During the present season we are enjoying the blooming of several crocus species in Israel. The Hermon crocus (Crocus hermoneus) blooms in the autumn, usually flowering before leaf emergence. The leaves emerge only after heavy rain, around November.

This year we had heavy rains as early as October, so the blooming and the leaf emergence took place together. This is a geophyte with a sub-terrestrial corm and impressively large flowers that bloom close to the ground, in shades of pinkish-white to purple. It has a fragmented distribution in Israel. One subspecies, Crocus hermoneus subsp. palaestinus, grows on the Hermon Mountain, while the second subspecies, Crocus hermoneus subsp. hermoneus, grows on the Samaria Mountains, in only a few spots in the area of Ramallah and Bet-El. It is therefore considered to be a “Red species” in Israel. During previous, more humid and colder eras it probably had a larger, continuous distribution range, and climate change is the cause of its fragmentation today.Its global distribution range is limited to Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. In the center of the flowers one can spot the orange stigmas (part of the "female" reproduction system of the flower). The stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a related species, are more commonly familiar as saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. Several other crocus species are currently blooming, such as Crocus cancellatus, a very similar species that differs in the structure of the fibers covering the corm; Aleppo crocus, (Crocus aleppicus), which blooms in white with bright colored anthers (the part of the stamens that contains the pollen); and Crocus hyemalis, which also blooms in white with dark colored anthers. The latter is the most common species of crocus in Israel.

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