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MAY 2008 | MAY 2007 continued

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Muscari comosum - Tassel Hyacinth - the ‘volvi’ of Cretan menus, the Tassel Hyacinth bulbs are not to everyone’s taste. According to ancient poetry, the Cretan diet consisted of ‘volvi, snails and wine.’

Ornithogalum hedgerow - this wonderful hedgerow of Ornithogalum and Vicia was seen on Lassithi, late in the afternoon as we were just about to head home. It was so beautiful, we all had to get out our cameras again to capture the moment.

Petromarula pinnata - Rock Lettuce - unfortunately all the goats and sheep had eaten the other specimens of this species. This plant was growing in a fairly inaccessible rock crevice and was difficult to photograph too. Past its best, it is the only one I have seen this year. The leaves of the P. pinnata are also eaten by humans; its name comes from the Greek ‘petra’ – ‘rock’ and ‘marouli’ – ‘lettuce’. The flowers are a wonderful, almost indescribable blue against the foliage and the grey rocks.

Phlomis lanata - this Phlomis is endemic to Crete and is found in rocky soil. This specimen was growing along with Petromarula and Ebenus on a north facing rock face.

Scabious atropurpurea - found in abundance at this time of the year, this Knautia resembles Scabiosa maritime, but can be recognised by its florets which have four lobes instead of five.

Carthamus lanatus subsp. boeticus - this spiky thistle has flower heads covered with woolly down and surrounded by strong thorns. It is found in dry, barren locations.

Scutellaria sieberii - this hairy, bright green plant bears white flowers in an elongated, drooping spike. It is endemic to Crete and likes to grow on rocky slopes.

Stork’s Bill Seedpods - although many of the wild flowers have finished blooming for this year, the seed heads can be equally fascinating and beautiful. This seed pod shows exactly why the species got its name. To see the flower that preceeds this strange seedpod, please look at Erodium gruinum in March.

Swallowtail - in many meadows, the air is filled with many varieties of butterfly, reminding me of the ancient Butterfly Goddess of the Minoans. Unfortunately, butterflies, as always, are difficult to photograph, but a great deal of patience rewarded me with this shot of a Swallowtail on a Knautia.

 
   
 
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