The Tel Aviv University Botanic Gardens, with over 3,300 species of plants and trees, show off Israel’s location as a land bridge between Asia, Africa and Europe, which gave it its varied climate.
On any given day, schoolchildren, visitors from Israel and abroad, and researchers can be found strolling the shaded paths of the 2.5-hectare gardens, including the Noah Naftulsky Ecological Garden, perusing plants desert, oasis, coastal, Mediterranean, aquatic, and, in a greenhouse, tropical zones.
Introduced species can also be seen: some of the eucalyptus’ 750 species are on hand, as is the Acacia salinga, which reveals a riddle: When is a leaf not a leaf? The answer, as you can hear on a tour of the gardens, is in the acacia’s origins in Africa and adaptation in Australia, where its fringed leaflets disappeared and the joint near the stem became a leaf look-alike!
The visually impaired will especially enjoy the section with Braille signage, spiky cactus and sweet-smelling rosemary.
Among many surprises, you’ll learn that the outer bark of the cinnamon tree has no smell, and is related to the avocado. You’ll see some of the oldest species of plants on earth, whose seeds are not inside their fruit, and the “shy mimosa” that curls up when you touch it.
The Botanic Gardens are open to individuals free of charge Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For groups and guided tours, phone the Gardens’ director, Professor Jacob Garty at 03-640-9151.
For more information log on to the city's official site