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Bulbs and dionysias - Iran in April (1)


By AndrewR


My latest botanising trip was to Iran.

We left Heathrow at the end of March to fly via Istanbul to Shiraz, the sixth largest city, with a population of 1.7 million. As Iran is 3.5 hours ahead of our time, we arrived at 3am! This is a view of the city taken from my hotel room the next morning

After a leisurely start, we left the hotel at 10am to drive out of the city and start looking for plants. One of the first we saw was muscari neglectum, a common bulb in the country

We got very excited when we saw our first fritillaria imperialis in flower. It grows like a weed in Iran with whole mountain sides covered in them. Most of them are the orange flowered forms, the yellow being very rare. Here is a grove of them

By the end of the trip, we were referring to them as NABCI (not another bloody Crown Imperial!)

The next day was the last of a major holiday in Iran, and the entire city’s population goes out for picnics, resulting in horrific traffic jams. We drove through what appeared to be a barren landscape

But there are hidden treasures. Fritillaria gibbosa is extremely difficult in cultivation but grows quite happily here

Later we came across bellevalia saviczii

Close to our hotel was a citadel, the Karim Khan Castle, dating back to the 12th century when Shiraz was the capital city

Later used as a prison, its renovation is now almost complete, and for a modest sum, you can purchase a ticket and go inside. What you find is a perfect Persian garden

Nearby, in the police station car park, was paulownia tomentosa in full flower

On our third day, we visited the World Heritage Site at Persepolis. Dating back to 518 BC, this palatial complex was designed primarily to be a showplace and spectacular centre for the receptions and festivals of the kings and their empire

Visitors would enter through a massive gateway

To the palace complex

Part of it is under a protective roof to preserve the exquisite carvings. These depict all the rulers and tribes who visited, bringing gifts

Back in Shiraz, we made an early evening visit to the Shah Cheragh Mausoleum complex, the third most holy site for Muslims

To be continued ….

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Thank you for sharing Andrewr.

16 Apr, 2017


What an educational blog of their flowers that grow there for me any way . I love that Fritillaria Gibbosa so pretty and what an impressive gate way like the Egyptains.

16 Apr, 2017


What an adventure. Love the grove of NABCI. If only they were weeds here.

16 Apr, 2017


Wow, what a trip, loved looking at your pictures. As a very small child in the late 60s my father's job took us to live in Iran for nearly 3 years. Sadly I was too young to remember much. I do have some photos of us on the iranian public holiday you mentioned out in the middle of nowhere, having a picnic. One photo my mother always called her divorce pic as it was my father with a Bakhtians women sitting on my fathers lap lol. They had perform some entertainment while we where having our picnic then posed with my father. Thank you for bringing back some lovely memories.

17 Apr, 2017


Fabulous. How lucky you are to be there.

18 Apr, 2017


what a wonderful trip. looking forward to part too. my kind of trip botany and ancient history. :o)

19 Apr, 2017


Great pictures. Really interesting. ?

19 Apr, 2017

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