1750 plant species have been recorded in Crete. This is an impressive number, considering the small size of the island of Crete. How have these plants managed to survive under the harsh conditions that cause the climate, the geology and the human activities?
The excursion is made with the escort of a qualified botanist and takes place in various areas, depending on the season you will be visiting Crete, and on how much you enjoy hiking. it addresses to botanists and people who are interested in getting acquainted with the majestic world of Cretan flora.
The Cretan landscape exhibits remarkable variation which includes mountains, plateaus, fertile lands and kilometer after kilometer of coastline. It is also in close proximity to three different continents. Consequently, Crete provides the conditions for the existence of more than 1.750 different species of plants, which is a huge number considering the size of the island. About 160 of these plants are endemic to Crete, which means that they are to be found only on Crete and nowhere else in the world.
(1) How do plants manage to survive on the island of Crete?
(2) How do they deal with hostile human actions?
(3) How do they repel herbivorous animals?
(4) How do they attract animals or insects that aid them?
(5) How do they survive in areas with minimum moisture?
(6) What do they do to deal with the deadly sun of the Mediterranean?
(7) How do they help their offsprings to spread?
(8) How are they affected by the strong wind of the mountain tops?
(9) How is it that some of them live so close to the sea?
(10) Are there any plants that are favored when bush-fires happen?
We will try to answer these questions as we visit Cretan flora in their natural habitats, in the fields, in bush-lands, in forests, on coastlines or on cliffs.
The programme is a tour focusing on and representing various ecosystems (bush land, gorge coast). The aim is to l get to know as many as possible of the native plants, many of which are endemic. We’ll see how their shape, their thorns, their scents, their colours, their particularities or their flavours allow them to survive and grow in the often adverse conditions caused by the climate, the geology, the geographical position of Crete and even, the human activity. We’ll see how the plants deter their enemies and how they attract their friends. We will also inspect the mechanisms that allow them to deal with extreme weather.