its sculptural appearance.  

Mature specimens of the Senegal date palm are  

rare in Israel.

SiLk oAk




170 / 171   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Silk oak 

hebrew name: 

הנוסח האליוורג


grevillea chasona


Scientific name: 

Grevillea robusta

Arabic name:  

هخماش لايورغ



A tall, narrow tree notable for its attractive foliage 

and unique blooms. The trunk is straight and upright, 

and it extends to the top of the tree. The leaves are 

pinnate with elongated leaflets, which are, in turn, 

divided into narrow lobes reminiscent of fern fronds. 

The underside of the leaf is light gray, tinting the  

foliage with an olive hue.

In spring, golden-orange, brush-like inflorescences 

(flower clusters) develop on the tree. The flowers are 

succeeded by clusters of brown fruit, each equipped 

with an elongated “tail” containing one or two 

winged seeds.

The tree belongs to the Proteaceae family, one 

of the most ancient families of flowering plants. The 

genus Grevillea contains a large number of species, 

all native to Australia, and this tree the is largest of 

them. In the past, its timber was used for carpentry, 

but today it is protected in its native region and log-

ging it is illegal. In Israel, it has long been grown as 

an ornamental tree, one of the first imported along 

with the waves of Zionist immigration to Israel. It 

grows successfully in most areas of the country and 

is used along boulevards as well as for screening and 

garden borders. 

SiLver-LeAved ironbArk



172 / 173   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Silver-Leaved ironbark

hebrew name: 

הפילק-רוחש סוטפילקיא



eikalyptus sh’chor klipa


Scientific name: 

Eucalyptus melanophloia

Arabic name: 



A medium-sized tree that stands out for its  

unusual combination of very dark bark and silvery-

gray foliage. The trunk is upright and relatively thin, 

rising straight up, all the way to the crown. The trunk 

and branches are covered in a permanent, deeply  

fissured, blackish bark. The fissures reveal glimpses of 

the reddish-brown wood underneath. The leaves are 

heart- or egg-shaped, keep their shape in maturity, 

and are aligned (without petioles – leafstalks) in pairs 

on the branches. Their silvery-blue or gray tones are 

noticeable from a distance. 

The small white summer blooms do not stand out. 

The fruits are small and mug-shaped. 

The silver-leaved ironbark grows wild in vast areas 

of eastern Australia. It is drought tolerant and very 

suitable for afforestation. Due to its attractive appear-

ance, it can be used as an ornamental tree in parks 

and gardens. The silver-leaved ironbark has been in 

Israel for a long time, but despite its success in  

various parts of the country, it is not well known. 

 )انيك( ةرشقلا دوسا سوتبلاكوا 

SMooth-SheLL MAcAdAMiA nut



174 / 175   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Smooth-Shell Macadamia nut,   



 queensland nut

hebrew name: 

המימת הימדקמ


macadamia tmima 

Scientific name: 

Macadamia integrifolia

Arabic name: 




An evergreen tree that yields rich nuts. The  

leaves are usually arranged in whorls of three  

growing from a single point on the branch. The 

mature leaves are long and stiff, with edges that  

are only slightly serrated or not serrated (hence  

the scientific nameintegrifolia: intact leaves).

In spring, attractive inflorescences (clusters)  

of small white flowers develop, some of which  

are fertilized to produce globular fruits with a  

green husk that splits when ripe. Inside is a  

nut with a particularly hard shell and a seed or two. 

Prized for their buttery taste, macadamias have a  

high nutritional value; their oils are often used in  


There are nine species in the genus Macadamia

most of them from Australia, but only the fruits of 

the Macadamia integrifolia and the Macadamia tetra-

phylla are edible – the rest are poisonous. Commercial 

agricultural production of the macadamia began in 

the 19


 century, and it is thought to be the only  

agricultural crop that originated in Australia. The  

macadamia was introduced into Israel in the 1950s; 

some of the first trees were planted in the experimental 

plot on the grounds of the Weizmann Institute.

Southern MAgnoLiA



176 / 177   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Southern Magnolia, bull bay

hebrew name: 

םיחרפ-תלודג הילונגמ




magnolia gdolat-prachim


Scientific name: 

Magnolia grandiflora

Arabic name: 

رهزلا ةريبك ايلونغم




A very impressive tree with huge white flowers. In 

its native regions in the east and south of the United 

States, the southern magnolia reaches great heights, 

but in Israel, it does not fulfill its potential. Its large, 

glossy leaves are brownish on the underside; and its 

unique flowers are very large, firm and fragrant. The 

fruits resemble fuzzy cones with bright red seeds  

protruding from them.

The genus Magnolia belongs to one of the first 

families of flowering plants to appear on Earth; this 

can be seen in the structure of the flower and fruit. 

There are a number of additional Magnolia species, 

all of which have elegant flowers and most of which 

are deciduous.

Due to its lavish appearance and wide distribution 

in its native region, it is often used as a symbol of the 

American South, especially in books and films. The 

southern magnolia is resilient in cold weather but  

suffers in excessive heat and drought, so it is mainly  

suitable for the cooler regions of Israel.

SPotted guM



178 / 179   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Spotted gum

hebrew name: 

םתכומ סוטפילקיא


eikalyptus muchtam


Scientific name: 

Eucalyptus (Corymbia) maculata


Arabic name: 




A large, impressive tree known for its tall, upright 

trunk. The trunk is smooth, with patches in shades 

of yellowish-cream, gray and brown, which appear in 

progression as pieces of bark peel off from time to 

time. The green foliage is concentrated in the tree’s 

rounded crown. The leaves of the juvenile phase are 

elliptical, while mature leaves are elongated, slightly 

bowed and have pointed tips. In Australia, where the 

tree is native, the leaves are eaten by koalas. 

The small white flowers are arranged in inflores-

cences (flower clusters) that attract honeybees  

and nectar-eating birds. The fruits are shaped like 

small urns. 

The spotted gum belongs to a new genus, 

Corymbia, which was recently found to be distinct 

from the genus Eucalyptus. In its native region of 

southeast Australia and throughout the entire  

continent, the tree is used for afforestation, and its 

substantial trunk and hard timber are used in  

carpentry. In Israel, it is rare and was generally  

planted experimentally, including on the grounds  

of the Weizmann Institute. 

SurinAM cherry




180 / 181   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Surinam cherry 

hebrew name: 

הגנטיפה תיינגיא


igeniat ha’pitanga


Scientific name: 

Eugenia uniflora

Arabic name: 





A small tree or a large evergreen shrub, notable 

for its foliage and fruit. The relatively thin trunk 

branches from its base; mature trees have a mottled 

bark. The leaves are opposite – they emerge from  

the branches in pairs – and they are glossy and  

egg-shaped with pointed tips. The tree sprouts new 

growth mainly in spring, in shades of red or reddish 

brown. This is when the plant is at the height of  

its beauty. 

In the spring, beautiful white flowers bloom 

among the leaves, similar in appearance to myrtle 

flowers. Round, flattened fruits develop from the 

flowers in the summer, and these turn dark red when 

ripe. Each fruit is a juicy berry with eight prominent 

ribs, containing one to three seeds. The ripe fruit is 

sweet-sour and has an unusual aftertaste.

The genus Eugenia has approximately 1,000  

tropical species, mostly on the American continent. 

Botanists are still discovering new species. The 

Surinam cherry grows wild in Brazil and nearby  

countries, where it is also grown as a commercial 

agricultural crop. The tree was introduced into  

Israel in the 1920s where it is known by the name 


SycAMore Fig



182 / 183   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

Sycamore Fig

hebrew name: 

המקשה סוקיפ


ficus ha'shikma


Scientific name: 

Ficus sycomorus

Arabic name: 




A large, impressive tree, one of the iconic features 

of the Israeli landscape. It has a solid trunk covered 

in pale bark; large primary branches emerge from the 

trunk diagonally. In young trees, the shape is rounded, 

but becomes more irregular as the tree matures, giv-

ing a unique, sculptural shape to each tree. Some but 

not all of the thick, wavy leaves are shed in winter.

Numerous round figs develop on the short branch-

lets that grow directly from the trunk and primary 

branches throughout the year, giving the tree an oddly 

attractive appearance. In Africa, the fruit is pollinated 

by tiny wasps, so that the fruit bears seeds. In Israel, 

the figs ripen either partially or completely without 

being pollinated, and so are seedless. It was common 

practice in the region to prick the figs to encourage 

ripening (traditionally called blissat shikmim). In warm 

valleys, parasitic wasps may invade the figs and spoil 


The sycamore fig is native to sub-Saharan Africa; it 

spread to Egypt and the Near East in ancient times. In 

Egypt and its neighboring countries, it was customary 

to plant sycamore groves for fruit and timber,  

and remains of the trees, wood and fruit have been 

preserved in pharaohs’ tombs. The sycamore is  

mentioned many times in the Bible, and its unique 

form adorned the hotter regions of the Land of Israel.

“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah: ‘I was  

no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was  

a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees’”  

(Amos 7:14)

Young Sycamore    

William Carlos Williams 

I must tell you 

this young tree

whose round and firm trunk

between the wet

pavement and the gutter

(where water

is trickling) rises


into the air with

one undulant

thrust half its height –

and then

dividing and waning

sending out

young branches on

all sides –

hung with cocoons

it thins

till nothing is left of it

but two

eccentric knotted


bending forward

hornlike at the top


Edna St. Vincent Millet

Why do you follow me?– 

Any moment I can be 

Nothing but a laurel-tree. 

Any moment of the chase 

I can leave you in my place 

A pink bough for your embrace. 

Yet if over hill and hollow

Still it is your will to follow,

I am off; – to heel, Apollo! 

texAS MountAin LAureL



184 / 185    100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

texas Mountain Laurel, Fountain tree

hebrew name: 

תינקירמא הרופוס


sophora amerikanit


Scientific name: 

Sophora secundiflora  



 (Calia secundiflora)

Arabic name: 

كيسكلما ءاريفص


Fabaceae (Papilionaceae)

A small evergreen tree with a shrub-like structure, 

outstanding in its foliage and bloom. The Texas moun-

tain laurel grows slowly, usually on several trunks. 

The crown is round and wide, with dense foliage that 

sometimes hides the trunk and branches. The leaves 

are pinnate with thick, dark, glossy oval leaflets remi-

niscent of the leaflets of the carob tree.

In late winter and spring, inflorescences (clusters)  

of purple-blue papilionaceous (butterfly-shaped)  

flowers emerge from the foliage. The attractive, 

strongly scented bloom is best appreciated up close. 

The flowers are replaced by woody pods that resemble 

silvery-brown peanuts and contain poisonous red seeds.

Recently, the tree has been removed from the 

genus Sophora and grouped, along with two other 

related species, in a new genus: Calia. The Texas 

mountain laurel is native to Texas, New Mexico and 

northern Mexico, and the tree’s suitability to these arid 

regions is evident in its hardiness and resilience. In its 

native regions – as well as in Israel – the tree is used as 

a barrier along highways, for covering slopes or as an 

ornamental tree.




186 / 187   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 


hebrew name: 

ירמסמ סוטפילקיא


eikalyptus massmeri 

Scientific name: 

Eucalyptus gomphocephala

Arabic name: 



A very large evergreen tree, known for the dark

permanent, fissured bark covering the trunk and all  

of the branches. The trunk can be upright or tilted, 

and it occasionally splits into multiple trunks. Its 

“dress” of foliage may cover the tree almost all the 

way to its base with leaves that are stiff, elongated 

and pointed. 

The operculum that encloses the developing  

flowers has a unique shape that enables easy species  

identification. These are relatively large, and they grow 

in stemless clusters on branchlets. They are shaped like 

a nail with a wide head. 

In Israel, the tree blooms in autumn, after which 

the white flowers are replaced by woody, bell-shaped 


The tuart grows wild on limestone soils in a  

limited area of southwestern Australia. In the past  

it was heavily logged, and its hard timber was used  

to build rail cars and boats, but its reduced population 

led to actions to protect the tree and limit its logging. 

Due to its resilience and durability, the tuart is com-

monly used throughout the world for afforestation, 

and in Israel it is the second most common Eucalyptus 

species, after the river red gum.

)انيك( يرامسم سوتبلاكوا

victoriAn box



188 / 189   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

victorian box, native daphne

hebrew name: 

ינולג םורופסוטיפ


pittosporum galoni


Scientific name: 

Pittosporum undulatum

Arabic name: 

جومتم ضبح



A small- to medium-sized evergreen tree, with a 

relatively thin trunk that is usually split near the bot-

tom. Its silhouette starts out narrow, rounding out as 

the tree matures. Its leaves are soft, elongated, pointed 

and glossy green, and they have undulating edges.

When the tree blooms in spring, umbellate  

(umbrella-like) terminal clusters of small fragrant, 

bell-shaped, five-petaled, white flowers develop. In 

autumn, after the flowers disappear, hard,  

globular, bright orange fruits decorate the tree; they  

contain a sticky resin that holds the seeds.

There are approximately 200 species in the 

Pittosporum genus. The Pittosporum undulatum  

grows wild in the humid areas of eastern Australia 

and from there has been carried to gardens  

throughout the world. Because it is very resilient  

and adaptable to a variety of conditions, it is grown 

both as a tree and as a shrub. As a modest tree, 

it is suitable for planting next to buildings and in 

courtyards and patios. It has been grown in Israel 

for a long time and can be found today in older 


weePing bottLebruSh



190 / 191   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

weeping bottlebrush

hebrew name: 

םירצנה ןומטסילק


callistemon hanetzarim


Scientific name: 

Callistemon viminalis

Arabic name:  

هيدسلاا موتسلك



A small, charming, flowering tree. The weeping 

bottlebrush has a gray, fissured trunk, an open  

appearance and drooping branches. Its pale green 

leaves are narrow and elongated. 

The weeping bottlebrush is at the height of its 

beauty in spring, when terminal clusters of many-

stamened flowers resembling bright red bottlebrushes 

hang from the ends of the branches. The term 

Callistemon in its scientific and Hebrew names comes 

from the Greek for “beautiful stamens.” The unique 

bloom, which lasts into the summer, attracts small, 

nectar-feeding sunbirds. The inflorescence (flower  

cluster) is replaced by chains of woody, nearly  

spherical capsules that hang like chains of beads on 

the branches for several years. 

Like other Callistemon species, the weeping  

bottlebrush is native to Australia. The word netzarim 

(canes) in its Hebrew name hints at the use of its  

thin, flexible branches. It is hardy in hot, dry condi-

tions, in various soils and near shorelines, and it is 

water-efficient. These traits, as well as its charming 

appearance, have made the weeping bottlebrush a 

long-time favorite in the landscaping of Israeli  


white cyPreSS-Pine



192 / 193   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

white cypress-Pine

hebrew name: 

לחלחכ סירטילק


callitris k’chalchal 

Scientific name: 

Callitris columellaris  



Arabic name:  

يواقرز سوردنس



A coniferous tree that looks like a cypress,  

with delicate foliage. The white cypress-pine has  

a substantial trunk that is upright or tilted and gray-

brown bark that is diagonally fissured, revealing 

pinkish wood underneath. The bluish-gray or green 

foliage forms round clumps at the branch ends, and 

the tiny scaled leaves are characteristic of the genus 

Callitris and the family Cupressaceae.

The bloom is small and made up of separate  

male and female flowers. The female flowers ripen 

into small spherical cones that open like a flower  

into six triangular valves: three large and three  

small. The cones darken and become woody and, 

when they open, release tiny winged seeds. These 

cones may remain on the tree for many years after 


There are 15 species in the genus Callitris, all  

native to Australia and New Caledonia. The white 

cypress-pine grows in a number of regions of 

Australia, and its separate populations are distin-

guished from one another by the color of their foliage 

and the size of their cones. In the past, the different 

populations were thought to be separate species,  

but today they are all classified as white cypress-pine. 

The tree’s wood is hard and attractive, and is used  

in furniture and wood paneling. Callitris species were 

introduced to Israel for the purpose of afforestation 

and as ornamental trees, but they remain quite rare. 

white FLoSS SiLk tree



194 / 195   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

white Floss Silk tree

hebrew name: 

תיקובקב היזירוכ


corisia bakbukit


Scientific name: 

Chorisia insignis


Arabic name: 





A semi-deciduous tree; the appearance of its trunk 

and flowers is striking. The bottle-shaped gray trunk 

is the most distinctive part of the tree and the source 

of its popular name “drunken tree” (in Spanish: palo 

borracho, literally “drunken stick”). The trunk and the 

branches that extend from it horizontally are  

covered in sizable thorns. The leaves are palmate, 

composed of five to seven leaflets that grow out of  

a single point and resemble a hand. 

Individual white floss silk trees can bloom in  

different periods: The yellowish-white flowers, com-

posed of five narrow petals, may appear any time from 

summer to early winter. After the tree has blossomed, 

fruits in the shape of green capsules develop on the 

tree; the seeds inside are wrapped in a cocoon of silky 

white fiber. These fibers are used to stuff pillows and 

mattresses, as well as for rope-making. The tree’s sap 

is used as an ingredient in a hallucinogenic drink.

The white floss silk tree is native to the subtropical 

regions of Peru and Argentina.

white MuLberry



196 / 197   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

white Mulberry, Silkworm Mulberry

hebrew name: 

ןבל תות


tut lavan


Scientific name: 

Morus alba

Arabic name: 

ضيبأ توت



A deciduous tree with a broad silhouette  

and a short trunk. Its large leaves are smooth  

on both sides; they are the preferred food of  


The white mulberry is dioecious (and is thus  

differentiated from the black mulberry) – its male 

and female flowers grow on separate trees. The male 

flowers catapult their pollen at the tremendous  

velocity of about half the speed of sound, and it is 

carried on the wind to the female flowers. After  

fertilization, the petals of the female flowers swell 

and grow together to form a compound fruit,  

consisting of many small, individual fruitlets, or 

drupes; it is considered a pseudo-berry. Despite the 

name, the fruit can be white, red or almost black.

The white mulberry was cultivated in China. Its 

ancient Hebrew name is identical to the tree’s Persian 

name and is similar to its names in India (tuta, tuti). It 

was first introduced into Israel in the 16



and again in the 19


 century, with the intention of 

establishing a silk industry here, but the attempts 

were unsuccessful. 

white PeruviAn PePPer



198 / 199   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

white Peruvian Pepper,   



 california Pepper tree

hebrew name: 

תוכב ןולפלפ


pilpelon bechut


Scientific name: 

Schinus molle

Arabic name: 

عيفر سونيكش



A desert tree, notable for its weeping branches. 

It is usually medium-sized but can live for a long 

time and attain impressive dimensions. Its soft 

branches droop downwards, and long pinnate leaves 

with numerous pale, narrow leaflets hang from the 

branches, giving the tree its characteristic weeping 


The Peruvian pepper is dioecious (trees are either 

male or female). In summer, panicles (branched  

clusters of flowers) with small yellowish-cream flow-

ers hang from male trees, while on female trees

clusters of globular reddish fruit with a pungent odor 

develop. The fruits are reminiscent of peppercorns  

(even though they are not at all related), hence the  

common names. Native Americans use the fruit in 

food and drink, and in the past, it was a primary  

ingredient of the alcoholic drink chicha.

The Peruvian pepper typically grows in arid  

regions of the Peruvian Andes and the rest of South 

America. It flourishes at high altitudes and survives in 

extreme weather conditions. In Israel, too, the tree is 

suited to dry regions; old, large, impressive Peruvian 

pepper trees can be seen in the Negev and Arava 


white Stinkwood



200 / 201   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name: 

white Stinkwood

hebrew name: 

ינקירפא שימ


mayish africani


Scientific name: 

Celtis africana

Arabic name: 

يقيرفا سيم



A deciduous tree with a straight trunk and long, 

arching branches. Its round shape is somewhat  

open in younger trees and becomes denser as  

the tree matures. The branches curve downwards; 

numerous leaves with non-symmetrical bases grow 

intermittently along the branches, a typical arrange-

ment in the genus Celtis. The leaves are egg-shaped 

and their lobes contain three main veins, joined by a 

network of non-parallel veins.

In spring, as new leaves sprout, small greenish 

male and female flowers develop on the same tree 

in groups; these flowers are pollinated by bees. The 

tree’s small round fruits, which turn black when ripe, 

are a favorite food of various birds.

The genus Celtis contains approximately 60  

different species distributed among all the continents, 

mostly in the northern hemisphere. The white stink-

wood grows wild in eastern and southern Africa. In 

the forests there, the tree grows to a considerable 

height, while in open areas its size is limited.

yeLLow PoinciAnA



202 / 203   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

common name:

 yellow Poinciana, yellow Flame

hebrew name: 

תטמוקמ תיטלש shiltit mekumetet 

Scientific name: 

Peltophorum dubium

Arabic name:  

دعجم مروفوتلب


Fabaceae (Caesalpiniaceae)

A large tree whose crown turns bright yellow 

when it is in bloom. The gray trunk is fissured at  

its base and smooth farther up. The branches grow 

out horizontally to form a wide, round shape. Its 

bipinnate (twice-compound) leaves are composed  

of small deep green leaflets that resemble the  

leaves of its relative – the royal poinciana.

The yellow poinciana is a semi-deciduous tree.  

In its native South America it is evergreen, but 

in colder regions (including most of Israel), it sheds  

its leaves. In summer, when it blooms in deep  

yellow, its radiant beauty is irresistible. Its flower  

petals are wrinkled. After it blooms, the tree becomes 

covered with a multitude of flat brown pods.

The yellow poinciana is strong and grows quickly; 

due to its striking bloom and the shade it provides,  

it is a common ornamental tree on boulevards and  

in gardens. In Israel, it was extensively used along 

boulevards and streets in the 1970s and 80s but, 

because its shallow roots can become aggressive 

when mature, today it is planted primarily in large  

gardens and parks. 

204 / 205   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

The Weizmann Institute Logo:  

the Tree of Life

It is thought that the original drawing of the tree 

of life, which became the basis of the logo for the 

Daniel Sieff Research Institute (1934) and, after it,  

the Weizmann Institute, was the work of the  

German-Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn, who 

planned, among other things, Weizmann House. He 

may have been assisted in the design of the lettering 

by the typographer Francesca Baruch. 

In 1982, the logo was updated by Asher Oron, 

and in 1994, it received an additional update in 

the Institute’s Graphics Department, led by Haya 

Yoskovitch. The official form of the logo used 

today was set by Sharon Murro and the staff of the 

Publications and Media Relations Department in 2001. 

The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of 

the leading basic research institutions worldwide 

in all areas of the natural and exact sciences. Its 

18 departments are organized into five faculties: 

Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, 

Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biology. In addi-

tion, there are the Feinberg Graduate School (the 

Institute’s university branch) and the Davidson 

Institute of Science Education, the educational 

branch of the Institute.

Scientists from different disciplines come 

together on a campus that encourages  

interactions between them, and these encoun-

ters lead to fruitful collaborations between 

people working in wildly different fields. At any 

given moment on the Weizmann campus, some 

1,200 research projects are being carried out on 

the cutting edge of science.

The Weizmann Institute grew out of the 

modest Daniel Sieff Research Institute, founded 

in 1934 by Israel and Rebecca Sieff of the United 

Kingdom in memory of their son. The driving 

force behind its establishment was the Institute’s 

first President, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a noted 

chemist who for years headed the Zionist move-

ment and later became the first President of 

Israel. In 1949, in honor of Dr. Weizmann’s 75



birthday, with the blessings of the Sieff family, 

the Institute was renamed and formally  

dedicated as the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Today’s Weizmann Institute campus of more 

than 100 buildings sprawls over an area of 

300 acres (1.2 sq km). About one-third of the 

Institute's budget is funded by the Israeli govern-

ment. All the rest comes from research grants won 

by Institute scientists, donations and royalties.

Industrial applications, medications and  

diagnostic methods and more that were  

developed at the Institute improve the quality  

of life for millions of people.

Following his visit to the planned site of  

the Institute in 1933, Chaim Weizmann wrote, 

“…there was not a tree or blade of grass to 

adorn the vast courtyard ... and I had before my 

eyes the green lawns of English and American 

universities and scientific academies, and 

thought that it would be showing a lamentable 

lack of aesthetic feeling if we merely planked 

down the buildings and did nothing with the 


Weizmann Institute of Science

Our Backs to the Cypresses

Lea goldberg

Our backs are to the cypresses. We hide

the hills behind our homes

ashamed to see the stars

we rush into the rustling streets

lest our hearts become entangled

in open space.


And so we live

in closed rooms

and in the city outskirts strapped

with telephone and telegraph wires –

far from everything we innocently loved –

within time, beyond our selves.

Translated by Rachel Tzvia Back

206 / 207   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

What the Tree Has

100 trees at the  

Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s dream was fulfilled, 

thanks in large part to the efforts of his right-

hand man, Meyer Weisgal, who held various 

positions at the Institute, including Chairman 

of the Workers’ Committee (1954-1967) and 

President of the Institute (1967-1970). Weisgal  

constantly strove for the best for the Institute. 

Leading architects, including Arie Elhanani 

(1898-1985), were invited to design the build-

ings. Elhanani also played an important role 

in setting the picturesque character of the 


Elhanani conceived the first master plan 

for the Weizmann Institute in 1947. Although 

this plan was never carried out, the Institute’s 

buildings were constructed, in accordance 

with his proposal, in the style of “exhibition 

pavilions” along its boulevards. Yehiel Paldi, 

a landscape architect, who was head gar-

dener at the Sieff Institute and the Weizmann 

Institute, was also involved in substantial parts 

of the Institute’s landscape design. Landscape 

architect Shlomo Weinberg-Oren, along with 

Erich Mendelsohn, designed the Weizmann 

House garden.

In 1953, Lipa Yahalom and Dan Zur arrived 

at the Institute and brought with them an 

“Israeli“ approach to landscape design. They 

insisted on continuity in the language  

of the design, still visible in the Institute’s  

gardens today. Their visionary work later 

earned them an Israel Prize.

The character of the Institute’s landscape 

was also influenced by the Experimental 

Agricultural Station (also called the Agricultural 

Research Station) on whose grounds the Sieff 

Institute was established in 1934. The founder 

and director of the station was Yitzhak Elazari 

Volcani, after whom today’s Volcani Institute 

of Agricultural Research is named. The Volcani 

Institute carries on the tradition begun by 

the Experimental Agricultural Station. The 

station’s staff, including Prof. Otto Warburg, 

Prof. Chanan Oppenheimer, Prof. Hillel 

Oppenheimer and Dr. Israel Gindel, planted 

a variety of unique subtropical fruit trees

including mango, avocado and others, on 

the Institute’s grounds. Thanks to their work, 

many kinds of subtropical fruit flourish in Israel 


Index of trees: 

African Tulip Tree Spathodea campanulata 4, 5

Alexandra Palm Archontophoenix alexandrae 6, 7

American Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis 8, 9

American Persimmon Diospyros virginiana 10, 11

Atemoya Annona atemoya 12, 13

Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum 14, 15

Bangalay Eucalyptus botryoides 16, 17

Benjamin Tree Ficus benjamina 18, 19

Brazilian Coral Tree Erythrina falcate 20, 21

Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius 22, 23

Cabbage Palm Sabal palmetto 24, 25

Calabrian Pine Pinus brutia 26, 27

Canary Island Date Palm Phoenix canariensis 28, 29

Canary Island Pine Pinus canariensis 30, 31

Carrotwood Cupaniopsis anacardioides 32, 33

Chinese Flame Tree Koelreuteria bipinnata, 34, 35

Chinese Weeping Cypress Cupressus funebris 36, 37

Christ’s Thorn Jujube Ziziphus spina-christi 38, 39

Cockspur Coral Tree Erythrina crista-galli 40, 41

Common Bamboo Bambusa vulgaris 42, 43

Common Screwpine Pandanus utilis 44, 45

Coral Tree Erythrina corallodendrum 46, 47

Coral Tree 20, 21, 40, 41, 46, 47

Cork Oak Quercus suber 48, 49

Cypress 14, 15, 36, 37, 52, 53, 108, 109, 110, 111, 114, 115, 192, 193

Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera 50, 51

Dwarf Italian Cypress Cupressus sempervirens ‘totem’ 52, 53

Eastern Redbud Cercis Canadensis 54, 55

Eucalyptus 16, 17, 64, 65, 152, 153, 172, 173, 178, 179, 186, 187

European Hackberry Celtis australis 56, 57

Feijoa Feijoa sellowiana (Acca sellowiana) 58, 59

208 / 209   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

Fern Tree Schizolobium parahyba 60, 61


 18, 19, 62, 63, 86, 87, 88, 89, 162, 163, 182, 183

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Ficus lyrata (pandurata) 62, 63

Flat-Topped Yate Eucalyptus occidentalis 64, 65

Florida Fiddlewood Citharexylum spinosum 66, 67

Floss Silk Tree Chorisia speciosa 68, 69

Frangipani Plumeria rubra 70, 71

Golden Shower Tree Cassia fistula 72, 73

Guadalupe Palm Brahea (Erythea) edulis 74, 75

Hairy Bird’s Eye Alectryon tomentosum 76, 77

Hispaniola Palmetto Sabal domingensis (umbraculifera) 78, 79 

Holm Oak Quercus ilex 80, 81

Ice-Cream Bean Inga edulis (vera) 82, 83

Illawarra Flame Tree Brachychiton acerifolius 84, 85

Indian Banyan Ficus benghalensis 86, 87

Indian Laurel Fig Ficus microcarpa (retusa) 88, 89

Italian Stone Pine Pinus pinea 90, 91

Jacaranda Jacaranda mimosifolia (acutifolia) 92, 93

Jambul Syzygium jambolanum (cumini) 94, 95

Japanese Persimmon Diospyros kaki 96, 97

Japanese Privet Ligustrum japonicum 98, 99

Kaffir Plum Harpephyllum caffrum 100, 101

Lychee Litchi chinensis 102, 103

Malagasy Sago Palm Cycas thouarsii 104, 105

Mango Mangifera indica 106, 107

Mediterranean Cypress Cupressus sempervirens ‘horizontalis’ 108, 109; Cupressus sempervirens ‘stricta’ 110, 111

Mediterranean Fan Palm Chamaerops humilis 112, 113

Mexican Cypress Cupressus lusitanica 114, 115

Mexican Fan Palm Washingtonia robusta 116, 117

Mexican Rose Dombeya cayeuxii (rosea) 118, 119

Mount Tabor Oak Quercus ithaburensis 120, 121

Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla (excelsa) 122, 123

Nyasaland Mahogany Khaya nyasica 124, 125

Oak 48, 49, 80, 81, 120, 121, 170, 171

Olive Olea europaea 126, 127

Ombú Phytolacca dioica 128, 129

Orchid Tree Bauhinia variegate 130, 131

Oriental Plane Tree Platanus orientalis 132, 133

Oval Kumquat Fortunella margarita (Citrus japonica ‘margarita’) 134, 135

Palm 6, 7, 24, 25, 28, 29, 50, 51, 74, 75, 78, 79, 104, 105, 112, 113, 116, 117, 168, 169

Pecan Carya illinoinensis 136, 137

Pepper Tree 22, 23, 198, 199

Pine 26, 27, 30, 31, 44, 45, 90, 91, 122, 123

Pink Ipê Tabebuia impetiginosa (ipe) 138, 139

Plum 94, 95, 100, 101, 144, 145

Pomegranate Punica granatum 140, 141

Pride of Bolivia Tipuana tipu 142, 143

Purple-Leaf Plum Prunus cerasifera ‘atropurpurea’ (‘pissardii’) 144, 145

Queensland Lacebark Brachychiton discolor 146, 147

Queensland Umbrella Tree Schefflera (Brassaia) actinophylla 148, 149

Red Silk Cotton Tree Bombax malabaricum (ceiba) 150, 151

River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis 152, 153

River Tea Tree Melaleuca bracteata ‘Revolution Gold’ 154, 155

Rosewood Dalbergia sissoo 156, 157

Royal Poinciana Delonix regia 158, 159

Rusty Fig Ficus rubiginosa 160, 161

Sacred Fig Ficus religiosa 162, 163

Sapodilla Manilkara zapota 164, 165

Sausage Tree Kigelia pinnata 166, 167

Senegal Date Palm Phoenix reclinata 168, 169

Silk Oak Grevillea robusta 170, 171

Silver-Leaved Ironbark Eucalyptus melanophloia 172, 173

Smooth-Shell Macadamia Nut Macadamia integrifolia 174, 175

Southern Magnolia Magnolia grandiflora 176, 177

Spotted Gum Eucalyptus (Corymbia) maculata 178, 179

Surinam Cherry Eugenia uniflora 180, 181

210 / 211   100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

Sycamore Fig Ficus sycomorus 182, 183

Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Calia secundiflora) 184, 185

Tuart Eucalyptus gomphocephala 186, 187

Victorian Box Pittosporum undulatum 188, 189

Weeping Bottlebrush Callistemon viminalis 190, 191

White Cypress-Pine Callitris columellaris (glaucophylla) (huegelii) 192, 193

White Floss Silk Tree Chorisia insignis 194, 195

White Mulberry Morus alba 196, 197

White Peruvian Pepper Schinus molle 198, 199

White Stinkwood Celtis Africana 200, 201

Yellow Poinciana Peltophorum dubium 202, 203

Index of Poems: 

A Recipe for Kumquat

 Jam, Lior Maayan 135


, Rainer Maria Rilke 55

Buddha in Glory

, Rainer Maria Rilke 163

from Come Away, William Shakespeare 109


, Edna St. Vincent Millet 185

Ficus Tree

, Dan Caspi 161

Give Me What the Tree Has

, Nathan Zach 3


, Traditional 95

Mango Walk,

 Traditional 107

from My Pretty Rose Tree, William Blake 119

from On Marriage, Kahlil Gibran 53

Our Backs to the Cypresses

, Lea Goldberg 207

Palm Tree

, Rabindranath Tagore 29


, Lea Goldberg 91

from The Apple Orchard, Rainer Maria Rilke 127

from The Banyan Tree, Rabindranath Tagore 87

from The Chanpa Flower, Rabindranath Tagore 71

from The Oak, Alfred, Lord Tennyson 81

Winter Trees

, William Carlos Williams 137

Young Sycamore

, William Carlos Williams 183

What the Tree Has / 100 trees at the Weizmann Institute of Science

Editor: Yivsam Azgad

Researched and written by: Israel Drory

Assistant editor: Judy Halper

Copy editor: Evelyn Katrak

Translation: Hever Translation Service, Prof. Abed Gera, Judy Halper, Khaled Hamudi

Graphic design: Rickey Benjamin

Production assistant: Naama Chomski Pesso

Poetry research: Judy Halper, Ariela Saba

Photography: Naama Luria Arbili, Haim Ziv

Additional photography: Pablo Chercasky, Yuval Doron, Danny Elmelich, Avigail Heller, 

Nurit Hermon, Sima Kagan, Nissim Pines

Special thanks to: Dr. Ron Milo, Danny Elmelich and Moni Ziv

Printing: AR printing

Give Me What the Tree Has by Natan Zach was published in Israeli PoetryA Contemporary Anthology.

Translations: Warren Bargad, Stanley F. Chyet, Indiana University Press, 1986

Pines by Lea Goldberg was published in Selected Poetry and Drama. Translated and introduced by Rachel 

Tzvia Back. New Milford, CT: Toby Press, 2005.

Ficus Tree by Dan Caspi was published in Internal Medicine, Yahdav, 1991. Translation by the author

A Recipe for Kumquat Jam by Lior Maayan was published in Shirat Hamada, an anthology from the creative 

writing competition for scientists in memory of Ofer Lider

Our Backs to the Cypresses by Lea Goldberg was published in Michael Kovner's Childhood Landscapes

Museum of Art, Ein Harod, 2007

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