The Wild Flowers of Skopelos


For those who love Skopelos and the wildflowers of Greece


Now more than 350

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 350 flowers and trees and also information on the island, its floral landscape, geology, climate, and ecological habitats.


The bedstraw family

3 Aug 2021

The Rubiaceae family is also known as the bedstraw, madder or coffee family. It is an important worldwide plant family, including the coffee plant, (Coffea arabica) and chicona (Chicona officinalis) the source of quinine used in medicine to treat malaria and to flavour tonic water, as well as many weeds and a number of plants used to produce dyes, all referred to in English as madder.

The family is represented on Skopelos by a number of plants of varying morphology; from the long, straggly, troublesome weed, Galium aparine,  to the inconspicuous little plant, bristly crosswort (Valantia hispida), which grows at the base of calciferous rocks. There is also the fragile Sherardia arvensis, a plant of Mediterranean grassland with its flowers of palest pink and stinking madder (Plocama calabrica), with its pretty deep pink flowers but foul smell, whose roots have traditionally been used to produce a red dye and wild madder (Rubia peregrina), whose roots are the source of an orange dye. 

On Skopelos Galium heldreichii, is botanically important, as the first specimen of the species ever identified was found on the island by the Greek plant collector Christos Leonis* and described by the famous botanist Halacsy*.

*For more on the botanists see last month’s blog below.

Four new flower pages have been added to the website,

all are Rubiaceae.

Galium heldreichii.
Galium parisiense
Wall bedstrawWhite/Pages/Galium_parisiense.html
Rubia peregrina.
Wild madderWhite/Pages/Rubia_peregrina.html
Valantia hispida
Bristly crosswortYellow_Orange/Pages/Valantia_hispida.html

Botanical explorations of the Northern Sporades

“In every culture and throughout time, flowers have been central to the human experience.”

Vanessa Diffenbaug.

1 Jul 2021

Rechinger commented on the beautiful Ptolostemon chamaepeuce opposite Skopelos harbour

With its high mountains and scattered islands, Greece has long been known as a country with a rich and varied flora which has attracted the attention of botanists since ancient times. With the recognition of island complexes as biodiversity hotspots and natural laboratories with valuable but fragile ecosystems, it is not surprising that these scattered islands have attracted the attention of a number of famous botanists who have visited the Northern Sporades, collecting specimens and adding to the understanding of the natural environment, plant evolution, the influence of man and environmental change.

In ancient times until the modern age, plants provided food, building materials, fibres for clothing and medicines. This made the collection and the accurate identification of plants was even more important than it is today, but the study of plants and application of modern methods to their assessment continues to be an important activity and will help to understand and preserve the natural environment.

One of the first accurate catalogue of plants and their medicinal uses was De materia medica was written by Dioscorides during the 1st century A.D. but is was the 18th and 19th Centuries which were considered the Golden Age of plant collecting in Greece. Those expedition leaders who visited the Sporades include, Joseph Pitton Tournefort, John Sibthorpe, Dumont D’Urville and later Heldreich, Halacsy and in the 20th Century, Rechinger, Dimitrios Phitos. These names will be recognised by professional and amateur botanists as many plants have been named after them or by them.

A new page has been created on Botanical Explorations of the Sporades.

......for more click Botanists

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