Palestine Iris

Iris palaestina

سوسن فلسطيني

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Status: Common

The Palestine Iris is geophyte of the Iridaceae family  found in the eastern Mediterranean basin. This is a low-growing plant, rising to a height of 15 cm. Its wide entire undulate leaves that sprout in a rosette, are dark green in color, have white ciliate margins and a glossy upper surface. The six yellowish white petals form the classic flower structure of this genus, three horizontal leaves at a 120 degree angle from each other, and three vertical petals arranged  to attract pollinating insects and form a tunnel" along with the wide petal-like pistil. Within this "tunnel" lie the stamen and stigma, as the flowers are  perfect. The fragrant flowers are short-lived, produce nectar,  and are known to bloom in the morning.  The petals have a light yellow area ןn the center of the white background. Flowers growing in   warm dry conditions  have been known to have a light blue color.
 It has an ovoid bulb which is known to multiply vegetatively, producing small bulbs. These bulbs flower,  forming small clusters of 5-9 cm flowers  each initially enclosed in a  spathe. 
Flowering period: The Palestine Iris flowers in December to March. The fruit are capsules.

Ecology: It flourishes in alkaline soil from limestone, in scrublands and  mountainous areas.  

Distribution in Palestine: It can be found in the central highlands mountains as well as the mountains and deserts of Eastern Slopes. It is recorded in Wadi Quff Nature Reserve.