The writer was recently asked if flowers grow at the Dead Sea. Having been a minister for 50 years he was expected to know the answer. The answer he gave was "Yes." Then he shared that, at En Gedi, on the western shore, of the Dead Sea, one could find a waterfall, palm trees and much vegetation. This beautiful area was used for refreshing. David hid from King Saul there. The singular beauty of En Gedi is difficult to described with words. There are flowers.
An ancient synagogue was recently excavated there. En Gedi is a lovely respite from the dry, empty area surrounding the Dead Sea. There is a spa, a hostel, and a kibbutz for spending the nights. Of course one can float on the sea without fear of sinking.
Cleopatra loved the area and had a cosmetic business establised there. Many cosmetics are made from the various salts in the water and area. She asked Mark Antony to make the Dead Sea a part of the Roman Empire.
There you can find henna (Lawsonia inermis), which is native to Asia and the Mediterranean coast of Africa. It has small four-petaled flowers and is intensely fragrant. The colors range from yellow to pink.
The leaves produce a red dye. Twice a year leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a fine powder. this powder is used to dye hair red.
The dried henna is used in the east for the art of Mehndi, especially in India. Mehndi is the process of painting patterns on the body with henna paste. This results in stains left on the skin. Intricate patterns are applied to the skin on hands and the feet. this is often done for the bride preceding her wedding.
Medically henna has been used by applying it to burns and scrapes. It also has been used to treat rashes.
King Solomon said: "My beloved is a bouquet of henna flowers from the vineyards of En Gedi." (Song of Solomon 1:14).
Certain flowering plants around the dead sea contain substances that delay germination when the amount of rain is low. At the end of a wet winter the area is covered with various beautiful colorful plants with brilliant blossoms in various colors.
The Rose of Jericho is an annual plant found between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, Jericho and other nearby locations. It takes nutriment through its single root. It appears to be a dried ball of entwined dead branches. It eventually breaks free of its root and rolls along the ground with the wind dispersing its seeds as it rolls--much like tumbleweed. These branches stretch out when they absorb moisture and the plant bursts open. The flowers are very tiny white blossoms. It also disperses its seeds on the wind as it bursts open. This causes a new generation of growth far from the original plant's site.
This flowering, tradition says, is a rebirth causing the plant to be a symbol of renewal and revival for it early appeared to be dead.
Beduin and Egyptian women would put the plant in water. They believed through the nature of its flowering, they could predict if their childbirth would be easy or difficult. Drinking the water would surely speed up their labour, they believed.
Many Christian pilgrims associated the Rose of Jericho with Rose Mystica, a part of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic liturgy. The Rose of Jericho is sold in attractive boxes that are open on the front to expose the dead-looking ball.
Unfortunately, since 2010, there had been a drought in the Holy Land. The Sea of Galilee is at a sad level. Because the farms on both sides of the Jordan River use river water to irrigate their crops the Dead Sea is a very small lake. No water is running into it from the Jordan River.