Zilla spinosa, Spiny Zilla,
Hebrew: סילון קוצני, Arabic: سلة , شبرم

Scientific name:  Zilla spinosa (L.) Prantl
Common name:  Spiny Zilla
Hebrew name:  סילון קוצני
Arabic name:  سلة , شبرم
Plant Family:  Cruciferae (Brassicaceae), מצליבים

ישראל, פרחים, צמחי בר בישראל, תמונות, טבע

Life form:  Chaemaephyte, perennial, suffruticose to shrubby, spinescent woody undershrub
Stems:  Up to 80-170 cm height, 100-150cm width; it may also be a small woody plant not exceeding 20-30 cm
Leaves:  Alternate, entire
Flowers:  Pink, violet petals
Fruits / pods:  chickpea-like
Flowering Period:  March, April, May, June
Habitat:  Wadis in hot desert areas, Thermophilous plants
Distribution:   The Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts
Phytogeo:  Saharo-Sindian
Summer shedding:  Perenatring

ישראל, פרחים, צמחי בר בישראל, תמונות, טבע
Location: Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop)


Derivation of the botanical name: Derivation of the botanical name:
Zilla, from "silla", an arabic word denoting a spine, named by Peter Forsskål ((1732-1763), author abbreviation Forssk.); silon is ‘thorn’.
spinosus, spinos, "thorny", refers to its spiny nature.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Prantl is used to indicate Karl Anton Eugen Prantl (1849 – 1893), a German botanist.
Zilla, or Silla is the Arabic name for a very spiny and very noticeable plant. Zilla spinosa is growing in the Sharo-Arabian extreme deserts. Zillah (Tsillâh, צלה, shade), and her sister, Adah became the wives of their third cousin, Lamech. Zillah was named for this plant.
Zilla spinosa are usually in parts of wadi beds that are covered with alluvial deposits. It is a short leaved herbaceous naked, bluish-waxy perennial or an annual with a roundish canopy. Their flowers are light violet. Fruits are chickpea-like. When the plant is mature it is pulled out of its bed and goes bouncing through the desert.
Zilla spinosa is a commonly used plant in Bedouin Households of St Katherine’s Protectorate; 60% of the dry boiled plants are used for Urinary tract diseases and 6% is collected for fuel.

Bible resources:
  1. Genesis 4:23
    Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.
  2. Ezekiel 28:24
    No longer will the people of Israel have malicious neighbors who are painful briers (silon=thorn) and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

ישראל, פרחים, צמחי בר בישראל, תמונות, טבע
Location: Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop)