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Dark-brown Iris, Judean Iris
Iris atrofusca

4.2 Endangered

name of participantsBased on: "The Red Book of Israeli Plants - Threatened Plants in Israel" by Prof. Avi Shmida, Dr. Gadi Pollack and Dr. Ori Fragman-Sapir
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

Iris atrofusca is a geophyte in the Iris section Oncocyclus. Its height is 35-50 cm. The leaves are organized in a fan shape, overlapping each other. The leaves are flattened, sword-like, straight and not curved (unlike Iris petrana). It grows in clumps that include many shoots. The flower is large, about 8 cm in diameter, and its height is greater than its width. The perianth color changes by population from black to dark purple to veined violet. It blooms at the beginning of March at low altitudes, such as the Goral Hills near Be’er Sheva, and at the end of March at higher altitudes, e.g. the Rimonim Junction. In the Arad Valley, there are populations that sometimes continue blooming until mid-April.

Iris atrofusca grows in the southern Golan, the Gil'ad
mountains in Jordan, the Mediterranean-Desert ecotone in the Judean Mountains
and the southern Samarian Desert, the Judean Desert, the northern Negev, Arad
Valley, Mount Yatir, the Lahav Hills area until Lehavim Junction. In the past it
was also found in Dahariya.

In the Samarian Desert, a large concentration was found in the area of
the upper tributaries of Wadi Makuk and Wadi U
ǧa, as
well as on the slopes of Kohav HaShahar and Rimonim Junction, at higher
altitudes of 400-700 m. From Ma’ale Mikhmas to the Ma'on Ridge, there is a
large gap in its range, except for a lone population on the Wadi Tko'a cliffs,
near the Haritun Cave, and a small population at the edge of the village of
Bani Na’im. A population was once spotted in the past, near Ma’ale Amos (Kanub
Ruins), but it is apparently extinct due to overgrazing. Recently, Oz Golan
discovered additional populations on the Ma'on Ridge (at Wadi Wa’ar at the foot
of the Carmel, and near Zif). In the northern Arad Valley and the Tel Krayot
Reserve on Mount Amasa, there are large populations along a geographic arch through
Sansana, Goral Hills and northward up to the Lehavim Junction.

Rocky limestone slopes
in ecotones with a precipitation of 200-370 mm, on limestone rocks and terra
rossa soil, in loess soil and gray soils on Neogenic conglomerate. 

expansion of Be’er Sheva has severely affected the Iris
populations at Goral Hills and near the Negev Brigade Monument, and they are almost
completely extinct. Overgrazing suppresses the populations and could to lead to
extinction. Development of transportation infrastructure (train and roads) and
the preparation of land for afforestation critically disturbed the populations
on Goral Hills.

in distinct, very fragmented patches.

threat in Israel is global, because the species is endemic to Israel and
northern Jordan.

Grazing should be
limited, as intense grazing destroys shoots, flowers and foliage. The land
should be left bare of trees or other shade-creating factors and be protected
from all-terrain vehicles. 

This is the most widely
distributed species of all of the royal irises in the Levant. It is endemic to Israel and northern Jordan. The
demarcation of its distribution area is also dependent on the definition of the
“scope” of the species and the taxonomic status of closely related species.

The taxonomic definition
of Iris atrofusca as a broader or limited taxon affects the definition
of its distribution borders and the number of its populations. Nevertheless,
the species is clearly a sub-endemic, very attractive species, which grows in a
patchy, very fragmented pattern and is one of the most beautiful and important
plants for preservation. Nature protection in Israel has led to the
rehabilitation of many ecotone populations in Judea and Samaria, although most
of them are not included in nature reserves, and many are under Palestinian
control, subject to heavy grazing pressure, which as of now is not destructive. 

name of participantsBased on: "The Red Book of Israeli Plants - Threatened Plants in Israel" by Prof. Avi Shmida, Dr. Gadi Pollack and Dr. Ori Fragman-Sapir

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map for observations per pixel
1000 squre meter pixel 5000 squre meter pixel 10000 squre meter pixel
number of observations 0 0 0
in total pixels 0 0 0

ClassificationOn the endangered species list
EcosystemSemi-Steppe Belt
ChorotypeWestern Irano-Turanian
Conservation SiteWadi Mar'it – In the Western Part of Arad Valley, Rimonim Junction or Kohav HaShahar

Red number
Peripherality N
Threat Definition according to the red book Endangered
4 (4) districts
Disjunctiveness: Medium
10.3% of protected sites

Other Species

Vartan's Iris
Petra Iris
Hermon Iris
Samaria Iris