When Field Guides Fail

Unknown wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

The butterfly action was good. March 2016, and so much was new to me. Never seen before butterflies, frustrating this American as they zoomed by on those Israeli trails. Tell me how badly you want images of uncommon or rare or common but catch-me-if -you-can butterflies. I captured my fill, but the beads of frustration were left all over, here, there and just about everywhere.

The Middle Eastern wildflowers at least posed for me, never fleeing my approach. That becomes seductive, and the temptation is to sort of, well, start paying more attention to exotic blooms, and quit the fools game of dashing after warp speed butterflies on the wing.

We’re at Ramat Hanadiv, endowed and spearheaded by one of the early Rothschilds (European wealth). Where? North of Tel Aviv and Netanya, northwest of Jerusalem, and almost screaming distance from the crystal blue Mediterranean.

Here’s a flower that stopped me in my tracks. I thought it to be beautiful. I liked its stark bluish-purple, against a lemon yellow was very eye pleasing. So, I shot away, hoping that you would also stop for a moment and find this a unique blossom, different from all you’ve stored away in your cerebral flower archives.

I have 2 Israeli field guide open before me, and they are, well, not 100% helpful. I know this is the look of the flower, real-time, but their images are well . . . washed out and how to say it?, mediocre.

I concluded that this wild flowering plant is Convolvulus pentapetaloides or Grassy Bindweed. I did this based upon resemblance, location and time of bloom.  The latin name a tad too long, the common name, way too plain, for such a nice looker. Our friend Barbara Ann promptly did her own research and correctly ID’d it as Campanula hierosolymitana or Jerusalem bellflower. Gardeners know the Campanulas. and isn’t this a swell name??

Working trails that bear real, natural beauty. Good. Very good.


I Thought, ‘How Beautiful!’

Nerved-Calyx Stachys wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Ramat Hanadiv, Israel

I’m alone on a trail at Ramat Hanadiv. The end of winter in Israel, Middle Eastern winter. Winter rains and itsy bitsy snow was the ‘deposit.’ Wildflowers everywhere here was the ‘withdrawal.’ 2016 and I’m Blessed to be in Israel once again, March 2016.

Butterflies. My eyes are triggered to see them flying, perched, nectaring, mud puddling, here there and everywhere. These recent years, I’ve sought to be acutely aware of beautiful flowers and extraordinary native botany.

Here’s a bounty of that visual scanning thing. Saw it, liked it, examined it and concluded, Don’t know it but like it. Half way around the world, and it made me think: The Jews saw it here, the Romans saw it here, the Greeks saw it here, the Crusaders saw it here, the Christians saw it here, the British saw it here, the Turks saw it here and the Arabs saw it here. Sobering.

Nerved-Calyx Stachys is found north of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and all the way to the upper Galilee and the Golan Heights. It blooms predictably in March and April. It’s demure and fascinating.

Come in 2017 and we’ll search it out. Serious. You know who you are.