Hi All, the Oncocyclus Irises are starting to bloom now in the middle east, and since they are so beautiful, I had to share a few. iris_01 and iris_02 are both Iris atropurpurea - the first one to bloom (starting on the end of January) and one of the rare endangered irises, which is constantly losing its habitat - it's habitat is Israel's most popular area. the other flowers in photo iris_01 are: red - Papaver umbonatum yellow - Senecio leucanthemifolius (composite) iris_03 - Iris mariae - which blooms in late february-early march - in the northern parts of the Negev desert. here it is shining together with Asphodelus ramosus (Liliaceae) iris_04 - Iris bismarckiana - which blooms in March in the Galillee mountains. also known as "Nazareth Iris". here - it looks especially smart with all those pink Ricotia lunaria (Cruciferae (Brassicaceae)) in the background. more Irises - you can see in the Israeli flora site - http://flora.huji.ac.il/browse.asp?action=browse&group=1533 and read more in the Hebrew university's pages about the Irises - http://www.iris.huji.ac.il/ but aren't they just beautiful?!