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Bulbs and dionysias - Iran in April (4)


By AndrewR


Reluctantly, we left our comfortable hotel at Chelgerd. The owner posed in the traditional costume of the local bakhtiari tribes, nomads who moved to the area with their animal flocks for summer grazing before moving south again for the winters

We stopped in the town at the ‘supermarket’ to buy provisions for our picnic lunch. They sold quite a few fresh herbs and spices

Then on to the bread shop for fresh bread

We all looked forward to the picnics, especially when there were fresh dates for dessert

We were moving on to Aligurdarz, a grubby town surrounded by marble quarries, but made a couple of stops along the way. There were only two ‘new’ plants to be seen, the first being colchicum varians

We then had a long trek up a valley in the hope of seeing an elusive iris (this had never been seen by previous trips). Eventually, only the tour leader and I went on, but near the top of the valley, beside the path, we found it – iris hymenospatha

The accommodation in Aligurdarz was a middle-of-the-road, state-sponsored hotel in an exposed position on the edge of town. Gale force winds battered it overnight, disrupting our sleep.

Another day, more plants to find. The first was yet another dionysia, D. haussknechtii

Next merendera sobolifera

Iris moshovii is a newly named member of the iris reticulata group

Even now, new plants are still being discovered. A couple of years ago, a small fritillary was discovered in the mountains of Iran. It is not of any ornamental merit, and the finders referred to it as “fritillaria small brown misery!” Although not close to where it was found, we think we might have come across it again.

The driver then carefully took the bus over a steep and winding pass with snow at the top to reach the next valley

Unfortunately it started to rain as soon as we got there, and worried about the possibility of further snow, we returned over the pass. This gave us time for two more stops before returning to the hotel, where we found fritillaria chlororhabdota

And tulipa stapfii. This has now been included in tulipa systola, but our guide thinks it is different enough to still be a separate species

To be continued ….

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My what beauties love the dionysia and the fritillaria chlororhabdota what beautiful colours.

29 Apr, 2017


What a trek you have had, only for the truly dedicated. Such dry conditions in those high regions, the snow keeping the plants protected in the winter. Iris moshovill looks pretty.

30 Apr, 2017


Amazing trip - I especially like Iris moshovii and Fritillaria chororhabdota - thanks for sharing - Jane

30 Apr, 2017


An amazing trip indeed. I've so enjoyed seeing all your Iran blogs. It must feel like being an explorer & finding treasure when you come across one of those little beauties. The surroundings look quite inhospitable & yet there they are.
You must be pretty fit to be trekking up those hills & valleys.
Iris moshovii looks very special.

1 May, 2017


Fantastic ! Better than Monty's adventures. We are so lucky.

1 May, 2017


well done for persevering with the trek to find the iris. it is beautiful. so is the I. moshovii.

so many beautiful plants. hadn't realised there were so many Dionysias species.

3 May, 2017


I have received a message from a bulb expert in Latvia - the photo labelled as iris moshovii is actually iris zagrica

13 Nov, 2018

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