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