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Polichnitos - Lesvos - 81 300 - Greece Tel.  +30 22520 41885,  61121,  - Fax.  +30 22520 41885, 61121

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LESVOS
....the Island of Sappho
....the tenth muse

Orchids

Geographically and geologically speaking Lesvos offers fascinating contrasts. There seems to be an endless range of landscapes and terrain across the island to keep you enthralled and fascinated. The east of the island is largely limestone and the west volcanic. The south part of the island including Agiasos and right up to the area around Kalloni is rich in vegetation, forestry (pine, chestnut, oak, beech and plane trees) and olive groves.

The variation in land formation and geology, the man made biotopes and the century old olive groves (11 million olive trees), create a huge diversity in habitats for plants and justifies the richness of flora. Olive groves, especially those where the soil is not or is infrequently worked beneath the trees (mainly on mountainous areas) are great places for finding wild flowers and orchids in particular.

The Lesvian Philosopher Theophrastus 3rd century B.C. one of the forefathers of botany was the first to record a large number of plants. Today, 1.400 taxa (species and sub-species) of plants have been recorded on the island, making it a " botanic paradise" for aromatic, pharmaceutical, ornamental and rare plants, bushes and trees.

The Rhododendron Luteum Sweet is found only in Lesvos. It is a deciduous bush, with an average height of 4.5 m with big, yellow flowers and lanceolate leaves. It grows in humid, clay and sandy soils at an altitude ranging from 60 m. to 799 m. above sea level. Other species on the island are Laurel (Nerium Oleander), Willow (Salix Fragillis), Arbutus (Arbutus Unedo), Fern (Pieris Aquillina), Ivy (Hedera Helix) etc.

In 1889 & 1897, the French botanists Candargys, listed 27 species of orchids in Lesvos. Further research has increased this list to 59 discreet species with 10 additional varieties. This figure exceeds the numbers found on any other Aegean island. The island has even its own endemic species in Orchis lesbis.

The best time to see the orchids in flower (apart from spiranthes spiralis in October) is from the February to May, although slight variations are to be expected due to yearly changes in weather conditions (rainfall, temperatures, sunshine) and the flowering habits of each species.

Around April each year in Vatera, you can see large areas carpeted with awild sea toulip - the Tulipa Beotica. While in September the absolute king is the lily of the sea - the Pancratium Maritium which can be seen to treely cover the beach at Vatera. (Click on the photos for a larger view)
 

It has been documented by experts that from Skala Polychnitos, up to the Derbyshire area, across east to Pirgi Thermis, down south to Charamida and back to the lower triangle of the island including the areas of Plomari, Agiasos and Vatera, you can find the largest number of orchid species presenting in the whole of the island.

In that respect VATERA (with all the other attractions on offer) is an ideal base for your orchid and other flora spotting excursions.

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