Plant profile: Iris mariae

Iris mariae by Gideon Pisanty
Iris mariae by Gideon Pisanty

Species: Iris mariae

Common name: Mary’s Iris or Negev Iris

Country of origin: Israel

Sharing a forename with the mother of Jesus, this psammophyte grows in the stable sands of the Western Negev and Northern Sinai, which receive up to 150mm of rain per year. It’s lilac blooms, sitting atop recurved glaucus leaves, contrast with the yellow desert in February and March. This species of Oncocyclus Iris is threatened by illegal harvesting, climate change, urbanisation and the impacts of modern agriculture.
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