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……….