The camels bellowed in protest and we were only an hour into our trek to find orchids and other rare plants in the Asir Mountains of Yemen. The Asir Mountains holds the primary concentrations of orchid species on the Arabian Peninsula because they are located along the mountainous western escarpment that faces and receives moisture from the Red Sea. The terrain is as rugged as it is beautiful and dotted with coffee plantations. We were at an elevation of approximately 1300 meters and moving through a wadi dhahr (mountain pass) when all around us the earth erupted with gunfire! Dirt shot up in the air as the bullets hit just like in the movies! We all dove for cover behind a huge boulder and the camels bolted. The sound registered as a sharp staccato and we could hear the bullets whizzing by us. We then heard yelling from somewhere above us. Our guide started yelling and the other voice answered back and the shooting stopped. Our guide jumped up from the rock he was hiding behind and started yelling in earnest with his fist shaking in the air. A young boy came out from behind the rocks above us with eyes sheepishly cast downward looking embarrassed. It turns out he was target shooting at lizards with his father’s AK47 and was unaware of our presence! After apologies were expressed it turned out he spoke a little English and knew several locations in which large clumps of orchids grew and were now blooming. He offered to show us. We were able to collect seed from several locations of the beautiful Eulophia Petersii.
You can purchase these rare and unique plants here in 6” pots for $67.00