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LETTER xvi                   WILD FLOWERS                                   5

and flies abound. It is very pretty, but very uncomfort-
able. The stream is noisy, and a rude flour mill above
has the power, which it has exercised, of turning it into
another channel for irrigation purposes. There are some
large Ilyat camps above, and from these and from Eustam-i
the people have been crowding in.

The wild flowers about Ali-kuh are in great profusion
just now, the most showy being hollyhocks—white, pink,
and mauve, which affect the cultivated lands. Three
parasitic plants are also abundant, one of them being the
familiar dodder. Showy varieties of blue and white
campanulas, a pink mallow, a large blue geranium,
chicory, the blue cornflower, and the scarlet poppy all
grow among the crops.

In the course of a day's expedition to the summit of
the Ali-kuh Pass large Ilyat camps abounded, and the
men were engaged in stacking the leaves and the
blossoming stalks of the wild celery for fodder later in
the season. These flower-stalks attain a height of over
six feet. These, and the dried leaves of the Centaurea
alata, which are laid in heaps weighted down with stones,
are relied upon by the nomads for the food of their
flocks on the way down from the summer to the winter
pastures, and much of their industry, such as it is, is spent
in securing these " crops."

This Ali-kuh Pass, 9500 feet in altitude, is on the most
direct route from Isfahan to the Bazuft river, but is
scarcely used except by the Ilyats. It is in fact horribly
steep on the Ali-kuh side. The great Bakhtiari ranges on
its south-west side, and a deep valley below, closed by the
great mass of Amin-i-lewa, are a contrast to the utterly
shadeless and mostly waterless regions of Persia proper
which lie eastwards, blazing and glaring in the summer
sunshine. „ There is a little snow and some ice, and the
snow patches are bordered by a small rosy primula,