Monday, April 9, 2012

TIME OUT - Part 4 - THE NEGEV DESERT IRISES


Near the small desert town of Jerucham there is a sign along the road (zoom in) promising a special kind of iris which grows only there. We knew from visits in earlier years that the promise will be kept (if there was at least a bit of rain that is), but considering the seemingly desolate and sterile region it is hard to believe for someone who does not have this knowledge.
Israel hosts several species of Iris which are endemic to the land and to certain areas of it. The Jerucham Iris, iris hieruchamensis, also called Iris Petrana is one of them. A sandy path through dry low shrubs leads to the location. 
You feel you are getting nowhere and are tempted to turn around - when suddenly you will be beguiled by their beautiful apparition.

They are stunning! One big flower stretches to the light on a tall slender stem. Each unique bloom has several hues of color. And the colors of the whole blossoms differ on the various stems from brown, purple black, purple rust, to yellowish purplish - they are so amazing!

And then there have been more irises on our third day, another sub species, a kind which is purple-brown-burgundy and often almost black. It is Iris atrofusca, Iris shachum, which means black-brown, איריס שחום in Hebrew. This kind grows mostly in black, on Tel Arad, a historical ancient place, (worth visiting the interesting excavations!), which is located halfway from Beersheva to the Dead Sea. Most of the year nothing green and fresh sprouts there on the hill under the scorching sun, only thorns and spines peak through the cracked stony dusty and drained earth. But almost each spring the miracle happens again - spear like leaves appear and the longingly awaited blooms develop on thick short stems.

When they open their petals the ground gets transformed into a black-dotted field.
We enjoyed many other desert flowers, much more in the Northern Negev, further south it got very sparse in this year of almost no rain. But you see, those little princes made it! 
I wrote in a post two years ago about the Yachnuk יחנוק המדבר (cistanche tubulosa), the Broomrape, see here:
The bright yellow parasite often loves to emerge near the road and we knew exactly where to find it.
On this trip we found also its pink purplish princess sisters יחנוק המלחות (cistanche salsa) - as pretty and attractive as well, no leaves, just growing out of the stony or sandy soil, clinging to roots of other plants far away underground and nourishing on them! Very clever!

Now I am saying good by and lehitra'ot (See you - Auf Wiedersehen) from the desert for this time - I will invite you to come with us again, I promise!

All the wonderful photographs were taken by my husband Uri Eshkar.

13 comments:

SACRAMENTO said...

I am treasuring all these wonderful photographs. They are a true present, my dear Yael
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Hagar said...

Yaeli, when we see these pictures one can think our country is such a flowering garden. Wonderful!!!

Eva said...

Jens sah die Kamele und sagte "miau!" -- Tolle Bilder, ein Augenschmaus, die Iris-Porträts! Die Schmarotzer sind auch schön fotografiert, aber doch irgendwie unsympathisch... Grosses Lob an den Fotografen!

rachel awes said...

AMAZING treasures along your path.
juicy + vibrant miracles.
lovelove to you. xox

Zaunwinde said...

Es grenzt an ein Wunder, daß diese wunderschönen Blumen auf so einem kargen Boden existieren können.
Deine Reiseberichte gefallen mir sehr, es ist interessant über eine solche Region näheres zu erfahren.
Herzliche Grüße von Zaunwinde

zsazsazsu said...

It's incredible what is growing in the wild out there ! Thank you for sharing these great pics !

Bob Bushell said...

I love those flowers, and for photography by Uri, your husband.

TarracoStyle said...

parece mentira que esas flores tan preciosas puedan crecer en el desierto.
muchos besos

glazedOver Pottery said...

Hagar is right. It is something precious how you illuminate the floral landscape that Israel possesses. And it is so true to your character - to be able to zoom right in and focus on the beautiful parts, and appreciate them, and share them with the world. You yourself are very much like the precious flowers that you and Uri search so tireslessly for. Anybody reading your blog can see that clearly.

Annuk said...

Oh my Goodness, they ARE stunning!!!! Such breathtaking beauty emerging from the desert...
I couldn't say it better than Jill...
Thank you for taking us along your trips in your beautiful land, dear Yael!

- Yvonaut -
Das sind Raphael und Yvonne
said...

Ich habe deine absolut fantastische Time Out Serie verpasst! Alles wunderschöne Beiträge! ich bin immer wieder erstaunt wie die Pflanzen in einer solchen Gegend überleben und noch dazu so schön blühen können!
Liebe Grüsse
Yvonne & Raphael

Red Rose. said...

Hi,Yael.
All of your photos are the ones that surprise me. Very interesting to see. Here in Japan,we have many kinds of iris,but they are very different in color and size from the iris in your desert. Thank you for taking us to your exciting trip and beautiful photos,Uri Eshkar.

I hope you two have a great day.
Tomoko

Hilde said...

Absolutely beautiful!! Those irises have magnificent colors. And the last photo is so sweet :)