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Crete flora

cOphrys Orchid zOregano


Salvia Officinalis

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.

Cypress  e  Oaku Pine (platanus)a
Cypresses in Cretey Cedrus treecedrus
Tamasisk treey  


Cretan forests



The Crete Mediterranean forests are a cornerstone of the ecology of the island of Crete. This island ecoregion, found in the Mediterranean Sea, has been ravaged by human mismanagement, beginning in the Bronze Age. Timber harvesting and the conversion of forest into pastures have altered much of the original landscape of the island. Floral and faunal diversity for this relatively small ecoregion is high, containing three endemic mammal species, Zimmerman's White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura zimmermannii), the Spiny-mouse (Acomys minous), and a wild goat (Capra hircus cretensis). The island also supports a number of rare and endangered birds such as the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus).

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.

crete plants

Peculiar plant in Lasithi Crete

cretan trees forestsCretan forest from cypresses in Vathi near Kalo Chorio (Lassithi area)


Dikti mountaina

Dikti or Dicte (Greek: Δίκτη) (also Lasithiotika Ori, Greek: Λασιθιώτικα Όρη) is a mountain range on the east of the island of Crete in the regional unit of Lasithi. On the west it extends to the regional unit of Heraklion. According to the Greek Mythology, Zeus was reared on this mountain in a cave called Dictaeon Andron (Psychro Cave). On the north of the main massif, the plateau of Lasithi is located. Read more

Episkopi Ierapetra

dEpiskopi Ierapetras is a village on the Greek island of Crete. Episkopi belongs to the municipality of Ierapetra in the prefecture of Lasithi. It lies north of Ierapetra in the middle of the narrowest part of the island. The village has approximately one thousand inhabitants.
The village was established during the Minoan period, probably between 2500 and 2000 BCE. Is located..Read more

Potamos Malias

Right next to the archaeological site of Malia, a beautiful sandy beach makes the difference. The scenery includes tamarisk trees, crystal clear waters, a small river that spills into the sea (and makes the water a bit chiller!) and many sea urchins on the rocks – in case you are a fan of this mezze! It may be organized but still differs from the rest of the beaches in the area, as it is more peaceful, there is plenty Read more

Church Saint Virgins

Single room church of 12th century with unique frescoes from 14th century.Lies in Agios Nikolaos - Crete Read more