MarHaba from Krak des Chevaliers

MarHaba from Krak des Chevaliers,

 

We decided to hire a local driver and car for 4-5 hours and search for more suitable habitat for the Iris.  The hotel staff arranged for an excellent driver (Tarrik who is shown below) who did not know English or German but did know the surrounding area.  I wrote a short statement of the habitat we were looking for using our Arabic dictionary and showed him a picture of an Iris.  He stopped to show the picture and I assume explain the habitat to several persons.  The first two persons lead us to unfruitful sites but the third pointed us toward an area in which we found I. basaltica.

 

We found only three plants with six flowers at this site.  The area has been largely converted to farmland with rock piles edging the fields.  The plants were in small areas above the rock piles and below the terrace above.  We searched the immediate area without finding additional plants so are concerned about the fate of this species.   Two girls whose grandmother owned the land joined us.  They picked two of the flowers we were photographing reducing the opportunity for seed production this year.  We tried to complete our work here quickly and hope that they protect the plants in future years.

 

We reluctantly left our lovely motel and took a minibus back to Homs then a bus to Damascus.

 

Ma’a salaama!

 

Carol

4/17/06

 

 

 

 

 

MarHaba from Krak des Chevaliers,

 

We traveled today by bus to Homs then by minibus to Qala’at al-Hosen (Krak des Chevaliers).  We arrived at our hotel (Beber’s hotel) that looks across the canyon to the crusader castle on the next hilltop.  Clyde opted to rest while Thomas and I decided to climb into the ravine to look for I. basaltica.  We searched unsuccessfully for several hours ending up in the small town below the castle.  From there we hiked to a cemetery to see if the local Iris was planted there (it was not) and then up the hill to the castle and on to our hotel. In general the area we searched was more mesic than is typical for Oncocyclus Iris but it had been recorded as growing near the castle. 

 

I was tired but Clyde was of course rested and ready for dinner.  We ate a typically wonderful meal at a restaurant on the hilltop near the castle.  Clyde and I had Syrah wine from Syria with our dinner.  It was our first glass of wine since arriving in the country.

 

Ma’a salaama!

 

Carol

4/16/06