Rare Iris in Extraordinary Habitat

Hermon Iris (Protected) butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan, Israel

Our 2nd post of Iris hermona in northernmost Israel. The Hermon iris in the foreground is in full bloom, as it should be, with normal bloom  time early March to the middle of April. This was mid-March 2012, and we were enjoying the wonders of this exotic habitat. 

It’s a challenge to describe how you feel when you hike to the unknown and realize: OMG! we have met rarity! A rare, endangered iris. Related to the irises that we nurture in our Pittsburgh garden, but incredibly different. Our USA-grown irises  are happily enjoyed by neighbors as they walk by (nicely, we’ve been told that quite a few times). Northeast USA irises bloom in April, and I cannot recall whether or not they have ever experienced an 80F afternoon. Hermon irises, even though they are found in northernmost Israel, at an elevation of about 570′ here, can expect daily temperatures to exceed that. Soil differences must be substantial.

These Hermon irises thrive because they grow with little human contact. They are officially protected, yes, but they are in a lightly populated extreme locale in Israel. They are within a moderate distance of an Israeli village, and that village maintains a very real fence around itself, that fence to protect itself from the potential savagery of some in very, very close by Lebanon. Lebanon, at one time the banking and vacation destinations for many in the Middle East, is now less known for banking or for vacationing and best known as the home for the volatile Hezbollah terrorist group.

Butterflies? An excellent destination for observing the butterflies of northern Israel. But, knowing that you are a hike away from men and their supporters, who I suppose spend the day, their days, fondling their murderous weapons, dreaming of butchery. Uggh! It sends a faint chill up and down your spinal cord. So for now the Hermon iris and the butterflies, and all of the flora and fauna captured in this photo remain little noticed and thus, safe.

Jeff