Autumn in the Peloponnese 2022

Tuesday 1 – Tuesday 8 November 2022

From Bursary Recipient Susanna Hauxwell

Outline of trip

A one-week wildflower expedition to the southern Peloponnese, with a view to seeing autumn Crocus, Colchicum, Sternbergia, Cyclamen, Anemone, Galanthus and Narcissus. The trip started at Nafplio, travelling on to Kardamyli and then Gytheio. The aim was to botanise in open countryside, roadsides and historical sites near the road. Also included were visits to private gardens, an olive museum and an olive press. The tour was led by Oron Peri, acclaimed nursery and plants person, and author of Bulbs of the Eastern Mediterranean.

This is a mainly botanical, photographic report of the Mediterranean Plants and Gardens tour, it gives a visual presentation of the locations visited and the plants recorded. Many of the plants we saw were witnessed on a few occasions but to avoid repetition I have not always included an additional picture or mentioned the sightings again, in different locations. The plants that I have focused on in the main body of the report, are mainly geophytes and flowering plants. Plant profiles and a comprehensive plant list are included at the end of the report, which may be useful to others travelling in the area at this time of year as a point of reference. Where possible I have included up-to-date botanical names and correct identification, however this is not infallible. The report contains some background to the Peloponnese area, the itinerary and a map. The main body of the report roughly follows the itinerary. The photographs are all the author’s unless stated.

Peloponnese flora

It is estimated that no fewer than 260 endemics are found in this area. Less than a quarter of Greek land is suitable for cultivation thus allowing unique plant communities to develop and the endemic flora to persist. There are many interesting areas where botanists are rewarded for their plant hunting such as mountainous regions, steep hillsides and cliffs, stony ground, waste lands and preserved historical sites, free from the ravages of people.

The temperature and rainfall in the Peloponnese highlighting the pattern of rainfall

The Peloponnese is rich in flora because its geological formation and rugged landscape mean it has avoided heavy agriculture. It is one of the two concentrations in Greece for autumn-flowering bulbs, the other being Crete. Bulbous plants or geophytes are a large group of plants which have evolved to survive the challenges of Mediterranean summers. The term geophyte refers to a seasonal mode of growth: they die down into a storage organ – bulb, corm or rhizome. The majority of this group of plants flowers in spring but some flower in autumn: when the rains start, the cycle of growth begins again, hence the timing for our trip.

Different bands of vegetation

Greece has a diversity of different altitudes and climates and so has a diverse range of growing habitats; these tend to be quite varied and they overlap with each other. The main types of habitats that we encountered on our trip were seashore, maquis and phrygana.


There are nearly 10,000 miles of coastline in Greece. Tamarix sp. flourishes in coastal locations, as does the Aleppo Pine, Pinus halepensis.

Tamarix sp. near Limin Geraka

Aleppo Pine at Poseidon Temple

Cupressus sempervirens march across the landscape from the shoreline up into the hills


The maquis consists of tough, spiny plants making exploration painful; this low shrubby vegetation covers much of the uncultivated areas in Greece. This landscape comes to flowering life in the spring. Maquis plant communities are generally indifferent to the type of soil with the exception of Arbutus unedo and Erica arborea, which both prefer ericaceous conditions.

Some of the flora found in these areas includes: Calicotome villosa, Cistus parviflorus, Coronilla emeroides, Pistacia lentiscus, Phlomis fruticosa, Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Euphorbia characias and E. characias subsp. wulfenii, Euphorbia dendroides, Smilax aspera. The degradation of maquis leads to phrygana habitat.


Phrygana is the Greek term for garrigue and the two terms are interchangeable. Phrygana areas are related to maquis but are botanically distinct in their plant communities. In these areas there are fewer shrubs; most of the characteristically rocky ground is free of vegetation, however there is a proportion of prickly, felted or deep-rooted plants or sub-shrub. The phrygana is rich in aromatic herbs, and bulbs flower in the spring and autumn. Trees are mainly absent, although Quercus coccifera and Quercus macrocarpa may present themselves as small shrubs. Quercus macrocarpa huge acorn cupules.

Quercus coccifera

Quercus macrocarpa

Phrygana plant communities are found only on limestone soil. Some of the flora found in these areas include: Asphodeline microcarpus, Calicotome villosa, Euphorbia acanthothamnos, Euphorbia rigida, Genista acanthoclada, Globularia alypum, Lithodora zahnii, Spartium junceum, Verbascum sinuatum. Further grazing on phrygana leads to a grass-steppe type habitat, dry grasslands.


1 November
Transfer from Athens airport to Nafplio, stop off at Corinth Canal
2 November
Walk from Fortress of Palamidi, Nafplio
Travel from Nafplio to Kardamyli with two stops for plant hunting: Arfara, Messinia, north of Kalamata and west of Kampos, Messinia
Southern Peloponnese peninsula
3 November
Folklore Collection of Mani, Mani museum, Platsa
Agios Nikolaos, Kampinari, Platsa
Walk to small church to see frescos, Milea
Stop off in a town square near Church of the Metamorphosis, Milea
Kariovouni restaurant (Taverna Arachova) under plane tree
Evening: Georgia’s Backyard, Stoupa
4 November
Garden visits – Katerina Georgi, near Agia Sophia church, above Kardamyli
Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor’s house
Visit to olive press
Harbour Agios Nikolaos
5 November
Botanising on a north-facing cliff south of Langhada and north of Saxoneika
Bakery south of Agios Nikon Church botanising on a dry riverbed
Charouda village, west of Triantafillia, for Sternbergia lutea
Arrive Gytheio for three nights
Walk around Gytheio lighthouse
6 November
Botanising overlooking shipwreck north of Gytheio
Mystras archaeological site
Olive museum, Sparti
Walk south side of ravine east of Anogia (south-west of Amykles)
Manganiari Spring for Galanthus reginae-olgae
7 November
Limin Geraka and ruins to east
Stop near Sykia
8 November
Archaeological site of Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion
Athens airport

Map data ©2022 Google

The journey

The Corinth canal is the entry to the Peloponnese, completed between 1882-1893. It is 23m wide, 90m deep and 6km long, it was built to help vessels avoid having to navigate the southernmost point of the Peloponnese. Before the canal was built people used to drag boats along the 6km paved slip way. Eucalyptus sp. growing from the cliff of the canal its roots undoubtedly tapping into the water.


Nafplio is a pretty waterside town and was the first capital of Greece, after independence in 1833. It has been a port since the Bronze Age, it has three fortresses one of which is the island fortress of Bourtzi.

A walk around the town

Butia capitata laden with yellow fruits

Casuarina equisetifolia

Ginkgo biloba street trees.

Walk from Palamidi Fortress of Nafplio to the old town

A soon to be familiar sight around the south Peloponnese, the MPG group investigating the roadside for hidden gems

View of Nafplio, showing its location in the landscape and Bourtzi islet in the sea

Flowering plants of note

Arisarum vulgare

Bituminaria bituminosa

Campanula andrewsii subsp. Hirsutula

Cichorium intybus

Cichorium intybus forma alba

Convolvulus althaeoides

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Dittrichia viscos

Ecballium elaterium with its fun exploding fruit

Hyperrhenia hirta

Lagurus ovatus

Urginea maritima the only flowering plant we saw

Verbena officinalis

Shrubs and trees

Agave americana spent flower spike with Palamidi Fortress in the background

Euphorbia acanthothamnos making its distinctive hexagonal pattern

Ficus carica extruding itself from a rock

Pistacia lentiscus

Smilax aspera

Journey into the Southern Peloponnese peninsula: Nafplio to Kardamyli

A plant hunt by a service station near Arfara was rewarded by a variety of different plants in an olive grove near waste land

Arum italicum leaves

Calamintha nepeta

a huge group of Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Verbascum sinuatum

West of Kampos, Messinia. Another stop gifted us sights of Crocus niveus and masses of Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium growing everywhere.

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Close up of Crocus niveus

We found a couple of dainty Narcissus serotinus

The Mani region

One of the most remote regions in Greece, varied and rugged landscape and much of it under-explored.

The (Messinian) Outer Mani runs from south-east of Kalamata, along the coast and into the Taygetos Mountains. Within this area is Kardamyli, one of the prettiest settings in the Peloponnese, positioned by the sea.

The Folklore Collection of Mani, Platsa.

The museum was specially opened for us, thanks to local MPG members Ben and Julia Martin who had organised this. It provided some history on the Maniots who descended from Spartans and are fiercely independent people.

Folklore museum

Agios Nikolaos Church, Kampinari, Platsa

Ground smothered in Crocus boryi

This was the only location where we saw Anemone coronaria

Small church near Milea.

We visited a small church that was beautifully decorated inside with frescos.

This area was rich in flora

Geranium molle

Petrorhagia glumacea

Calendula arvensis with finger for scale

Heliotropium hirsutissimum

Ajuga iva growing out of cracks in rocks

daisy on steroids Bellis sylvestris

Mountain walk from Milea square near Church of the Metamorphosis

This was one of a couple of areas where we saw Cercis siliquastrum, growing by the track that ran through the maquis and up into the mountains.

Bulbs of Urginea maritima miraculously grew out of rocks with a Cyclamen graceum for company

Cercis siliquastrum

Urginea maritima and Cyclamen graceum

Restaurant, Kariovouni.

The restaurant’s courtyard was shaded by the canopy of a huge Platanus orientalis, growing on the site of a spring.

Private garden visits

Katerina Georgi’s garden, near Agia Sophia church, above Kardamyli. Katerina was formerly an interior designer, who designed and built her garden completely from scratch. Katerina kindly provided much needed refreshments after a hot, steep walk to her house. Recently, Katerina has been a consultant in renovations taking place at the garden of the late Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor. The figures below show the intelligent design of form, colour and planting in her garden.

In the old part of Kardamyli we saw a lone Capparis spinosa showing its buds and a wonderful example of Ajuga iva, growing out of cracks in the stones.

Capparis spinosa

Ajuga iva

Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor’s house, Kalamitsi Bay. Author of Mani, considered by many to be the definitive book on the region. Set in stunning surroundings with access to a private beach you could understand why the couple lived in the house for decades, 1915-2011. The house and garden are now open to the public.

Beautiful deep cerise Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Lawn smothered in Crocus goulimyi

All things olive

So much of the landscape is shaped by olive groves, individual trees have such character.

Olive trees are everywhere in this region, November is peak olive harvesting season.

Olive tree with split stem in Patrick Leigh Fermor’s garden

View of olives with mountains in the background

The trees are pruned while the olives are being collected.

We visited an olive press north of Agios Nikolaos. The olive pickers who harvest during the day come to the press in the evening and it runs for as long as it takes to press all the olives collected that day, well into the night if necessary, producing oil.

Sacks of olives waiting to be poured into the olive sorting machine

The fresh olive oil is decanted by way of a petrol pump-like dispenser into large metal containers

We had a chance to sample the fresh bright-green olive oil

Olive museum, Sparta

The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil, Sparti. Beautifully designed museum with all things olive, photographic history and exhibits of the Greek way of life, great diagrams of pruning and farming techniques.

Modern day pithoi (oil jars)

North-facing cliff south of Langhada, north of Saxoneika.

A short stop at a north-facing cliff was rewarded with a little hidden gem of a solitary Iris unguicularis just by the layby.

We had our first sighting of the beautiful Campanula versicolor growing vertically out of a cliff growing alongside Euphorbia characias and a solitary Erodium cicutarium in flower.

Iris unguicularis

Campanula versicolor and Euphorbia characias

Erodium cicutarium

Stop off south of Agios Nikon Church

We stopped near a bakery and found some wonderful places for botanising.

We walked along a dry riverbed and found a fantastic large group of Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium. Small Prospero autumnale were everywhere.

There were so many Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium scattered amongst the fallen leaves of Quercus macrocarpa.

Prospero autumnale

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium

Here we found the most variation and wonderful forms of Crocus goulimyi, darker purple, smaller goblet shape a very pale form and the fascinating C. goulimyi ‘Harlequin’

Charouda, a village to the west of the small cluster of houses on the main road known as Triantafillia

Witnessing Sternbergia lutea in the wild was a highlight of the trip for many. We saw them in two areas, one in an open rocky waste land and one in amongst olive groves and rocks from tumbled-down field boundaries.

Allium callimischon

Crocus boryi

(or ‘Crocus boringii’ renamed by Oron)

Sternbergia lutea

Sternbergia lutea

Cyclamen graecum

Crocus boryi

Colchicum cupanii

As well as the treat of the sternbergias some other finds stood out: a form of Cyclamen graecum with elongated, cerise tepals and an unusual form of Crocus boryi with extra tepals.

Just by the road we saw the delicate Colchicum cupanii, easily identified by its two leaves.

Lakonian Mani

Gytheio is the gateway to the Lakonian Mani and was once the naval base port for ancient Sparta. Built on a hillside with views across the Lakonian bay and Cape Maleas.

Looking back towards Gytheio in the early morning sunlight

Marathonisi Islet

The islet is home to Gytheio’s lighthouse, cats, cyclamen and pines.

A delight was the discovery of Spiranthes spiralis (autumn lady’s-tresses) one with four rounds of flowers and a beautiful group of four, difficult to photograph in the wind of the brewing storm.

We saw huge variations in pattern and size of Cyclamen graecum leaves.

Shipwreck north of Gytheio

We stopped specifically to find Narcissus tazetta in some scrubland overlooking the Dimitrios, which has been abandoned since 1981 dubbed ‘the most photographed narcissi in Greece’ by Oron.

Narcissus tazetta

Mystras archaeological site

Mystras is a fortress town and World Heritage site on a spur of the Taygetos mountains. The former Byzantine capital and fortified city which dates back to 1270, is situated on a steep mountainside.  One of the many churches is looking atmospheric in the mist.  Through clearings in the mist the views were breathtaking from the fortress on the summit.  The views down the hillside give some idea of the vastness of the city, looking down to the many olive trees beyond.

We saw rather fine examples of Campanula versicolor and Campanula andrewsii subsp. hirsutula.

Manganiari Springs

Manganiari Springs are situated at an altitude if 900m on the slopes of Mount Taygetos, reached by an untold number of hair-raising hairpin bends, expertly navigated by Giorgos, our driver. Here we observed an entirely different habitat, totally different from anything else we had encountered. It was a magical place of mossy stones, Lobaria pulmonaria, lichen-clad trees and the only running stream we encountered during our visit.

This was another highlight of the trip. In amongst the deciduous woodland of Platanus orientalis, with a few Pinus nigra were Galanthus reginae-olgae and Cyclamen hederifolium.

Lobaria pulmonaria

A magical place

Galanthus reginae-olgae

Galanthus reginae-olgae

Cyclamen hederifolium

Limin Geraka

Limin Geraka has a fjord-like bay with an islet in the middle and ruins on a hill top to the east of the village.

The ruins were peppered with our now familiar favourites.

Looking down towards the water

Crocus goulimyi

Crocus boryi

Crocus everywhere


The Gibraltar of Greece, Monemvasia is a medieval walled village nestling in amongst cliffs that rise hundreds of metres from the sea. It is linked to the mainland by a causeway. Only 20 people live here now; there were 50,000 inhabitants in the 15th century. Winding cobbled narrow streets and steps, curious doors and huge containers, opening up to vistas across the sea.

Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion.

Our last destination of the trip was the archaeological site of the Temple of Poseidon.  It is a classic example of Ancient Greek architecture, built in 444BC. The ruins stand on a craggy spur with the water 65m below, with amazing views out across the Aegean.

Temple of Poseidon

Crocus cartwrightianus

Aegean sea

Sternbergia sicula

Crocus cartwrightianus

Sternbergia sicula


As with the whole of Greece, the Peloponnese is heavily populated with stray cats; bowls for food and water are left outside houses and restaurants. The majority of the cats we saw looked healthy and welcomed attention, some members of the group making special effort to squirrel away leftovers from dinner to feed to the cats the next day.

Marginated tortoises can be spotted roaming by the roadsides and on flat areas in olive groves. The sharp eyes of Oron picked out a newly hatched tortoise at the Temple of Poseidon.

Praying mantis are fairly common and can be spotted in the scrub.

We spotted a few different types of butterflies that were very camera-shy, possibly a swallow tail and a clouded yellow, along with fast-moving lizards.

We spotted a couple of unidentified large raptors and these rock partridges manage to be strangely camouflaged despite their distinct markings at Temple of Poseidon.

(Image supplied by Stephen Cole)

(Image supplied by Julia Corden)

(Image supplied by Julia Corden)


Autumn in the Peloponnese provided so many opportunities for botanising. The range of flora seen at this time of year was astonishing, especially given the low rainfall experienced. It provided a unique learning experience for both plant-hunting and exchanging information between the tour leaders and participants.


My attendance on this trip was only made possible thanks to bursaries from the Royal Horticultural Society and Mediterranean Plants and Gardens. A huge thank you to the RHS bursary committee, in particular Rowena Wilson, and the MPG bursary committee, in particular Cathy Rollinson. In addition, thank you to Jonathan Webster, Curator, RHS Rosemoor Garden. I am very grateful for the help and support of these organisations in enabling my trip to the Peloponnese.

My thanks also go to the group that I travelled with, 20 in total, a diverse group of individuals from the UK, Sweden, France, Holland and USA; ranging from professional botanists to photographers to enthusiastic travel partners. The group melded together in a very companionable way which made the trip all the more enjoyable.

A special thank you to Oron Peri for his expertise in leading this tour and at times ‘herding cats’ when people wondered off taking photos and marvelling at the Greek flora. Oron’s knowledge coupled with his personable nature headed the tour perfectly.

Special mention to Giorgos the coach driver with his ‘can do’ attitude, always with a friendly smile and without his specialist driving skills we would not have seen the Galanthus reginae-olgae in the Managaria Springs woodland.

Thanks go to Katerina Georgi for her wonderful hospitality, her generosity with her time and local knowledge that enhanced our visit to South Peloponnese.

Thank you to Ben and Julia Martin for their welcome and for facilitating a visit to the Mani folklore museum and the olive press.

Lastly a huge thank you to Heather Martin for her meticulous planning and arrangements; for booking us into the most amazing hotel in Kardamyli, and for all the hundreds of emails she must have sent, to organise such an enjoyable and successful tour.

Oron on a plant-hunting mission

Picture of the group

(Image supplied by Stephen Cole)

Photo credits

Thanks to Julia Corden and Stephen Cole, who each supplied two images, credited where they appear.


Grey-Wilson, Christopher (2010) A Field Guide to the Bulbs of Greece

Huxley, Anthony. and Taylor, William (1989) Flowers of Greece and the Aegean

Polunin, Oleg (1980) Flowers of Greece and the Balkans: a Field Guide

Plant profiles

Allium callimischon – papery white tepals with a brown or red midvein on umbels of up to 25 shuttlecock shaped flowers, very variable in height, flower spike up to 30cm, leaves mostly not present at flowering time. Rocky places, rock ledges, cliffs, banks, open phrygana, olive groves, 400-1300m.

Anemone coronaria – flowers very variable in colour and size, 35-65mm with blue anthers, basal leave biternate with deeply lobed segments, stony meadows, scrub, waysides, field boundaries, olive groves, vineyards, terraces up to 2200m. Up to 30cm tall.

Arisarum vulgare – tuberous perennial up to 30cm. Leaves a fresh green, ovate to heart-shaped. Upright inflorescence short peduncle, chocolate-brown or green spathe, pale-green or whiteish stripes with a hooded apex, 40-50mm, protruding curved spadix. Rocky and stony habitats, phrygana, olive groves, borders of cultivation, abandoned terraces up to 800m.

Asphodeline microcarpus – skeletons peppering the hillside, perennial up to 1.2m tall, although varies in height considerably. Grey-green leaves, pink-tinged white star-shaped flowers produced on candelabra-like branches. Rocky slopes, fields, waysides, open phrygana, sandy places

Colchicum cupanii – flowers purplish to pale-pink sometimes with veining 15-25mm, anthers purplish-black, styles straight with point-like stigmas. Linear leaves produced in pairs. Rocky and stony habitats, open phrygana, around 650m.

Crocus boryi – pure white flowers, deep yellow throat, 20-50mm, stamens with yellow filaments and creamy-white anthers, style with many slender orange or reddish branches, leaves present at flowering time, grassy and rocky places, coniferous woodland, phrygana, sand dunes, field boundaries up to 1500m.

Crocus cartwrightianus – parent of saffron crocus. Lilac-purple tepals with dark-purple darker veining, throat white or lilac 15-32mm. yellow anthers and white or purplish filaments, style deeply divided into 3 long deep-red branches. Leaves grey-green partly developed at flowering time in groups of 5 – 11. Short turf, stony and rocky habitats to 1000m.

Crocus goulimyi – relatively small flowers borne on a long tube, 1-2 fragrant pale to deep lilac-purple flowers, white throat, tepals unequal, inner generally shorter than the outer, yellow anthers, styles shorter than the stamens divided into 3 short branches, leaves partially developed at flowering time S and E Peloponnese
Rocky places, olive groves, phrygana, ancient tracks often in terra rossa 300-750m

There is great variation in the form and colour of this species Limin Geraka.

Crocus goulimyi ‘Harlequin’ – selection named by MPG member John Fielding, distinctive colour variation between the outer and inner tepals.

Crocus niveus – white, pale to mid-lilac or bicoloured tepals, 30-60mm, throat deep yellow, 1 to 2 flowers borne above barely developed leaves. Anthers yellow or orange-yellow, style red with 3 main branches, dissected at the end into thread-like lobes. South Peloponnese, rocky and shrubby places, garrigue, field boundaries, olive groves up to 750m.

Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium and Cyclamen graecum

We saw three types of cyclamen during our time there with a fair bit of confusion by all to as which species or subspecies was which. Cyclamen are tuberous perennials. Technically the misnamed corms are swollen hypocotyls. The leaves in all three of these species generally have basal heart- to kidney-shaped, lobed or unlobed leaves, most having beautiful patterns on the upperside, the underside ranging in colour from light glaucous green to cerise. Flowers are solitary and are sometimes borne before the leaves. The tepals of the variously coloured flowers (white through to dark magenta) are reflexed back, some twisted to reveal a small ‘nose’ that points downwards. In C. hederifolium the seed capsule pedicel coils from the top downwards to draw it close to the plant whereas C. graecum starts twisting from the centre of the peduncle.

Photo Cyclamen graecum clearly showing its centrally curled peduncle

The other main differences are the rhizome shape and texture with C. graecum being more corky and rough on top. C. hederifolium tends to be smoother and a more depressed, flattened shape. C. graecum root from the base and C. hederifolium from the shoulder and sides. The leaves differ in that C. hederifolium tend to be more lobed and C. graecum can be unlobed but finely toothed with a slightly beaded feel to the leaves. Clear beading on C. graecum leaves

On the whole the cyclamen flowers that we saw were C. hederifolium subsp. crassifolium flowering with or without leaves, C. graecum generally could be identified by the leaves having a richer almost more velvety look to the surface as opposed to the slightly more shiny C. hederifolium. C. hederifolium is found in different habitat from Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium such as deciduous woodland edge.

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium – endemic to Peloponnese. Formally named in 2009 distinguished by appearance and chromosomes. 2-toned heart-shaped leaf surrounding a silver blotch, many specimens we saw were without leaves. Slightly sweet scent. Cool conditions such as north-facing slopes are needed for leaf production with flowers. Leaf variations within this genus are extremely varied in colour, pattern and size.

Galanthus reginae-olgae – flowering in autumn before leaves appear, leaves deep green or deep grey-green, with a prominent grey stripe down the centre, paler and more glaucous beneath, woodland and margins especially plane tree and coniferous, love of deep leaf litter 500-1300m.

Iris unguicularis – solitary primrose-scented flowers. Variable in colour (blue, purple or violet blue) and pattern on the falls, deeper veins and variable amounts of white, egg-yolk yellow in the centre of the haft, erect standards often with bronzy, violet-spotted haft. Dense tufts of evergreen deep-green or blue-green linear leaves up to 30cm. Seeds often distributed by ants. Dry sunny banks, open scrub, pine trees rocky places.

Narcissus serotinus – flowers before leaves, sweetly scented, white tepals and yellow flat cup-shaped corona. Generally low altitudes, abandoned terraces and olive groves. Around 25cm tall.

Narcissus tazetta – leaves present at flowering time, flowers produced in umbels, very fragrant, bright yellow deep cup corona. Rocky places, often near the sea, up to 45cm tall.

Prospero autumnalis – very variable in height 5 -20cm with a long flowering time. Up to 20 lilac to pinkish-blue flowers are produced in a lax raceme. Leaves absent or very short at time of flowering. Dry stony and grassy habitats, phrygana, olive groves, orchards, terraces.

Spiranthes spiralis – inflorescence very slender with up to 20 fragrant small (6mm) flowers beautifully spiralling up the stem, sepals hairy, stem glaucous, basal rosette of leaves. Grassy places, open scrub, phrygana, waysides up 20cm tall.

Sternbergia (eight species) – Crocus-like plants distinguished by their six stamens, rather than three of crocus.

Sternbergia lutea and Sternbergia sicula both bear bright yellow tepals and although they are similar, they can be identified from each other by the following characteristics:

  1. lutea has very erect leaves that may be absent or partially formed at time of flowering up to 20cm long; S. sicula has horizontal leaves and tends to be smaller with a glaucous central stripe on the upper surface.

The tepals of S. lutea tend to be obtuse to subobtuse and S. sicula acute to subacute tending to be smaller. S. lutea are found in fields, olive groves, near habitation, roadsides, banks, open woodland, garrigue, to 600m. S. sicula up to 1000m, phrygana, rocky places, banks, open woodland, ruins, abandoned terraces, field margins. September to November from coast up to higher slopes of hills

Urginea maritima (sea squill) – tall (1.5m) pure white flower spikes, cliffs and coastal hills. Skeletons left for us to see in the landscape and their gigantic bulbs from which arise large fleshy leaves.

Plants recorded during the tour

Ajuga iva

Allium ampeloprasum

Allium callimischon

Amaranthus hybridus

Anemone coronaria

Anemone pavonina

Arbutus unedo

Arisarum vulgare

Arum italicum

Arundo donax

Asparagus aphyllus

Asphodeline microcarpus

Asplenium ceterach


Bellis sylvestris

Bituminaria bituminosa

Bourgainvillea sp.

Butia capitata


Calamintha nepeta

Calendula arvensis

Calicotome villosa

Callistemon citrinus

Campanula andrewsii subsp. hirsutula

Campanula versicolor

Capparis spinosa

Carlina vulgaris

Carya illinoinensis

Casuarina equisetifolia

Centranthus ruber

Cercis siliquastrum

Cerinthe sp.

Chicorium intybus

Chicorium intybus subsp. alba

Citrus x sinensis

Cistus parviflorus

Colchicum cupanii

Consolida tenuissima

Convolvulus althaeoides

Coronilla emeroides

Crocus boryi

Crocus cartwrightianus

Crocus goulimyi

Crocus goulimyi ‘Harlequin’

Crocus niveus

Crithmum maritimum

Cupressus sempervirens

Cyclamen graecum

Cyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen hederifolium subsp. crassifolium


Datura ferox

Dianthus deltoides

Dittrichia viscosa


Ecballium elaterium

Ephedra fragilis

Erica arborea

Eriobotrya japonica

Erodium cicutarium

Euphorbia acanthothamnos

Euphorbia characias

Euphorbia characias subsp. Wulfenii

Euphorbia dendroides

Euphorbia rigida


Ferula communis

Ficus carica

Galanthus reginae-olgae

Genista acanthoclada

Geranium nodosum


Heliotropium hirsutissimum

Hyperrhenia hirta


Iris unguicularis


Lagerstroemia indica

Lagurus ovatus

Lilium candidum

Lithodora zahnii

Lunaria annua ssp. pachyrhriza


Morus alba


Narcissus serotinus

Narcissus tazetta

Nerium oleander


Olea europaea

Onosma frutescens

Opuntia ficus-indica

Orobanche sp.


Phlomis fruticosa

Pinus halepensis

Pinus nigra

Pistacia lentiscus

Platanus orientalis

Prospero autumnale

Ptilostemon chamaepeuce

Punica granatum

Pyrus spinosa


Quercus coccifera

Quercus macrolepis


Salvia triloba

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Silybum marabium

Smilax aspera

Solanum elaeagnifolium

Solanum nigrum

Spartium junceum

Spiranthes spiralis


Sternbergia lutea

Sternbergia sicula


Tamarix sp.


Umbilicus horizontalis

Urginea maritima


Verbascum sinuatum

Verbena officinalis

Vitex agnus-castus