I just cannot resist to write about another plant we found yesterday at the Lower Galilean region. Why? Because it is very interesting, special and beautiful.
Its scientific name is CYTINIUS HYPOCISTIS. In Hebrew it is called RIMONIT HA'LOTEM, רימונית הלוטם and it belongs to the Cytinaceae family.
It is a very small plant, only about 4cm in height, with the flowers at ground level. It is a rootless, stemless and leafless annual parasite, that is only visible in spring, during the flowering period, when it rises from the host tissues. It does not produce chlorophyll at all, relying fully on his host plant which in the Mediterranean area is mostly Cistus, called Lotem, לוטם in Hebrew.
A 'rimon' is a grenade, and if you look at this plant you can understand why its Hebrew name is Rimonit HaLotem. The flower buds are a bright hot red and open into an ivory colored bloom. There are distinct female flowers and male flowers growing in the same cluster. The plant depends on insects for seed production, mostly the pollination is carried out by ants.
The gorgeous host plant Lotem: