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Bulbs and dionysias - Iran in April (2)


By AndrewR


After four nights in Shiraz, we left for the long drive to Semirom. At 2000 metres above sea level, it is the highest city in Iran, with temperatures dipping to -20C during winter.

To break the journey, we made a few stops to look for plants. In boggy soil beside a stream was colchicum crocifolium

While draba pulchella preferred a rockface

An unexpected find was aristolochia oliveri

We came across our first dionysia. These alpine plants are related to primulas, and have exacting requirements, making them tricky to grow in cultivation, so it was good to see them in their native environment. This is dionysia revoluta

We received a warm welcome at the hotel. The staff were very friendly and the food excellent, but the accommodation was rather primitive

Much fruit is grown in Iran, with wild almonds as well as cultivated apples, plums, cherries, with pomegranates and oranges in the warmer areas

We found another dionysia, D. iranshahrii. Note the different flower colour of the two seedlings

And more bulbs. This is the dwarf fritillaria zagrica with yellow edges to the dark petals

If you like bright colours, how about tulipa systola?

Tulipa bifolia is more subdued. Despite the name, most bulbs only carry one flower, but sometimes the flowering stem divides and it carries two or even three flowerheads

This is dionysia mozaffarianii, a recently described species only found around Semirom

And a dark form of dionysia bryoides

Anemone bifolia is a very common bulb in these parts. It has yellow flowers with red backs to the petals

However, in one or two areas, the flowers are larger and completely red

Leontice armeniaca grows from a small tuber and is related to berberis shrubs

To be continued ….

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They have some beautiful plants out there love the first one . Thanks for sharing this with us Andrew ,

19 Apr, 2017


Some wonderful treasures growing there. The ground looks so barren dry and scree like, difficult to emulate these conditions at home.

19 Apr, 2017


A case of small is beautiful Andrew.

19 Apr, 2017


sorry its taken a while to read this. as usual well written with excellent photos. it is wonderful seeing plants that we cultivate growing in their natural habitat.

3 May, 2017


I am visiting Iran next week. Is it possible to buy bulbs there? I'd love to grow my own flowers from Iranian bulbs- saffron crocus, lilies, tulips - not bothered as long as they are sold legally and I'm allowed to bring them back to the UK. Do you know if this is possible?

10 Sep, 2017


I didn't see any for sale, and in any case, it would be illegal to bring any back die to the risk of inadvertently bringing pests or diseases back with them. But there are specialist nurseries in the UK that sell them legitimately.

10 Sep, 2017

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