Ok, if you believe in a creator and an order to the universe then this probably means something. Even if not, it’s still mad cool.

It’s known as the ultimate survivor. It grows wild in Israel, thriving in the harsh dry conditions that would kill many other plants.

And what do the cells of this hardy survivor – a native Israeli Persian buttercup – look like under a microscope?

A Star of David.

Dr. Rina Kamenetsky discovered this phenomena while trying to understand the survival mechanisms of the bulb of this flower which is “also known in botanical circles as a type of ‘resurrection plant’…meaning that it can live without water, and is ‘resurrected’ when water becomes available.” (water=long standing symbol for Torah, flower with long standing jewish symbol for cells, wait til Aish HaTorah gets ahold of this one!).

Kamenetsky and her Canadian colleagues discovered that the storage roots of this particular Persian buttercup have a special mechanism for resisting drought and heat that is found in no other plant to date – a finding they published recently in the journal New Phytologist.

But Kamenetsky also found an additional surprise: under a microscope the cells of the root assume the form of interlocking Stars of David.

“We have never before seen a structure like this in the cell walls of plants,” she says. “This is a very rare structure – maybe even unique.”

Turns out that the Magen David-shaped cell walls of this particular plant serve as a protective shield moderating water levels during both dry and rainy seasons allowing the flower to survive in extremely harsh conditions.

See? Mad cool. Read the full article from Israel21c here

On a related note:

Kamenetsky, who was born in Kazakhstan, immigrated to Israel in 1990 and has since made an international name for herself in the field of ornamental horticulture – developing native plants into ornamental crops which can be grown commercially and sold as cut flowers or potted plants.

Israel is at the cutting edge of this field. Some 20-40 percent of the flowers Israel markets every year are new varieties, notes Kamenetsky, adding that no other country but Holland has such a high percentage of novel varieties.

About the author

Laya Millman


  • Great post. Beautiful image…looks like the icing Star of David on those israel day cupcakes we used to get in elementary school.

  • Hey Tiff, I see you like the science-y quality of the post! 😉 You big nerd!!! But wait, I’m an even bigger nerd cause I actually checked out the original article in New Phytologist! (Quite a let-down, actually…)

  • What I’m wondering is what the hell kind of journal is New Phytologist?? Maybe I could get published there too…I still have those fibre images somewhere. Photoshop in a few religious symbols, add some flashy color and presto, I too am famous.
    Anyways, Patty, you know no one cares much about the micro-scale anymore… it’s so passe with it’s bigness.
    It’s 1, 000, 000 (000) nm!!! That’s still nano-scale, right?

  • Why? Is this freakin’ you out, TM? If it makes you feel better, Patty has just informed that the images in the actual article are less than convincing. I still like this post, but it’s all part of the game scientists play, you know milking it for all it’s worth. We’re publicity whores that way. And btw, if this kind of thing blows your mind, trust me, there are way crazier things out there…

  • Tiff, it’s blowing my mind because the likelihood of a star of David appearing in nature seems, uh, nano-miniscule-like. Attention-whoring I understand, but stars of David in nature, or crosses and crescents for that matter, might force me to re-evaluate my relationship with, you know, the Big Guy.

  • TM, you’re too easy. But I agree nano-miniscule-like probabilities or not, it is pretty cool. Still, I don’t know if this warrants a re-evaluation of your relationship with god. Afterall, it is only a picture. I mean under a microscope liquid crystals show a maltese cross pattern…The images are beautiful but they are not going to me re-evaluate my relationship with the Big J.

  • *The Middle processes the concept of a “maltese cross pattern”*

    *The Middle’s heart begins to beat faster*

    *The Middle suddenly sees the Truth*

    *The Middle now worships Maltesers*

  • First of all–TM, think about it. The reason the Magen David was used in the first place was because of it’s strength…so the shape here too just kinda, well, y’know what I mean. And I saw this on earlier this week and thought it was mad cool, too.

  • Haha! You are a funny one. I think I might be able to bow before the Maltesers as well.

  • Oh, and Abe, RebbeTShirts is disappointing. There is so much potential there and it’s just…pictures? But they’re hysterical anyway.

  • Dina, great answer. I mean, did god hand the jews the star of david symbol? Nah. Or did we just adopt it from pagans or nature? Because you know, it’s pretty and pointy.

  • The Middle is ripping off the GrandMuffti with his third person self references.

  • Is this the only photo available of the cells? Because from it looks like the formation of the cells is making the star of David shape rather than the actual cell itself. If you stick some circles in an image and crop it right, it can also look like a magen david.

    Whether that is tru or not. A cell formation makign a magen david is pretty cool too!

  • The Middle does not rip off Grandmuffti. The Middle has been familiar with the self-referential 3rd person usage for many years and deems it necessary to use at times. Anyway, The Middle wonders two things: 1. will more people be pissed off now that they realize what TM stands for? 2. Why does Grandmuffti take this as a negative instead of flattery? The Middle prays and hopes that Grandmuffti isn’t insecure about his online persona. 😉

  • Grandmuffti is insecure about absolutely nothing whatsoever. He always knew you were The Middle. It didn’t piss him off then and it doesn’t piss him off now.

    Though, in light of the lack of uniqueness of 3rd person self reference, Muffti is thinking of switching to only 2nd person refrences to himself. Confusion will reign.

  • Well, since it seems that I’m the only one with actual access to scientific journals (and the only one willing to check out the article), it seems it is my duty to reveal to you that D is right. In fact it just seems that if you happen to have 6 cells surrounding another cell, it may look like a star of David. But lot of times you have 5 or 7 cells! Also, none of the images in the actual paper look like a star of David (maybe a really lopsided one) and nowhere do they mention any relation… So sorry to burst your bubble, guys, but I don’t really think there is much to it here! But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and you may see what you wish 😉

  • Oh, and Tiff, so with you on the publicity whore stuff. Don’t you know it, baby! What I wouldn’t do for my name on a paper 😉

  • but then patty, why have they never seen this before? I mean, the less less-scientific article i read this in said

    “We have never before seen a structure like this in the cell walls of plants,” she says. “This is a very rare structure – maybe even unique.”

    what? not true?

  • 1. TM’s line about worshipping Maltesers made me literally (ie, not just compu-LOL mode) laugh out loud—in fact, so loud that students before classes came to see what I was laughing about (and since I teach at a public school, I couldn’t tell them—though I was looking at the site on my own time).
    2. Yes, we should all refer to ourselves in second person, but then would we capitalize the “Y” in “you” or would that be offensive?

    “You sat in a chair to read Jewlicious; you read TM’s Malteser comment; you laughed really hard.”

    Ok, well, that actually works a lot better than I thought it would. But what if the speaker did something really strange:
    “Then, you donated thousands of dollars to research cells in order to discover (or photoshop) Jewish symbols”
    Well, “I’m” not doing that, but “you” just might.

  • Yeah, I don’t know, Laya… Maybe they just meant the plants ability to survive drought and the particular types of cells that the plant has developed to do that… You know, the media are publicity-whores too!

  • No, no, no…you don’t need to do keychains, I love the tee-shirts! I just think they would be cooler if there were more to them like a quote of theirs or a quote about them or photoshop the picture a bit…don’t know.

  • and what do rebbe tshirts have to do with this topics? A bit off topic perhaps? A kinda comment spamming maybe?

  • As much as I love Israel, I must say that I’m skeptical when seeing only ONE _cropped_ photo. Where are the “two or three witnesses?”