Flowers of Crete encourages interest in Crete's wild flowers
and promotes their conservation.
More flowers month by month here.
Flower of the month - February 2016
Ophrys basilissa - royal ophrys
'Basilissa' means empress and refers to the large lip of this showy, early-flowering Ophrys orchid, found in phrygana and olive groves.
Like many of this group, there are different views on species and subspecies. Some books call this orchid Ophrys omegaifera ssp. basilissa. Ophrys fusca ssp. basilissa is another synonym.
Orchid enthusiasts may enjoy subtle differences, but taxonomic change - notably the definition of more species - is underpinned by improved knowledge. There are genetic differences linked to the insects the flowers attract. Usually each orchid species has
its own pollinator, often a solitary bee species.
Flower photos on Facebook
Julia Jones from Flowers of Crete has taken up a Facebook challenge to post
a flower photo every day for a week, choosing endemic flowers of Crete (naturally!). You can either go straight to our Facebook here, or see the individual posts on the following links:
Day 7 -
Himantoglossum samariense Cretan lizard orchid
Day 6 - Fritillaria messanensis ssp sphaciotica
Day 5 - Viola cretica
Day 4 - Ebenus creticus
Day 3 - Tulipa cretica
Day 2 -
Orchis papillionacea ssp alibertis a white form of the endemic butterfly orchid
Day 1 -
Paeonia clusii ssp clusii
Following Julia's seven flowers, Fotis
Samaritakis is also posting a flower a day. Also 'Winter Flowers of Hania' is a photoset by Fotis
to enjoy on Flowers of Crete's Facebook page.
Botanic arts festival, April 2016 - an invitation to contribute. See news.
Bellevalia juliana: a new flower for Crete, named after Flowers of Crete founder, Julia Jones. More in news. Photoset of Bellevalia juliana by Stephen Lenton on Facebook start here.
Oliver Rackham OBE 1939-2015.
and author of
The Making of the Cretan Landscape has died. More in news. See also proposed commemorative symposium for Oliver Rackham in the UK (Cambridge) in August 2016.
Wild Orchid Conservation workshop, led by Phil Seaton and FoC's Julia Jones, 1st - 6th June 2015 in Hungary. More in news here >
Cretan fritillary is an endemic subspecies found only on the island, according to research at the University of Patras. See news here >
Conserving the Cretan Lizard Orchid. Himantoglossum
samariense (right) is one of Crete's most elusive and threatened plants. Julia Jones from Flowers of Crete describes recent efforts to find and protect it - read the full story here.
Flowers of Crete holidays and courses
Flowers of Crete holidays and courses 2016 are now open for bookings. Details of flower and orchid-finding trips in spring and summer plus autumn bulb finding are all on our holidays page. Food Foraging and Discovery Trips, and a botanic art workshop with Julia Jones in October 2016, are on our specialist holidays page.
Getting started with Crete's wonderful flowers
With some 1700 species of flowers native to Crete, of which 10 per cent are endemic, you may wonder where to start. One way is to click on the photos below. You can find out what these flowers are, and see our Flowers of Crete introductory web pages ...
Saving the Cretan Palm
The Cretan palm Phoenix theophrastii is found only on the coast of Crete and south-western Turkey, and on Crete is best known from Vai and Préveli.
The red palm weevil, sadly sometimes imported on cultivated palm species, is a serious threat to the near-endemic Cretan palm and every effort needs to be taken to try to stop its progress.
You can help by keeping an eye out of the weevil and its grubs and reporting news to Flowers of Crete.