wild-flowe-crete

In April and May Crete is covered by wild flowers: poppies, daisies, camomile, iris (Iris cretica), gladiola (Gladiolus italicus), tulips (Tulipa orphanidea), hyacinth (Muscari commosum) and various species of Cretan orchids.

In shady areas white cyclamens (Cyclamen creticum) can be found. Cyclamens are considered an endangered species, so when you see them do not pick them, just take a photo of them.
Herbs like thyme, sage and rosemary are very common in Crete and they have been used for thousands of years for culinary and medical purposes.

Dittany (Origanum dictamus), dictamos or erontas in greek, is another Cretan herb. It is said that the wild goats of Crete ( kri-kri, an ibex endemic to Crete) look for it and eat it when they injure themselves as it helps in the healing of their wounds. Dittany grows wild in steep cliffs and it is very good for stomach-ache. Today it is also cultivated in Vianos area in the villages of Xeniako, Milliarado and Katofigi.

Common trees in Crete are the tamarisk (Tamarix cretica), oak-, chestnut-, pine-, cypress- and the evergreen plane tree (Platanus orientalis). This grows close to water and it can grow up to 30 meters high. It is also quite often found in the village squares, offering its shade to people.

A huge plane tree, or platanos in Greek, can be seen at Topolia village in west Crete on the road from Kissamos (Kastelli) to Elafonissi. It is so huge that the local community has declared it a “Monument of Nature”. Another famous plane tree is the one in Krasi village on the way from Iraklion to Lassithi Plateau (the trunk of which has the largest circumference of any plane tree in Europe). Undoubtedly, the most famous plane tree is the one in Gortyn, which according to mythology, was where Zeus “married” Europe after he kidnapped her from Asia Minor. Look for it when you visit this magnificent archaeological site in south Iraklion area.