The Wild Flowers of Skopelos


For those who love Skopelos and the wildflowers of Greece

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Now more than 300 flowers and trees

The Wildflowers of Skopelos is for those who love the island of Skopelos and the wildflowers of Greece.

There are now over 300 flowers and trees and also information on the island, its floral landscape, geology, climate, and ecological habitats.

Looking forward to summer

Ο φλεβάρις κι αν Φλεβίσει, καλοκαίρι θα μυρίσει

28 Feb 2020

The popular Greek saying; O flevaris ki an flevisi, kalokari tha mirisi, means that although February brings bad weather, the scent of summer is in the air. It is the time for looking forward to the warmer weather when there is an explosion of wildflowers of every colour scattered across the island of Skopelos. The new flowers added to the website were all photographed in spring or early summer of recent years.

They are not related to each other and all belong to different plant families.

Allium guttatum
drum-stick alliumWhite/Pages/Allium_guttatum.html
Borago officinalis
Legousia falcata
Spicate venus’s looking glassPurple_mauve/Pages/Legousia_falcata.html
Malva unguiculata
briony-leaved mallowPink/Pages/Malva_unguiculata.html

Ranunculus neopolitanus
Naples buttercupYellow_Orange/Pages/Ranunculus_neopolitanus.html
Serapias cordigera
Heart flowered 
tongue orchidOrchids/Pages/Serapias_cordigera.html

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The Fabaceae

The Bean and Pea Family

10 Jan 2020

Tree Medic Medicago arborea

The Fabaceae family, also known as Leguminosae or simply as the pea and bean or legume family; it is the third largest plant family after the Orchid (Orchidaceae) and daisy (Asteraceae) families. The Fabaceae occur as trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants and are found on every continent except Antartica. The plants of the Fabaceae are particularly important in the Mediterranean ecosystem, where soils are often dry and poor in nitrogen.

The defining characteristic of the family is the fruit, which is always a pod, sometimes simple as for Lathyrus peas and Vicia species, coiled as for the medics or curious spiny pods of Onobrychis species. It is often the seed pods which help identifying a specific species.

The flowers of the largest subfamily are bilaterally symmetrical ( zygomorphic), the typical pea flower; they are often brightly coloured and said to resemble butterflies hence the name Papillonaceae.

The Fabaceae are economically important providing valuable highly nutritious foods which are rich in protein including lentils, peas and an assortment of beans, important in the Greek culinary tradition. Their use as foods goes back to ancient times with evidence of the cultivation of peas and lentils in Neolithic Greek settlements and it is probable that the seeds of wild peas were collected and eaten before this. In Santorini the seeds of Lathyrus clymenum, a plant which grows wild on Skopelos, are used to make the special  Santorini Fava. The plants are also valued as animal fodder, constituents of animal pastures and hay and are also used to fertilise the ground as green manure and in crop rotation.The flowers are attractive to bees and support honey production.

On Skopelos there are about 100 species of Fabaceae, ranging from the common white clover, Trifolium repens, which is distributed widely throughout the world; to the relatively rare Malcolmia macrocalyx ssp. macrocalyx found only on the islands of North and West Aegean. Some plants such as the narrow-leaf lupin (Lupinus angustifolia) may be grown in gardens,  but others, such as  hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) may act as troublesome agricultural weeds. Trees include the carob, with its edible pods, the Judas tree, with its  clusters of brilliant pink flowers and Colutea arborescens, with curious papery pods. The shrubs which explode with yellow blossoms in early summer are  mostly Fabaceae and a variety of herbaceous plants: clovers, medics, lotus and vetches all belong to this family as well as a variety of wild peas, including Pisum sativum, a predecessor of the modern pea, which can be found scrambling through the long grass.

Nitrogen fixation

Bacteria from the soil, known as rhizobia, infect the roots of the Fabaceae, where they multiply sometimes developing nodules.  The bacteria take up nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it to nitrogenous compounds such as ammonia, which can be used by the plants to form amino acids and proteins - the process is referred to as nitrogen fixation. As well as using these compounds for there own growth and development, an excess of nitrogenous compounds are returned to the soil, improving its fertility and are taken up by surrounding plants. The plants and the bacteria are mutually beneficial, symbiotic; the plants gain nitrogen and the bacteria gain nourishment in the form of simple carbohydrates which the plant create by the process of photosynthesis.

New flowers all belonging to Fabaceae family:

Lathyrus digitatus
Grass vetchlingPink/Pages/Lathyrus_digitatus.html
Lotus angustissimus 
Slender bird’s-foot trefoilYellow_Orange/Pages/Lotus_angustissimus.html
Lotus cystoides 
Bird’s-foot trefoilYellow_Orange/Pages/Lotus_cystoides.html
Lotus ornithopodiodes 
Bird’s-foot trefoilYellow_Orange/Pages/Lotus_ornithopodioides.html
Medicago arabica
Spotted medicYellow_Orange/Pages/Medicago_arabica.html

Medicago orbicularis
Blackdisc medicYellow_Orange/Pages/Medicago_orbicularis.html
Medicago polymorpha
Toothed medicYellow_Orange/Pages/Medicago_polymorpha.html
Medicago rugosa 
Wrinkled medicYellow_Orange/Pages/Medicago_rugosa.html
Melilotus indica 
Indian sweetcloverYellow_Orange/Pages/Melilotus_indicus.html
Melilotus officinalis 
Onobrychis aeqidentata
Equal-toothed sanfoinPink/Pages/Onobrychis_aequidenta.html
Onobrychis caput-galli
Cockscomb sanfoinPink/Pages/Onobrychis_caput-galli.html
Ononis pusilla 

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