The winter rains in Israel began auspiciously early this season—and the hilltops and forests of Israel almost immediately started to turn green and regain their cool-weather lushness. Wildflower blooms began in earnest in December, on their way to peaking in late February or early March.
Every week brings more flowers, blooming in a predictable order. They’re truly like old friends returning for a visit.
The vibrant red of the anemone (kalanit) can be spotted from a distance. This common flower is uncommonly beautiful, and it is one of winter’s earliest blooms. There are also purple and white varieties.
The common asphodel’s tall stalk flowers slowly and graces the landscape for several months. It is known in Hebrew as irit gedolah and grows all over the country.
Israel is home to many varieties of irises. An early bloomer is the Palestine Iris, which unfurls low to the ground and has translucent petals.
The Egyptian Campion (tzipornit mitzrit) is a 5-petalled purple flower that grows in groups.
The cyclamen (rakefet) is a celebrated flower in Israel. Among the first taught to nursery school aged children (in song!), this pretty blossom ranges in color from pale pink to deep purple and often clusters near rocks. Its distinctive leaves precede the flowers by several weeks, hinting where groups of them will bloom.
All of these flowers were photographed on Titora Hill, in the central Israel city of Modi’in. Titora is an archaeological site; due to the large number of water cisterns dug beneath it, the hill was thought to be a “rest stop” for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem (a distance of about 15 miles).
Thanks to our colleague Kate Stern for the beautiful photos