Rana Beiruti

Native Plants 101Course in collaboration with Tayyun Collective

The Native Plants 101 course, organized in collaboration with Deema Assaf from TAYYŪN, offered an immersive introduction and exploration into 24 indigenous plant species, uncovering their ecological significance and diverse applications.

Excursion to Dibbeen Forest Reserve as part of the Native Plants 101 course.

The ‘Native Plants 101’ course is an ode to native plants; the indigenous plants of our land, and the ancient rulers of the Jordanian landscape. It presents the science behind and the fascinating stories of how our native species experience the world—their inner lives, intelligence, behaviors, secret communications, and survival mechanisms.

Flower of the native Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) tree.

Observation walk in Birgesh Forest with Nochi Motuharu focused on seeing, touching, and smelling the soil.

Samples of native oak species

This included the collection of specimens, identification of plant characteristics, and discussion of their natural habitats, social life, ecological value, and various medicinal, culinary, and practical uses. Course participants also learned propagation protocols for selected species, as well as how to record and keep plant specimens and seeds for the purpose of starting an herbarium and seed bank.

Throughout this course, we explored Jordan's native plants, unraveling the remarkable tales of indigenous species as they navigate their world— from their intricate inner lives to their survival mechanisms and secret communications. Our sessions fused classroom discussions, enriching field trips, and engaging hands-on activities, thoroughly covering 24 tree and shrub species found in Amman and surrounding areas.

Reviewing samples and seedlings of native plants during a meet-up in the Dibbeen Forest Reserve.

There is a common misconception that everything “green” is good—that all trees are equally valuable. However, a growing body of research shows that the introduction of foreign plants and the subsequent loss of native biodiversity is linked to serious environmental and economic drawbacks, including reduced water availability and an accelerated release of carbon back into the atmosphere.

A visit to the agroforestry department

Nevertheless, a palette of plants is still being copied by landscape designers across the globe; jacarandas, washingtonias, trees-of-heaven, and wisterias line up the streets of different cities at an increasing rate. The allure of the exotic has, for long, replaced our sense of the local’s intrinsic value, as our cities are increasingly defaulting to imported materials, borrowed typologies, and globalized experiences and lifestyles.