Feb 9, 2009

Navigating the Negev

Went on a hike in the Negev desert which is in the Southern end of Israel. The Negev desert covers more than half of Israel, about 55% of the country's land area and is around 4,700 square miles in area. Negev comes from the Hebrew word which means dry.It's a rocky desert and has interesting geological features such as 3 large craters. The Negev mountains are interrupted by dry river beds, called wadis.

These wadis bloom briefly after the rains, which is only about 12 inches annually.

Pancratium sickenbergeri spilling it's black seeds.

It's curly foliage.

A lone Acacia tree.

Silene colorata, Cloven-Petalled Campion

Calendula arvensis, Field Marigold

Salvia lanigera, Wooly Sage

Rumex cyprinus, Pink sorrel, with petals the color of lungs.
Asphodelus tenuifolius, Narrow-leaved Asphodel Bugloss
Thorny shrub and it's yellow blooms.
Anagallis arvensis, Scarlet pimpernel

I am not sure what this plant is and found it to be really strange. It has these spiny seedpods(?).
This area of the Negev was a sight to see, with all of the grasses swaying in the wind, all forming a community that wasn't found anywhere else.
Stipagrostis raddiana, Triple-awned grass

Stipagrostis raddiana, Triple-awned grass, is an important fodder for goats and herbivorous animals.

The dry river bed, or wadi, we hiked into. Mark and Dieter, two other scholarship students at the Jerusalem Botanical garden.A natural pool of water in the river bed.Stone bridges, andarches.Ahh, Papaver. Papaver humile Gazelles in the desert.
Another wadi we walked to.

Interesting geological formations.

Plates of rock.

Cistanche tubulosa, Desert broomrape emerging through the crusty top layer of sand in the dry river bed.
This is a parasitic plant that feeds off of desert trees and shrubs.
They bloom in yellow.
Bizarre but fascinating to see. Here is a blue blooming one, I think Mutel's broomrape, Orobanche mutelii.

Like a strange diorama the Negev revealed the many layers it is comprised of.
a theater stage set for stories.
Pennisetum orientale growing in little drifts.

It is dangerous to be in these riverbeds if a storm is coming because with the ground being so dry, the water can't penetrate quickly enough and creates rivers that flood quickly downstream.Persistence .An Ibek,

coming around the bend.