MITZPE RAMON, ISRAEL–These were a delightful surprise this morning. Scattered across the rough Cretaceous limestones were these astoundingly red desert tulips (Tulipa systola). They looked like drops of blood across the landscape. (An unfortunate metaphor in this part of the world, but true nonetheless!) They are so red they even overwhelm the red distinctions in my digital images, making them just glow like light bulbs.
These tulips are very sensitive to soil moisture. Because of the drought, Yoav was impressed we saw any, let alone dozens. All appear to be nestled between rocks which might have preserved just a tad of moisture for their growth. Many other tulip plants can be seen in the area, but only a minority are flowering.