Several lovely fern species were seen growing in cracks in the stone walls of the ruins: rusty back fern Asplenium ceterach, Polypodium australe (just coming to the end of its period of winter growth), and Cheilanthes acrostica. This, normally moisture loving group of plants, might seem out of place in the Mediterranean, but the key to these species’ success is the habitation of damp microclimates, especially shady crevices of north facing cliffs. It wasn’t only ferns which adorned the stone walls.
Stachys candida and Campanula topaliana while not yet in bloom formed large, spreading clumps. Onosma frutescens and Saxifraga rotundifolia subsp.chrysopleniifolia, both in bloom, were also common chasmophytes at Mystras. At the top of the ruins John pointed out a crevice plant which at first glance looked like common toadflax, but upon closer inspection was actually Cymbalaria microcalyx, which is endemic to southern Greece, and distinguished by its hairy stem and leaves.