• Issue: April 1963
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Plate no.: 92 - 94
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Lilium Candidum (White Lily)

"As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters," extols the poet of the Song of Solomon (2, 2).

The White Lily is indeed one of the most beautiful of Israel wild flowers. In the late spring days the flower is found hiding in the rocky clefts of the mountains of Galilee and the Carmel.

The flowers have a heavy fragrance. No wonder that the poet of the Bible was stirred to sing "His lips are as lilies dropping liquid myrrh." (Song of Solomon 5: 13).

The lily (shoshan) is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. Not only was the poet of the Song of Solomon stirred by its beauty, but it seems, that the lily flower served as a popular symbol of beauty, fragrance and generosity. Its beauty inspired the artist-craftsmen of King Solomon's Temple to decorate the pillars of the Temple with lily flowers: "And the capitals that were upon the top of the pillars were of lily work ... " (Kings 7: 19). The lily was shown on coins of the Maccabeans, John Hyrcanus (134-104 BCE) and Alexander Janneus (103-76 BCE).

Althaea Setosa (Bristly Hollyhock)

The beautiful Althaea Setosa Boiss makes its appearance when the last of the colorful spring flowers have already retreated from the countryside. Growing to a height of 2 to 3 meters the handsome Althaea Setosa with its deep rose-pink blooms stands out against the background of the yellowing hillsides. Its tall, erect appearance has evoked the popular name of "Migdal Hapaamonim" - the Tower of Bells.

As is typical of plants of the Malvaceae family the buds of Althea Setosa are protected by a double row of rounded sepals. When the flower opens, the unripe stigmas are still hidden in the staminal tube which surrounds the pistil. It is only later that the ripe stigmas spread in the center. The honey which is secreted at the base of each petal attracts bees and other insects that help to pollinate the flower.

Tulipa Sharonensis (Sharon Tulip)

During the months of March and April the hills and valleys of Israel are covered with flaming red tulips lifting their goblet-shaped crowns to greet the coming spring. This modest wild flower is most probably the original forbear of the stately, dignified tulip blooms that are now cultivated the world over.

Tulipa Sharonensis is one of the four species of wild tulips in Israel. It grows in the sandy loam soil of the coastal plains. With its firmly rooted bulb growing at a depth of 30 cm it is hard to dislodge. The bulb gives rise to an underground stem which bears, close to ground level, a group of curled leaves in the center of which the single tulip bloom eventually rises. The flower has six petals arranged in two rows. The outer one protects the flower as it emerges from the earth; when these redden they retain a greenish-yellowish tinge at their base. The flower bears a pistil in the center, surrounded by six stamens. The tulip has no nectar; it is pollinated by bees and beetles.

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