Here's an interesting article about origin of many seeds we grow in
Wildflowers of Israel
by Leslie Berliant, Contributing Writer
Lupinus Mountain Blue. Below: Ammi Visnaga. Photos courtesy SeedCount
Enter any Trader Joes grocery store in Southern California and you
are likely to find vibrant sunflowers with golden orange leaves and a
dark center among the bouquets and potted plants. What many customers
might not realize is that the sunflower being sold is called Jerusalem
Gold, which is grown in Santa Barbara from a seed native to Israel.
Many of the cucumbers, bell peppers, basil and tomatoes grown in
Southern California also come from Israeli seeds. Even some vegetables
and herbs imported from places like Mexico come from seeds that
originate in Israel.
Israeli agriculture has had a big impact around the world, even if few
people know about it. And that is true in Southern California, too,
where a Mediterranean climate provides ideal conditions for flora from
the Jewish state.
(rest of article with pictures at <http://www.jewishjournal.com /
Is it native to Israel? I mean in the sense that its first know cultivation
was in Israel from wild stock. I don't know.
This is misleading as it allows one to think that these plants originated in
Israel. Now Iraelis may be responsible for some fine cultivars (such as the
Ha Ogen (sp?) melon) but tomatoes and peppers originated in the New World.
Actually, I'm fairly certain that sunflowers were North American natives,
A whole host of what have become some of our most commonly consumed
vegetables were originally domesticated by the native people of the
The advantage of seed production in Israel, for many of these species, is
the *lack* of wild ancestors or closely related native plants. That and, most
likely, easy isolation from large scale farming of the same vegetables.
FWIW, I notice that Japan and Holland turn up as countries origins for quite
a few of my seed packets.
Pat in Plymouth MI
"Vegetables are like bombs packed tight with all kinds of important
It's still going on; Israel is a world leader in this work. Current
based in part on the work of one of the great pioneering Israeli
agronomists, Aaron Aaronson.
Lots of info on-line, about him, plus considerable material in books
about the early efforts of the chalutzim,
These young pioneers, some just in their teens and twenties, escaping
from the pogroms of Europe,
suffered a terrible death rate from malaria and other ailments,
overwork and malnutrition,
but they persevered; they drained the swamps and "made the desert
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