Iris haynei, Gilboa iris,
Hebrew: אירוס הגלבוע, Arabic: سوسن فقوعة

Scientific name:  Iris haynei Baker
Common name:  Gilboa iris
Hebrew name:   אירוס הגלבוע
Arabic name:  سوسن فقوعة
Plant Family:  Iridaceae, אירוסיים

 Iris haynei, Gilboa iris, פרחים וצמחי בר בארץ ישראל: אירוס הגלבוע

Life form:  Geophyte
Stems:  35-50cm tall
Leaves:  Alternate, rosette, entire, smooth
Flowers:  10 cm in diameter; purple; standards and falls are covered by a dense net of veins interspersed with a profusion of fine, small dots; the patch is dark purple, almost black
Fruits / pods:  Loculicidal capsules
Flowering Period:  March, April
Habitat:  Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands
Chorotype:  Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Iris haynei, Gilboa iris, אירוס הגלבוע


Derivation of the botanical name:
Iris, ιριϛ, ιδοϛ, rainbow; female messenger, announcer of the gods, the Greek goddess of the rainbow.
haynei, named for Friedrich Gottlob Hayne (1763–1832).
  • The standard author abbreviation Baker is used to indicate John Gilbert Baker (1834 – 1920), an English botanist.
H.B.Tristram, The Land of Israel, chapter VI: "On the edge of that Gilboa the shouts and the sudden gleaming lights of Gideon's trusty 300 startled the sleeping Midianites; and the unbroken darkness of another night, Saul crept up that same Gilboa's side to seek the witch's cave, which he quitted but to lose kingdom, life, and army on its top, "for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away."

King David curses Mt. Gilboa by saying that they should have no rainfall, remaining barren (2 Samuel 1:21).
'O mountains of Gilboa,
may you have neither dew nor rain,
nor fields that yield offerings of grain .
For there the shield of the mighty was defiled,
the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

2 Samuel 1:21

Some have taken this curse literally, as the reason for the seeming baldness of Mt. Gilboa. But in recent years the Jewish National Fund has planted thousands of trees that have greatly changed the situation, although bald spots are still clearly visible.


Iris haynei, Gilboa iris, אירוס הגלבוע


Iris haynei, Gilboa iris, אירוס הגלבוע


Flora of Israel online