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