The heat levels have started to climb again in Israel, and an extreme heat wave is predicted to last at least through the middle of next week. And yet, one of the distinct and well-known symbols of autumn which is also one of Israel’s most famous flowers – the common Squill – is already blooming. The common Squill, Drimia maritima, is a species of the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae.
The staff at the Carmel Beach Field School of the Society for the Protection of Nature have recorded in recent days the first bloom of the Squill – Hatzav.
Its Hebrew name means the Carver, and it is derived from the plant’s root’s ability to carve its way into the rock.
School Director Shahaf Reter related: “I was walking around our property and I suddenly came across the blossoming pillars of the Squills. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We sometimes see an early bloom, but this one surprised us, taking place at the height of summer heat and humidity. The white blossom stands in complete contrast to the yellow and dry background, and for me, this bloom symbolizes that no matter what happens, nature continues to renew itself every season, surprising and exciting us all.”
“I hope the images will help cool down the people of Israel a little, ahead of a particularly hot week,” she added.
“One of the special things about the Squill is its inflorescence column, which after a few years and appropriate amounts of rain, can reach a height of one and a half meters and beyond,” explained Avner Rinot, a surveyor in the Urban Nature Surveys Unit of the Society for the Protection of Nature. Avner Rinot, a surveyor in the Urban Nature Surveys Unit of the Society for the Protection of Nature. “The flowers open in the evening and the Squill specializes in pollination at night by moths and in the morning by species of bees and wasps that are attracted to its sweet nectar. Birds also love this nectar.”
“The Squill’s flowering columns usually rise at the end of August and during September, and the blooming sometimes lasts until the end of October,” Rinot continued. “Sometimes you can see an earlier bloom than usual already in the middle of summer in July, usually near a permanent water source such as an irrigation pipe, a stream, or a spring.”
“The common Squill has an onion-shaped root that stores energy in the form of sugars during the winter through photosynthesis, and this allows it to bloom at a time when almost no other plant does – late summer and early fall,” he said. But while the plant’s flowers are full of sweet juice that birds and insects love, the root is packed with an acidy substance to discourage animals from chewing into it.