Israeli high-school students able to generate thousands of Rumex seeds as part of class project, effectively saving it from extinction

Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad

A rare Israeli plant got a new lease on life recently, courtesy of a high-school science project.

According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report, students at the Environmental Leadership class at Ha’kfar Hayarok High School in central Israel have been able to produce seeds for Rumex Rothschildianus, which is on Israel’s endangered plants list.

Over the past few months, as part of a class science project, the students gathered a few dozen seeds of the rare plant, sprouted them in the school lab and eventually produced 100,000 seeds, effectively enabling the Rumex’ re-plantation en masse.

The seeds were given to the Israel Nature and National Parks Service, which is not planning to plant them in its parks.

NNPS officials said that the high quantity of seeds produced has given the plant a new lease on life, and once its re-introduction to nature proves successful – which the NNPA is certain it will be – the Rumex will be safely on its way out of the endangered plants list.

The students’ success has a global impact as well: Rumex Rothschildianus is indigenous to Israel and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Should the Rumex disappear from Israel’s landscape it will become extinct.

The project was part of the students’ “seeds bank,” created in collaboration with the NNPS and the Tel Aviv University Botanical Garden.

“Beyond bolstering the population of endangered plants, these students have shown that they are willing to assume responsibility for their environment,” Dr. Yoval Sapir, director of the Botanical Garden said.

In view of the project’s success, the Israel Nature and National Parks Service has decided to enlist the students’ help in the rescue attempts of other endangered plants.

The next plant to get their attention will be the Yellow Lupin (Lupinus luteus).

“This project aims to demonstrate how much we value the link between the community and the Earth,” Roni Shoshan, of Ha’kfar Hayarok, said.,7340,L-4248740,00.html