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Plants in the Wild: Two Hours in Israel

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Started by: Jon Evans

A very brief visit to an Israeli nature reserve in March

Go to latest contribution by Cliff Booker, 20 September 2009, 04:55. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 17 September 2009, 21:43top / bottom of page
Hyoscyamus aureus

Among the Roman remains we came across Hyoscyamus aureus (Golden Henbane). The only other photos of this I have seen were also among ruins, so this seems to be a typical habitat.

Hyoscyamus aureus
Podonosma orientalis

Next to it in the ancient wall was this curiosity.

Podonosma orientalis
Lamarckia aurea

And also a pretty little grass, Lamarckia aurea, which seems to an invasive weed in Californica, but which isn't a plant I have seen in the UK.

Lamarckia aurea
Gynandiris sisyrinchium

One of the highlights for me was finding a large patch of Gynandiris sisyrinchium. Late morning only a few were open, but you can see many more buds among the grass.

Gynandiris sisyrinchium

Close by, we encountered a large herd of sheep, and it became very obvious why flowers in good condition were hard to find.

Attendant upon the sheep were a number of egrets.

Pied Kingfishers

The reserve is an important site for birds, but I didn't have time to explore the wetter areas. One highlight though, was seeing these pied kingfishers, which hover above the water like a kestrel.

Pied Kingfishers
Silybum marianum

Finally, as we were approaching the car park again, we came across some large painted thistles (Silybum marianum). Perhaps they are safe from the sheep.

Silybum marianum

As someone who seldom gets the chance to see alpines in the wild, it was exciting to spend even a little time, and come across plants that I recognised from the show bench growing in their natural habitat. I hope that this provides some interest for others, even though it is just a tiny glimpse at the plants of the area, on one day in March.

Contribution from Colin Dolding 18 September 2009, 01:50top / bottom of page

Thank you Jon for your photographs of your brief trip to Israel. Great shot of the Pied Kingfisher in flight. Good thing the thorn bushes were there to protect some flora for you to capture!

Contribution from Cliff Booker 20 September 2009, 04:55top / bottom of page

Tremendous report Jon, many thanks for posting these lovely images of an area that many of us are unlikely to see in our quest for alpine plants.


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