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Wild Cyclamens Treasure Trove

Wild Cyclamens Treasure Trove


Wild Cyclamens Treasure Trove
Wild cyclamens, (Cyclamen persicum) in Hebrew عصا الراعي  רקפת מצויה in Arabic, or Persian Cyclamen in English -  have a very peculiar scent, subtle and unnoticeable to the unsuspecting nose, but if you do make the effort to bring your nose close enough to their rocky hiding spots (they grow mostly in the crevices of rocks, where they have a nice storage of water and less chances for the wild boars to dig them up) - you will be surprised.
These pink, fluffy and symbolically shy flowers have a dark-leathery, mineral, mossy and almost tar-like (there are lichens here in creeks and forests that smell like tar hence the mossy reference).

Wild Cyclamens Treasure Trove
It is very rare to see so many of them together like in this photo - so the smell is usually very subtle and only noticeable if you bend over and press your nose to them... Finding this treasure trove of cyclamens in this pine forest, shrouded with this tarry, mineral scent - was an interesting experience to be sure.

Wild Cyclamens Treasure Trove
Wild cyclamens are a protected species, but it is allowed to pick a few leaves (up to 2) per bulb, and use them for food for personal purpose. They can be stuffed and cooked much like grapevine leaves. Something I must try soon before the leaves are all gone! The leaves have a stunning, reptile-like design, and each bulb produces leaves with its own unique and recognizable pattern. So you can easily tell if you picked enough from a bulb and allow it to grow and produce flowers and more seeds quietly and store more energy for next year.

Carmelit

Ricotia Lunaria (Carmelit) כרמלית נאה
Carmelit (Ricotia lunariaכרמלית נאה is a delicate flower from the Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) family which grows in large groups and blooms in late winter and early spring. If you look at an individual flower alone (which is rare, because it always grows in large groups), it does not stand out at all, expect for its definite crossed-bones-like shape. It is named after the Carmelite order, which was established on Mount Carmel in the 12st Century (the same order also invented the famous Carmelite Water), whose symbol of a cross with heart-shaped tips it resembles. Other English names for the flower are Maltese Cross Ricotia (whose cross it also resembles) or Egyptian Honesty.

The flower is endemic to Israel and Syria (which means it grows nowhere else by these two countries - in Israel it grows only in the north of the country). Because these plants grow together, their blossoms cover large areas creates an impressive effect like floating purple haze above the ground. Which is nothing short of magical. Another aspect which is not any less magical is their fragrance: a delicate perfume that is the epitome of wild flower fragrance, reminiscent of night-scented-stock with hints of carnations when it's sunny, and becomes almost too heady on dry and hot spring days; and becomes all delicate, demure and cold-flower-smelling at nightfall. 

Here are a few more photos, which will hopefully transfer some of their magic despite the fact that their scent is inimitable.
Ricotia Lunaria (Carmelit) כרמלית נאה

Ricotia Lunaria (Carmelit) כרמלית נאה





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