Israel is located at the meeting point of several climate types and contains a great diversity of habitats. These unique conditions are the main cause for the rich biodiversity of the Israeli flora that has more than 2500 species in its small area. The Mediterranean climate in the country is characterized by a long hot and dry summer and a short rainy and cool winter. Therefore, most of the plants grow and bloom in the winter months. After the first rains in the fall the mountains and valleys in the Northern and Central parts of the country are painted green by the new flush of germination of the annual plants and regrowth of the bulb plants such as crocuses and colchicums that were hidden in the soil during the summer. Some of these plants bloom in the fall but most will develop during the wet winter months and bloom in early spring.
Almonds mark the beginning of the spring blooming season with their regal white flower clouds that appear in late January or early February, by the Jewish Arbor Day of TU B'Shvat. Narcissi, cyclamens and anemones sprout from bulbs and corms and form beautiful coloured carpets that cover meadows and wooded areas. The large red zones covered by of thousands of anemones that can be seen in recent decades in the Northern Negev are unique to this country. In the northern region near Megido a mixture of blue purple and white anemones draw the crowds of plant enthusiasts as well as hordes of butterflies, bees and other insects that feed on the flowers and pollinate them. The red colour surges in waves of turban buttercups and wild poppies. In other parts of the country yellow blankets of wild mustards and chrysanthemums are mixed with multi-coloured populations of many other plant species. The blue lupines paint the mountain regions in the Galilee Carmel and Judea.
Hundreds of other species flower in the months of March and April to the delight of all nature lovers. Many can be found in large areas like the annual clary that waves its violet flag to attract the pollinating insects but some can be seen in a few sites only like several species of irises dispersed in special locations from the Golan Heights to the Northern Negev, the Madonna lily that can be seen blooming in early May in one place on the Carmel and one spot in the Western Galilee. Small wild orchids hide under the trees and bushes on mountains and hills.
In the rare years that the Negev desert gets enough rain it also get covered by a symphony of colours and fragrances that are unforgettable. Along the coast and in riparian habitats flowering can be seen during the summer months. The sea pancratium lily and the sea squill with their gorgeous white flowers that appear out of the parched land at the hot summer months decorate the coastal line and other regions and mark the approaching new season that will begin with the fall rains.
In order to become familiar with the wildflowers of Israel visit: www.wildflowers.co.il