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Tuvia's Iris, King Uzziae Iris
Iris regis-uzziae

3.2 Vulnerable

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: Aug. 21, 2023, 4:32 p.m.

Iris regis-uzziae is a 17-25 cm tall bulb geophyte. Its light-green leaves are straight and slightly shiny. The cross-section of the leaf is grooved. There are two white lines along the edges of the leaf – an excellent identification sign. The flower is whitish to azure, with a characteristic iris shape: three inner narrow perianth segments – "flags", and three lower outer perianth segments – "lips". The lip is longer than the other parts of the flower, and has a yellow, elongated patch at it center on a bluish background. The three pistils are broad and petal-like and each of them forms an upper lip, which, together with the lip, forms an independent flowering unit for visiting bees. There is one stamen in each flowering unit. I. regis-uzziae blooms in late February to early March, and on the Negev Highlands peaks  in early April.

Its distribution is
limited to the northern Negev Mountains and to the Negev Highlands: from the
ridges surrounding the HaMakhtesh HaGadol, Mount Boker, Ramat Ovdat and the
entire Negev Highlands to the Lots Cisterns, Mount Arif and south to Mount
Sagi. Marginal populations of the Negev Highlands core populations exist in a
few locations in the southern Negev at the edge of the Negev Highlands (in the
area of Mount Ido, Wadi Saraf and Wadi Hagor). 

Rocky limestone slopes
with rocky ledges at altitudes above 450 (350) m in the northern Negev. At
higher altitudes within the rocky habitat, with its improved water regime,
populations are denser and the individual plants are larger.

It is important to preserve
the Negev Highland populations between Ovdat and upper Wadi Tsin. In this region,
there are many populations which could become extinct while land is being
developed, as occurred when the airfield was established at Ramat Matred

The plants grow between
rocks. Usually, they do not form clumps, which suggest that their vegetative
reproduction is weak.  There is usually
not much fragmentation between populations.

The population size has not
changed from the past, because the earthworks and development of settlements in
the northern Negev have not affected the populations to date. There are large
annual fluctuations in the abundance of the populations and the number of their
flowers, a phenomenon apparently related to fluctuations in the annual
precipitation in the desert.

The populations in Jordan
are very rare and appear in patches. They are not protected at all.

Protected at the Lots
Cisterns in the Negev Highlands Reserve.

If development activity increases
in the Negev, threatened plants should be translocated to the Negev Highlands

The species is endemic
to the Negev Highlands in Israel and to Edom and Moab in southern Jordan. In Jordan,
it grows only on the upper calcareous ridge (A-Shara formation) at altitudes of
1350-1750 m, from Ras a-Naqeb in the south to the Tafila Mountains in the
north. A few plants were also found in the southern Moab Heights. 

geophyte endemic to the Negev Highlands, Edom and Moab. A young species, which
apparently speciated from Iris palaestina. In most of the sites, it is
not endangered, but development activity in the Negev Highlands is liable to threaten
its populations.

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
EcosystemDesert Mountains
ChorotypeEndemic: Western Irano-Turanian
Conservation SiteLutz Pits and Upper Nahal Tsin in the Negev Mountain Reserve

Red number
Peripherality 0
Threat Definition according to the red book Vulnerable
2 (2) districts
Disjunctiveness: High
65.6% of protected sites

Other Species

Hayne's Iris, Gilboa Iris
Histrio Iris
Dark-brown Iris, Judean Iris
Vartan's Iris