New book by professor of plant biology explores plants of Palestine

Dr. Jamil Harb, a professor of plant biology at Birzeit University, and Hussam Eddin Iseed, an agricultural expert, have published a new book entitled “Palestine’s Original Plants: Edible Local Summer-Winter Annals,” issued by the Union Agricultural Work Committees.

The book represents the first study of Palestine’s native winter and summer annual plants. As Harb notes, the study is only the first part of a series focused on Palestine’s native vegetation. The second part, he said, will explore perennial plants, including trees and shrubs, as well as medicinal and aromatic plants.

The second part of the book will be published in cooperation with researchers from the University of Berlin. According to Harb, the initial findings of the study show that medicinal and aromatic plants can protect from serious diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular illnesses.

As for why he chose to focus on native Palestinian plants in particular, Harb points out that they have a genetic ability to resist difficult climate conditions, like extreme heat and drought. “These plants are a true treasure,” he explained, “especially amid the current era of climate change that is negatively affecting Palestine and the world.”

Based upon his lengthy study of Palestinian plants, Harb advised Palestinians to take advantage of native plants that can grow without synthetic fertilizers or chemicals and are high in vitamins and anti-oxides.