Thursday, 15 March 2012

Calaniot (Wild Anemone)

Remember this post? The post when I mentioned that the season of the beautiful wild anemone, called Calanit in Hebrew, was approaching. Well, I couldn't wait to see them and I'm happy to say that the opportunity arose when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were recently visiting from the UK. This is the time of the year when the anemones carpet the fields in bright red, with the odd white, purple and pink head scattered between them. Our family's visit provided us with a great reason to go and search for these gorgeous flowers.
The Calaniot appear mainly in the south of Israel but a splash of red pops up in the fields further north too. We set out to see what we could find, driving east towards Bet Shemesh and Churvat Madras, the Madras ruins, in the Adulam Park, and stopping when we saw others looking for the very same thing!
Calaniot have a symbolic place in Israeli culture as well as a natural one. During the time of the British Mandate, the term was attached as a nickname to the British soldiers, due to the bright red colour of their berets. A song written by Nathan Altermann in 1945 and made famous by Shoshana Damari about the flowers then became used as a protest song against the British. The song, about the life of a young girl and about anemones which are always blooming all her life long, is one of the most played, performed, loved and cherished songs in Israel today.
Whilst looking at the Calaniot and the beautiful pink Rakefot (Persian Cyclamen) which are also currently in season, below, we stumbled upon this cave, above, known as the Columbarian Cave. The shape of the many concaved holes carved in its wall explains the name of the cave: columba in Greek is pigeon, and columbarium is dovecote. Researchers are unsure about the genuine use of the holes but it seems that one of the uses was for collecting dove-dung for organic fertiliser as well as using the meat for food.
The one and only problem with the Calaniot is their short season. Ongoing rain has mean that these beautiful flowers are beginning to look windswept and ragged, but as I said, the season is anyway short and in a couple of weeks they will disappear altogether. Next winter I will really try to head south and find an even larger carpet of red anemone flowers than I did this year.
* Enjoy this video-clip of the beautiful Israeli countryside, filmed on 'Bible Hill' in Jerusalem, overlooking the Old City. It was created in memory of the singer Shoshana Damari and uploaded by Yael Ashkenazi on You Tube on 3 February 2007.


Annie said...

I had to look the name up immediately as these look much like our poppies. Though the ones pictured here are natives of the Mediterranean, another name is "anemone poppy," so I guess I'm not too far off. They're lovely! We should be seeing poppies here soon!

An Unrefined Vegan

Additionsstyle said...

What beautiful flowers! It must be amazing to see a whole field of these wonderful flowers.
Everyday Inspired

Miss Val's Creations said...

These are so pretty! I love the vibrant red. The video clip is so such a sweet tribute to the anemones.

Meeling said...

They are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

ejorpin said...

These are so lovely! That bright red popping up from the deep green field, very pretty!

And the short flowering season makes them an extra special sight, I think (a bit like the cherry blossoms which will be heading our way soon here in Korea)

Freshly Found said...

We saw those beautiful wild anenomes around the Golan Heights too!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin