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Flowers in the desert?
The most popular of all desert flowers which bloom in the spring round Riyadh must be the iris Gynandiris sisirhynchium.
In the wet year it can bee seen at right and left of the Majma'a/Buraida road going north out of Riyadh, but in a dry or normal year it is the best to concentrate your attention on the iris field in Tumair (Tumayr), about 100km north of Riyadh where there always good show.
The reason for cancentration of iris flowers in this area is that farmers have built small retaining wall across the narrow wadi beds which cut into the escarpment to catch the silt washed down by spring rains and form fields.
The fields are now mostly abandoned for agricurtural purposes but rich soil attract s a lush growth of grass and flowers, the most dominant of which is the iris. It ranges in colour from white through blue deep purple.
It is wonderful sight to see the field of iris in bloom in the desert, a sheet of blue.
It is also facsinating to catch the moment when the buds open.
This happen simultaneusly and quite suddenly about one o'clock on a sunny day or later on cloudy one and the magic moment cannot be brought forward by shinning a torch on the buds or lightning a match near them (We have tried this and can vouch for it failure). If you arrive in the morning do not expect to see the flowers: if you want to arrive when they have all opened aim for 2pm.
The flowers should be at their best during last week of February or the first of March.
In good wet , year the variety of flowers which can be found here is astonishing. Look out for yellow gagea, the diplotaxis harra and the horwoodia dicksoniae (locally known as the khozama).
Book: "Desert Treks from Riyadh"
Also by Ferry Alayn
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