A tree of utmost rarity in Israel was planted in the Knesset gardens last week, as part of the swearing-in of the 22nd Knesset.
Officials know of only a single specimen of ficus palmata — a type of wild fig tree — that remains in the wild in the country. in the mountains near Eilat. Jerusalem’s Botanical Gardens have sought in recent years to breed it in order to prevent its extinction in Israel.
The planting of the ficus is part of a new tradition in which rare and endangered flora is planted in the Knesset gardens, the Haaretz daily reported.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the legislature was proud to help preserve Israel’s endangered vegetation.
“We will make the ficus palmata a visiting point for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Knesset,” he said. “I am hopeful that raising awareness to its endangerment will help in the important mission of preserving it.”