May 05, 2014
Photographer: Menashe Davidson
Summary Author: Menashe Davidson
Shown above are two photos of anemone (Anemone coronaria) wildflowers taken near Ruhama, Israel and Megiddo, Israel, respectively. These fields are approximately 93 mi (150 km) from each other. In spite of their relative proximity, the dominant colors are completely different.
In calcareous soils, often found in southern Israel, the annual amount of rainfall reaches 8 to 12 in (200 to 300 mm). Here, the dominant anemone color is red. However, further north more fertile soils (alluvial), with higher annual rainfall (more than 24 in or 600 mm), leads to leaching and thus lower lime concentrations. Under such conditions, the red anemone is absent. The dominant colors are instead white, blue and pink. Regardless of their color, these showy wildflowers inhabit open fields and gaps in Mediterranean woodlands. The bloom grows from a single, but delicate, stem.
Anemone coronaria, (family Ranunculaceae) is called in Hebrew "Calanit," a name derived from the Hebrew word kalla, which means a bride. In 2013, the Anemone coronaria was elected as the national flower of Israel. Wildflowers grow spontaneously -- without being deliberately grown. The term implies that the plant probably is neither a hybrid nor a selected cultivar.
Reliable rains during the winter season, typical for Mediterranean climate conditions, in most years result in fabulous displays of colorful flowers in the eastern Mediterranean region during the month of February. Photo at left taken on February 7, 2014; photo at right taken on February 1, 2014.
Note: This Earth Science Picture of the Day was orignally scheduled for April 22 but a system failure prevented it from appearing.