Home > Crete flora,Cretan plants
Common wildflowers include: camomile, daisy, gladiolus, hyacinth, iris, poppy, cyclamen and tulip, among others. There are more than 200 different species of wild orchid on the island and this includes 14 varieties of Ophrys Cretica.Crete has a rich variety of indigenous herbs including common sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.Rare herbs include the endemic Cretan dittany and Ironwort, Sideritis syriaca L, known as Malotira (Μαλοτήρα). Varieties of cactus include the edible Prickly Pear. Common trees on the island include the chestnut, cypress, oak, olive tree, pine, plane,cedrus [ Cedrus (common name Cedar) is a genus of coniferous trees in the plant family Pinaceae. They are native to the mountains of the western Himalayas and the Mediterranean region, occurring at altitudes of 1,500–3,200 m in the Himalayas and 1,000–2,200 m in the Mediterranean.] and tamarisk.Trees tend to be taller to the west of the island where water is more abundant.
Location and general description
The Crete Mediterranean forests ecoregion geographically covers a small area, which is restricted to high mountain ranges (Lefka Ori, 2452 metres (m); Idi Oros, 2456 m; Dikti Oros, 2148 m), hills, and low plains of the island (8700 km2). Climatically, the ecoregion is characterized by a sharp altitudinal gradient. Warm and dry low plains have an average annual temperature of about 17 to 19 º C, with total rainfall of less than 300 millimeters (mm) in the southeastern part of the island, while cold and humid higher elevations have average an annual temperature of about nine to thirteen º C with total rainfall of up to 1400 mm. From the geological point of view, the Crete mountain ranges belong to the Alpine orogenic system, characterized by the predominance of Mesozoic and Tertiary sedimentary rocks such as crystalline limestone, marl, sandstone, and conglomerates. Landform is very complex, typified by impressive karstic landforms (deep canyons, such as Samaria Gorge, poljes, and dolines).
The wide altitudinal range of this ecoregion results in several forest zones. The lowest elevations are distinguished by the predominance of sclerophyllous evergreen and semi-deciduous oak forests (Quercus coccifera, Q. brachyphylla), "maquis" of carob (Ceratonia siliqua), junipers (Juniperus phoenicea), and tree-spurge (Euphorbia dendroides). Phoenix teophrasti, one of the two Mediterranean palm species and endemic to Crete and the Datca Peninsula in south-western Turkey, occurs in a few ravines of the easternmost coastal part of the island (e.g. Vai bay).
At medium altitudes, mesophyllous pine forests (Pinus brutia) and holly oak (Quercus coccifera) woodlands are widely spread. The highest elevations host impresive cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) woodlands, where the endemic evergreen maple (Acer sempervirens) frequently grows. In the high mountain elevations, extensive thorny cushion shrublands occur and support many endemic species.
(based on olive oil)
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