Eig, Alexander

views updated


EIG, ALEXANDER (1895–1938), botanist. Born in Minsk, Belorussia, Eig was taken to Palestine at the age of 14. During World War i he volunteered for the Jewish Legion, and after the war devoted himself to the study of botany, specializing in the vegetation of Palestine. He worked for some years as a traveling librarian, and on his travels acquired a rich and varied collection of plants and grasses which he classified. From 1926 to 1929, at the invitation of Otto Warburg, Eig headed the department of botany of the Agricultural Experimental Station, which was transferred in 1929 to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eig began investigating the geobotany of Palestine, and in 1931 published the first table of phytogeographic regions and the first phytogeographical map of the country. During the same period he also compiled, with the help of his colleagues, the first Hebrew catalog of the flora of Palestine. From 1931 to 1933, he traveled in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq doing further research. In addition to his scientific work at the Hebrew University, he continued to interest himself in general botanical research and published descriptions of many new species of plants. In 1937 he was appointed lecturer in botany at the Hebrew University and devoted much of his time to the development of its botany department. His collection of plants served as a basis for the department's herbarium. His important works include A Contribution to the Knowledge of the Flora of Palestine (1926), The Vegetation of Palestine (1927), Les elements et les groupes phytogeographiques dans la flore palestinienne (2 vols., 1931–32), and The Vegetation of the Light Soils Belt of the Coastal Plain of Palestine (1939).


M. Zohary, in: Palestine Journal of Botany, Jerusalem Series, 1 (1938), 114–24, includes list of his publications.