Botanising Israel, an epic adventure of war and wildflowers, part 6

Israels national collection of Oncocyclus iris is held at Ramat hanadiv the burial place of Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934). Edmond was a major figure in the establishment of the modern state of Israel and through his support for the Jewish community based in British mandate Palestine he enabled a safe haven for Jews fleeing Russia (during the post revolutionary chaos called the Third Aliyah) and Europe prior to the  Second World War. A major land owner in British Mandate Palestine Rothschild firmly believed in creating a unified Arab/Jewish state and famously wrote to the League of Nations “the struggle to put an end to the wandering Jew, could not have as its result, the creation of the Wandering Arab.” Alas history has since played its hand.

The Iris at Ramat Hanadiv are mostly held in behind the scenes propagation facilities but as part of the project the centre has set up a display garden to showcase the different species of Oncocyclus from Israel and its neighbouring countries. We visited expecting to see some Iris and we really were not dissapointed!

Ramat Hanadiv

The propagation area at Ramat Hanadiv just full of Iris

Signage in the Iris garden in Israels 3 national languages.

Signage in the Iris garden in Israels 3 national languages.

Iris atropurpurea flowering in Ramat Hanadiv's iris garden

Iris atropurpurea flowering in Ramat Hanadiv’s iris garden

 

The Iris mariae flowering in Ramat Hanadiv made me wonder how my very own plant of it was faring back home in North Wales.

The Iris mariae flowering in Ramat Hanadiv made me wonder how my very own plant of it was faring back home in North Wales.

Iris hermona

Iris hermona

Iris atrofusca

Iris atrofusca

Iris samariae

Iris samariae

Iris mariae in the propagation area

Iris mariae in the propagation area

 

Iris atropurpurea

Iris atropurpurea

 

Ramat hanadiv isnt just about Iris. They hold exsitu populations of many of Israels threatened plant species. This is Lotus edulis (the pods of which are very tasty).

Ramat hanadiv isnt just about Iris. They hold exsitu populations of many of Israels threatened plant species. This is Lotus edulis (the pods of which are very tasty).

 

Sedum litoreum

Sedum litoreum

 

Salvia eigii

Salvia eigii

Reichardia intermedia

Reichardia intermedia

 

Cerinthe palaestina

Cerinthe palaestina one of my favorite Israeli native plant species

The Iris hermona flower that I was allowed to bring home and add to my herbarium

The Iris hermona flower that I was allowed to bring home and add to my herbarium

Ramat Hanadiv is an inspirational place to visit. A tranquil garden celebrating and remembering the life of an extraordinary man.

We would very much like to thank the team there for hosting us and giving us the time they did to show us the work they are doing to try and protect some of Israel’s extraordinary plant species.

Botanising Israel, an epic adventure of war and wildflowers, part 5

I never finished my series of blogs about my trip to Israel in March ’14. It’s not that I forgot or that I got bored of writing them. It’s because at the time, due to heightened levels of conflict in the Middle East, it just didn’t seem all that appropriate.

Having just returned from another trip to Israel I think it is time to revisit the series of blogs and bring you up to date with my botanical adventures in the Holy Land. So please indulge me and take a step back in time to the beginning of March 2014.

A trip into the Negev desert…

We took the opportunity the day after our visit to Jerusalem to go for a hike in the Negev desert an area that covers approximately 4,700 square miles and amounts to over half the land area in Israel. The desert and semi desert habitats hold a unique wealth of flora and we were pleased to track some of it down on our walk…..

Drimia maritima

The sparcity of vegitation in some areas of the desert is quite amazing and then as if from nowhere there is a Drimia maritima (syn. Urginea maritima)!

Drimia undulata

Another autumn flowering bulb; Drimia undulata

Ornithogalum trichophyllum

Ornithogalum trichophyllum i think!

Looking up Ein Prat

Looking up Ein Avdat

 

Erodium crassifolium

Erodium crassifolium

Glaucium grandiflorum

Glaucium grandiflorum

Cistanche tubulosa

Cistanche tubulosa a parasite of the white desert broom.

Wild date palms

Wild date palms (Pheonix dactylifera) growing at Ein Akev

I didn’t think we could top all this amazing flora but then on our way home we stopped in at one of the Iris nature reserves and found Iris petrana in full flower!

Iris petrana

Iris petrana

Iris petrana

Iris petrana as far as the eye can see, until you see the army base on the horizon. I wonder if these plants would be here if it wasnt for the army presence all around them.

 

Gagea commutata

Gagea commutata growing hapily in the sand along side the iris

Gynandriris sisyrinchium

Gynandriris sisyrinchium out of focus but clearly showing the sand these plants were growing in.

Iris petrana

Iris petrana

 

More Iris petrana

More Iris petrana

iris petrana yellow

To top it all off we saw this Yellow Iris petrana. I couldnt believe my eyes!

It really does amaze me that such beautiful things can grow in such harsh conditions. Of course it is the adaptation to the environments they live in that makes them even more special.

To be continued……….