Gordon Tours Israel Blog

Autumn is Coming to the Holy Land

Icon October 13, 2022
Icon By Shai Navon
Icon 0 comments

There is so much history to experience in the Holy Land that sometimes the Land itself gets overlooked. This is understandable, but, in actuality, combining the spiritual experience of visiting Israel’s holy sites with the enduring local nature offers a unique perspective unlike any other.

One thing that makes Israeli nature particular is its autumn vegetation, which includes plants mentioned in the Bible that are still blooming in Israel every autumn as temperatures begin to drop.

Most of nature comes to life during springtime, but some flowers actually thrive when others get ready for their winter slumber. We’re excited to share a list of some of our favorite autumn plants that can be found around many famous Christian sites in Israel.

The Bringer of Autumn

The Drimia, or Chatzav in Hebrew, is the most famous Israeli autumn plant. It’s recorded in ancient Hebrew texts for being feisty and for its unusual blooming season, which has given it the nickname “the autumn bringer.” 

This beautiful flower’s feistiness has made it stand out since biblical times. The surprising tenacity by which it clings to its roots is why the Chatzav was used to mark boundaries between tribal territories, as they were – and still are – hard to root out. Thousands of years later, it’s still holding on, in the beautiful northern part of Israel every autumn, like clockwork.

The Winter Saffron

The Crocus hyemalis is commonly known as Winter Saffron, an aromatic plant mentioned in Solomon’s Song of Songs (chapter 4, verse 14). The flower was used in biblical times to color clothes and food with its bright yellow dye, while its orange offshoot was dried to make the saffron spice.

The flower is unique to Israel and its closest northern neighbors and can be found in abundance in a nature reserve 30 minutes from where Jesus Christ grew up, Nazareth. This colorful autumn bloom can be found in the Alonei Aba Nature Reserve.

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Steven’s Meadow Saffron

This is another autumn bringer, which blooms right before the winter rains come in. The Meadow Saffron prospers around hilly and mountainous regions, including the Kinarot Valley, which surrounds the Sea of Galilee, where Christ performed miracles.

In Hebrew, the Steven’s Meadow Saffron is called the “Autumn First Rain” and until recently, it was classified as a rose for its intense pink colors. Today it is a proud member of the onion family! While beautiful, it includes many toxins, and very few animals can feed off it, so better not to give it a taste.

The Big Yolk

The Big Yolk, in Hebrew, is part of the Narcissus plant family and is easily spotted thanks to its massive size and intense yellow colors that recall the color of an egg yolk.

Its official name is Sternbergia clusiana, and you can admire this local favorite’s autumn bloom in the Judean Mountains surrounding Jerusalem, such as the Sorek River Nature Reserve.

If you do get the chance to travel to Israel during autumn, we highly recommend combining some ancient nature trips alongside  the ancient history to make the most out of your experience.

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