Showy blooms and the race against the sheep

As if the winter wildflowers don’t have enough to contend with in the harsh conditions in which they bravely choose to show their colours, but they are also having to contend against becoming fodder for the sheep.

It seems that the sheep are just as attracted to bright colourful things in their path as I am. I’m racing against the sheep each day to try and discover what wildflowers have emerged before the sheep on their journey home munch the showy blooms off in not so much of a thought and the flower and most of the plant is devoured in a single bite.


Yes I know that the animals in this picture are actually all goats – just going along with the Jordanian way of not distinguishing between goats and sheep and calling them all sheep!

It’s no wonder that these Edom Iris (along with most of the other types of iris that bloom in Jordan) are endangered. They are only found in the Southern part of Jordan that was once known as Edom and inhabited by the Edomites, hence their name. Aside from being picked off as sheep fodder irises are also under threat from people digging up the bulbs and trying to grow them in their gardens. The plant is highly adapted to surviving in harsh conditions and not at all suited to growing in well cared for garden conditions.

I found this patch of Edom Irises in a small strip of hill side that is beside a field sown with crop and isn’t used as a sheep track so is somewhat protected. Any of the plants 5 metres further up the hill and directly in line of the sheep track weren’t so lucky.

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I also found in this small area a Dark Grape Hyacinth (Muscari commutatum).

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There was also this flowing grass type plant which I have no idea what it is, but it’s beautiful in it’s own way. If anyone can provide a name for this plant I would be most appreciative. 

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To take most of these photos I’m having to get down on my hands and knees or in some cases lie down on the ground. I’m sure that the Bedouin bringing the sheep home must be wondering what on earth I’m possibly doing and what could be so interesting to look at. I wonder if they ever stop and appreciate the beautiful blooms that nature provides or if they are simply just another thing for the sheep to eat.

10 responses to “Showy blooms and the race against the sheep

  1. I must say that I’m a little jealous of your Edom irises : ) I’ve not yet seen them in the wild. I’m enjoying your posts and I’m glad that you’re blogging again. I meant to comment on your last (?) post with the pics of rocks. We must be on the same wavelength–check a post of mine from January when we made a wadi trip by the Dead Sea. I hope you enjoy a beautiful spring in the south. We don’t have too many flowers blooming up here yet, and I’m afraid that with the dry warm weather we’ve been having, beautiful though it’s been, our spring is going to be short-lived.

    • Hopefully you are experiencing more flowers coming out into bloom up north. The trees are all out in full blossom here making quite a pretty show. I did see you blog on the walk in the wadi near the Dead Sea – what a beautiful get away! I was so lucky to see these Edom irises – they were only out and on show for two weeks this year. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and colourful they were. I’m looking forward to hopefully spotting a few more of the other types of Irises in Jordan this year.

  2. Gorgeous irises:) inthe desert 2 weeks ago here in Saudi we found some lovely flowers as there has been some rain recently. Will have to try to get my fotos sorted, but with the move back to Scotland fast looming its all got a bit hectic!

    • Can’t wait to see your photos of the desert blooms, but understand that the move and packing will certainly be taking priority. Something to do when you are settled back into Scotland and can sort through the photos and do some retrospective posts. 🙂

    • I certainly did have to restrain myself from not picking them and also keep a watch out for Alia not picking them either. And there were only on show for such a short time – 2 weeks and they are gone for another year.

  3. I just found your blog, and want to say that your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your talent with us all!

    • Thanks Jeanne. I love sharing the photos of the beautiful countryside around where I live – certainly not what most people have in mind when I tell them that I live in Jordan in the Middle East. 🙂

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