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Important Plant Areas of Palestine

Number of IPAs: 6

Biogeographical zones: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian (semi-desert) and extreme desert

Arid hills with grassy areas

Palestine is situated in Southwest Asia in the east of the Mediterranean basin. The targeted area (5800 square km) has 1600 vascular plant species – tremendously high plant diversity for such a small area. It has three biogeographical areas: Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian (semi-desert) and extreme desert. Many habitats present are associated with the climatic transition between Mediterranean and extreme desert.

Plant species

6 IPAs have been identified in Palestine. 3 contain single country endemics and all sites contain species that have very restricted distributions but cross adjacent borders for example Iris haynei in Palestine and Israel. The current distribution of many of these locally endemic species is not known.

The IPAs of Palestine are dominated by maquis (chaparral) vegetation – both dense and open, with Pistacia palaestinaP. lentiscusRhamnus palaestinusQuercus calliprinos and Q. boisseri, frequently interspersed with ancient olive groves. The softer leaved garrigue (phyrgana) with Cistus incanusC. salvifoliousSmilax aspera; and many medicinal and aromatic species such as Origanum syriacaSaturja thymbra and Teucrium spp. is found on some IPAs.

Further information

IPA data

Data set

Important Plant Areas of the south and east Mediterranean region

Find Palestine on pages 44-47