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Romulea phoenicia

Romulea phoenicia

One more photograph and write-up from Jackie Chambers today. Thanks again!

Romulea are cormus perennials closely related to Crocus. There are more than 80 species within the genus, and they are endemic to Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.

Romulea phoenicia is native to Lebanon and Northern Israel. Like many geophytes from this part of the world, they are well suited to the winter rains and hot dry summers. Leaves emerge at end of autumn and die back after flowering and fruiting at the end of winter. Purple flowers are produced between January and April. Flowers are 25-35mm and have 6 petals. The entire plant reaches 5-10 cm height (view more photographs).

The species name phoenicia may refer to both the flower’s endemic range and to the flower’s colour. The ancient Phoenician civilization centered around an area that is today's coastal Lebanon and northern Israel; this coincides with the plants natural distribution. The term Phoenicia is derived from the Greek word phoinix meaning purple-red. This is a reference to a dye traditionally produced by the Phoenicians in the city of Tyre.

Royal Purple, or Tyrian purple, is derived from the mucus secreting gland of the Spiny Murex snail. The production of this dye was labor intensive and expensive which explains why it was used only for royal and ceremonial garments (read more on the dye making process).


OH, I love that color. I want clothes that color. I want flowers that color. I want a dog that color. I want I want I want...

How lovely that the size of the plant and blossom was added. I truly appreciate that. You are wonderful for sharing all that you do. Thank you so much.

Thanks for replying to my whine the other day. I'm an amateur photographer and have lots of flower photos from zone 5. If you're interested, I'd be glad to allow you a few for use here.

Beautiful... It almost looks like a fluff of snow atop the sex... Or maybe the fresh stuff outside is putting ideas in my head!

Exquisite! And thanks for the dye-making link. Who'd have thought you could milk snails?!

What wonderfully rich colours in the flowers and the green leaves. I love all the information , too.
Thank you,

Wow! I am currently studying for my RHS Master of Horticulture award in England and I passed the details of this daily on to collegues to have a look at, one of them told me that I "need to get out more" but you just caome up with such interesting stuff that is unexpected when looking at plants! Many thanks Daniel for this stimulating daily bite of info.

If you are watching the British series ROME on the
History channel 52 at least locally you can see the white toga praetexta worn by youth of the senatorial and later imperial family with a royal purple or Phoenician red border. They inherited this from the Etruscan aristocracy and is still visible in the robes of the Roman Catholic cardinals. The series Rome has good acting if a bit hammish and barely comprehensible British accents good costuming which is where you can see the red edged togas but is rather heavy on the murder violence crucifixions and assassinations. They havent killed off Julius Caesar yet but it is to come with no doubt gore knee deep and Phoenician purple bathing the screen red.

Wow! I like it because my friend love this color >(^_^)

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