Iris atrofusca destroyed

Judy Glattstein
Mon, 29 Mar 2004 05:28:09 PST
My sister lives in Jerusalem. She sent me a newspaper clipping that reports
"The Jewish National Fund accidentally destroyed two of the three sites
where the rare dark brown iris (Iris Atrofusca) can be found in Israel. This
type of iris is so rare that it is in danger of extinction." Apparently the
JNF workers were preparing sites for planting trees on TuBishvat, the new
year of the trees. The two sites, each apparently home to thousands of bulbs
and both sites are marked on touring maps, known to nature lovers and the
JFN, were not marked on the maps for the work. The tractors that were
preparing the ground for the tree planting by tearing up bushes and digging
trenches for rainwater run-off also uprooted or damaged most of the bulbs.
There's a quote in the newspaper article that 'The JNF's over-excitement
about planting trees in the Negev apparently stems from the struggle with
the Bedouin over the land there. It is possible that the irises have fallen
victim to this battle.' On a possible hopeful note, 'According to Yuval
Sapir, an expert on irises, the extent of the damage is not yet clear but it
is apparently reversible.'

Judy in New Jersey where bulbs hurl themselves into bloom from one day to
the next. And in a sheltered site in Frenchtown, not only are there
hyacinths in bloom but gladiolus have sent up their shoots.

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