The Wild Flowers of Skopelos


For those who love Skopelos and the wildflowers of Greece

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The Wild Flowers of Skopelos Blog

Ramblers and scramblers

19th June 2018

Plants become climbers, in order as it may be presumed, to reach the light,

and to expose a large area of their leaves to its action and to that of the free air.”


As spring progresses into summer and the brilliantly coloured wildflower scattered across the island begin to fade and die, but a walk along the lanes and narrow footpaths, the monopatia, of Skopelos is brightened by the pale pink and white of the ramblers and scramblers.

There is the beautiful evergreen rose, Rosa sempervirans, with an abundance of pure white blooms and green glossy leave and the simple pale pink dog rose, Rosa canina; the heavily scented Mediterranean clematis, Clematis flammula, with its myriad of creamy-white flowers which twines around wire fences and clambers over neighbouring bushes in full summer sun; the more discrete Clematis vitalba, whcih flowers later and prefers shady places. The brambles, Rubus sanctus and R. canescens, which can be troublesome weeds, at this time of year are covered in pink or white blossom which are followed by tasty blackberries. Possibly the most delightful of all is the honeysuckle, Lonicera implexa, with its twirling stems and pretty tubular flowers with their delicate fragrance and sweet nectar.

Four new plants have been added, all ramblers and scramblers:


Clematis vitalba
Old man’s beardWhite/Pages/Clematis_vitalba.html
Lonicera implexa
Rosa canina
Dog rose.Pink/Pages/Rosa_canina.html
Rubus canescens
Woolly brambleWhite/Pages/Rubus_canescens.html

Peas, pretty peas

2nd May 2018

Resembling butterflies and visited by bees.

At this time of year, when the grass grows rapidly in fields, olive groves and even on derelict sites, a search amongst the green folliage will reveal flowers, which resemble brightly coloured butterflies; they were formerly called papillonaceae. They belong to the genera, Lathyrus, Vicia and Pisum, commonly known as peas.

The structure of the pea flowers has evolved in codependency with bees, which are necessary for their cross pollination. The bees are attracted by the bright coloured upper petal, the standard, the sweet smell of nectar and the promise of pollen. The bees weight, landing on the side petals, the wing, opens up the keel petals which hide the pollen bearing stamens. The pollen is picked up on the furry body of the bee and pollen from other flowers is transferred to the style to fertilise the female parts of the flower to allow the development of the fruit. The fruits are pods and the seeds are peas. Each kind of flower has a special relationship to a group of specialised bees.

Five new flowers have been added, all are Faboideae - the pea subfamily of the pea family.

All the peas are edible, though not all tasty, but need to be eaten with caution.

(See......Lathyrism and Favism).

Lathyrus aphaca
Yellow vetchlingYellow_Orange/Pages/Lathyrus_aphaca.html
Lathyrus clymenum
Crimson peaRed/Pages/Lathyrus_clymenum.html
Lathyrus setifolia
Narrow leaved vetchlingRed/Pages/Lathyrus_setifolia.html
Vicia bithynica
Bithynian peaPurple_mauve/Pages/Vicia_bithynica.html
Lathyrus articulatus
Joint podded peaRed/Pages/Lathyrus_articulatus.html

See also:

Pisum sativum 
Wild peaPink/Pages/Pisum_sativum.html
Vicia hybrida
Hairy vetchYellow_Orange/Pages/Vicia_hybrida.html
Vicia sativa
Wild peaPurple_mauve/Pages/Vicia_sativa.html

April flowers

3rd April 2018

Springtime  in Skopelos, a scattering of colour on a green island

Almost 700 plants including grasses, shrubs, trees and ferns, as well as herbaceous plants have been recorded by botanists visiting Skopelos and many of these plants come into bloom in springtime. The annuals and biennials completing their life-cycle before the hot dry months of summer.

Skopelos is recognised as the Green on Blue Island, but in spring there is an explosion of colour, with many plants opening their flowers during the months of March, April and May. The brilliant reds of poppies and yellow chrysanthemums; the more subtle pinks of centaurea, cistuses and geraniums; cool blues of campanulae and lupins; purples from pale the pale mauve Knautia integrifolia to the deep magenta of wild gladiolae  and a variety of white Apiaceae, with their umbrella heads, create a scattering of colour on the green island.

Five new flowers have been added; all of which come to full bloom in April.

Arabis verna
Spring rock cressPurple_mauve/Pages/Arabis_verna.html
Gladiolus illyricus
Wild gladiolusPurple_mauve/Pages/Gladiolus_illyricus.html
Lupinus augustifolia
Narrowleaf lupinBlue/Pages/Lupinus_augustifolia.html
Scorpiurus muricatus
Prickly caterpillarYellow_Orange/Pages/Scorpiurus_muricatus.html

Securigera cretica
Cretan crown vetchWhite/Pages/Securigera_cretica.html
Securigera parviflora
Crown vetchPink/Pages/Securigera_parviflora.html
Tordylium maximum

One man’s weed is another man’s flower

3rd March 2018

Eight new plants, all added can be considered, by some, to be weeds.

Chenopodium album
Fat henGreen_Brown/Pages/Chenopodium_album.html
Crozophora tinctoria
Dyers crotonYellow_Orange/Pages/Chrozophora_tinctoria.html
Galium aparine
Galium spurium
False cleaversWhite/Pages/Galium_spurium.html
Kickxia elatine
Sharp-leaved fluellinYellow_Orange/Pages/Kickxia_elatine.html
Plantago lanceolata
Ribwort plantainGreen_Brown/Pages/Plantago_lanceolata.html
Polygonum equisetiforme
Horsetail knotweedPink/Pages/Polygonum_equisetiformis.html
Tribulus terrestris

Weeds are not recognised as a botanical entity, but they have been given different definitions by different people: a plant not sown in a field by a farmer, a plant not planted in a garden by a gardener, or a valueless plant growing wild.

Possibly the best way to regard a weed is as the wrong plant in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Some weed are attractive and have aesthetic qualities

Over recent decades it has been recognised that many weeds have positive environmental effects. They can provide habitats and food for wildlife, including some rare moths, butterflies and birds; they can be a good source of nectar for bees; they may contain useful chemicals or dyes and some, like poppies, are attractive and have positive aesthetic qualities.

Many weeds are highly nutritious; this is well recognised by the Skopelitians who are very knowledgeable about edible wild greens and collect them as horta.

One man’s weed is another man’s flower and, in some cases, his lunch. 

A special tree of Skopelos

the walnut (Juglans regia)

31st January 2018

Walnuts are important in the culinary repertoire of Skopelos; where they are preserved in local honey to be served with yoghurt or made into walnut cake, karithopita, for which the International Cafe is famous....more

Juglans regia

A few special trees of Skopelos

17th January 2018

Although a surprising number of flowers bloom in the it is during the colder months that trees seem to dominate the environment. This month four new trees have been added; all are fruit trees, which are considered to be typically Mediterranean, although there origins may still be a mystery.

Almonds (Prunus dulcis) are the first trees to bloom and a harbingers of spring, scattering the island with fragrant pale pink blossom....more

Pyrus spinosa, is a truly wild, hardy, Mediterranean tree....more

The Valonia oak (Quercus ithaburensis ssp. macrolepsis) is almost certainly the sacred oak of Zeus and the tree of the mythical oak woods of ancient Greece, where the gods and humans consorted....more

The humble fig tree (Ficus carica) is more interesting than at first apparent....more

Ficus carica
Fig treeTrees/Pages/Ficus_carica.htmlTrees/Pages/Ficus_carica.htmlTrees/Pages/Ficus_carica.htmlshapeimage_42_link_0shapeimage_42_link_1
Prunus dulcis
Pyrus spinosa
Wild pearTrees/Pages/Pyrus_spinosa.htmlTrees/Pages/Pyrus_spinosa.htmlTrees/Pages/Pyrus_spinosa.htmlshapeimage_44_link_0shapeimage_44_link_1
Quercus ithaburensis ssp. macrolepsis
Valonia oakTrees/Pages/Quercus_ithaburensis.htmlTrees/Pages/Quercus_ithaburensis.htmlTrees/Pages/Quercus_ithaburensis.htmlTrees/Pages/Quercus_ithaburensis.htmlshapeimage_45_link_0shapeimage_45_link_1shapeimage_45_link_2

Click here for more trees of Skopelos.


Now more than 200 flowers and trees