[Glossary] [Geographical List] [Abbreviations] [Analytical Key] [Prev] [Contents] [Next]


In the Revision of Dr. Post's Flora of Syria, Palestine and Sinai, but one object has been constantly kept in mind : to make it thoroughly practical in every detail and consequently a real Handbook for the general reader, as well as for the student of the Botany of the Levant. Realizing the value of illustrations, as large a number as possible of drawings made from the plants themselves, have been inserted in the text.

During the 36 years which have passed since the printing of the first edition, very much progress has been made in Botany as in all the sciences. In order to bring the nomenclature into conformity with the International Rules as adopted by the Botanical Congress at Vienna in 1905, a very large number of the Latin names of plants have been modified or changed. In many instances further study has necessitated the transference of a species from the genus in which it was first described to another genus. The name of the original author is then given in parenthesis, and the author of the new combination follows the parenthesis : e.g., Ervum Ervilia L. has been placed under the genus Vicia and described by Willdenow as Vicia Ervilia (L.) Willd. In all such cases in this book the name of the original genus is added in a following parenthesis. However when a species is reduced to a variety, the name of the original author of the species is placed in parenthesis. but often no further explanation is added, e.g., Heliotropium europaeum L. var. tenuiflorum (Guss.) Boiss. implies that this variety was first described as H. tenuiflorum Guss. i.e., as a species. A selection of synonyms has been in many cases added, preference being given to such as are to be found, in place of the names now accepted, in older books giving, lists of names of plants from Syria and Palestine.

The original spelling of a name by Linnaeus or others has been retained, in accordance with Art. 57 of the International Rules, except in the case of a typographic or orthographic error, e.g., Pyrus, Malcomia, and Mathiola. In such instances the name in common use follows in parenthesis.

The most common names. of plants in English and Arabic have been added after the Latin name. The older English name has been given the preference and to this end Miller's Gardener's Dictionary, as revised by Martyn, has been of great use. The Arabic names (printed in italics) are followed in each case by the name of the authority for that name. Only names with such authority and which are in common use are intentionally given. For a few of the plants, chiefly those mentioned in, the Bible a Hebrew name is added, but the frequent references to Löw's Die Flora der Juden give many additional Hebrew names.

Following the name of each plant references are given to the most important books which contain descriptions of the plants in our district or in the adjacent countries : Boissier's Flora Orientalis, Halacsy's Conspectus Florae Graecae, and Muschler's Manual Flora of Egypt. The Roman figure gives the volume of Boissier, e.g., i. 2 indicates vol. i, P. 2.

Besides the native and naturalized Plants, those trees and shrubs in frequent cultivation, and a few of the very common herbs in cultivation are included. The names of 'plants not native (aliens) except those thoroughly naturalized are printed in italics. Naturalized plants are starred. 142 families, 955 genera, about 4200 species are represented.

The localities where the plants may be found are taken primarily from the Post Herbarium now in the American University of Beirut, but additional locations are cited from the various books which have to do with our district. The authority for the location follows the locality.

Arabia Petraea in some authors includes all the country south of Palestine : Idumea, the desert of ut- Tîh, sometimes called the Lesser or Southern Desert, and the peninsula of Sinai. In Boissier the name is used in this broad sense, hence it is impossible to tell to which of the three divisions the plant spoken of belongs. In this book-, however, except with reference to Boissier's plants Arabia Petraea is restricted to the mountain region between the Dead Sea and 'Akabah of which Petra is the centre. No. (North) - includes the country north of Tripoli as far as Mar'ash and Aintab; Syr. des. all of the Syrian Desert except the part in the neighborhood of Palmyra. The Hauran extends from south of Damascus to Dar', including Jabal-ud-Drûz. No change has been made in the boundary lines separating the different states of our district in order to make them correspond to the present boundaries, consequently Syria as here used includes a portion of southern Turkey, and Palestine refers to the portion of country included between the river Litani, Mt. Hermon, the Syrian Desert and Wdi-'Arîsh, thus including the Jawân, Gilead and Moab, as 'far as the south end of the Dead Sea.

An attempt has been made to simplify and improve the keys, but only slight changes have been effected in the descriptions. The characteristic features of the plant in question have been emphasized by introducing them in the first part of the description, as well as by the use of italics. In some instances where two species resemble each otherw closely and so might easily be confused, a note stating the most evident distinguishing marks, has been placed at the end of the paragraph.

A system of arrangement of the Families and Genera, somewhat between the two systems now in use, the Bentham-Hooker and the Engler-Prantl, will probably be devised in the future, but exactly what form it will take no one at present can foresee. The sequence of De Candolle is followed in the main by Boissier in the Flora Orientalis, and since for a long time to come this work will continue to be the outstanding authority, it seems best to follow implicitly the order as given in the Flora Orientalis, especially as the majority of books treating of the plants of Syria and Palestine have used it. In some cases the order of Genera in the first edition of our book was not exactly that of the Flora Orientalis and in all such cases the order in the revised edition is changed in order to bring this edition into conformity with Boissier.

The Bibliography includes all the works consulted in the preparation. of this book, as well as a few others which may be useful to the student. The Glossary is not exhaustive, but aims. to give the words not ordinarily found in a small dictionary. The Geographical List supplies locations in. most cases only for places not well known, and hence not found on the map. Others may be found in the List of Names in Syria, Palestine and Trans-Jordan published by the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the late Professor Alfred Fly Day, Professor of Botany in the. American. University, for his kindly assistance in the collection and translation of the Arabic names, including a considerable number of new names. The Revision was originally undertaken in collaboration with him and his advice and counsel freelygiven was of utmost value. Dr. A. Eig, Curator of the Herbarium in the Hebrew University at Jerusalem, and Mr. H. R. Oppenheimer, also of the Botanical Department, have very kindly assisted in the identification of some of the species mentioned. About one half of the illustrations have been drawn from specimens in the Post Herbarium by Mrs. Olga Holenkoff of Beirut, thus adding very materially to. the usefulness of ther present edition.

John Edward Dinsmore,

The American Colony, Jerusalem,
March 1, 1932.

[Glossary] [Geographical List] [Abbreviations] [Analytical Key] [Prev] [Contents] [Next]

Created by the Digital Documentation Center at AUB in collaboration with Al Mashriq of Høgskolen i Østfold, Norway.

980515 BL - Email: ddc-info@aub.edu.lb