Iris bismarckiana

Across Israel grow a large number of irises in the Onocyclus group. From the deserts, through the coastal sands and into the north Golan many species grow. On Saturday I went with two friends who visited from England, Michael and Dean, to see Iris bismarckiana. I. bismarckiana is a member of the Onocyclus group of irises. This species is distributed in isolated populations from the upper Jordan valley to the Golan, populations also occur in Jordan.
The Onocyclus group are pollinated largely by night sheltering male bees. Most irises in the group have dark coloured falls and tubes which collect heat. The bees are therefore warmed more quickly in the morning allowing them to become active earlier. Flowers are also pollinated by other bees and insects.
I. bismarckiana has beautiful blooms with dark falls and blue mottled petals. We went to see a large population near Nazareth. I hope to write more about the Onocyclus Irises soon.  

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