Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete lies in Chania, Crete and is home to flora and fauna from all over the world. It is an attraction for thousands of guests that visit Crete every year. In this article we will inform you about Endemic Flowers and Endemic Herbs of Crete, which amongst others (smell the essense of CRETE) are really proud to preserve and protect in the park.
Endemic flowers of Crete: Definition
With the definition “endemic flowers in Crete” we refer to bushes. plants, herbs or even trees which for specific environmental or not reasons are being found in a very specific geographical area. The meaning of endemism usually refers to species of plants, bushes and trees but sometimes it can refer to whole genders of plants or families of plants. In Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete we host endemic plants and Flowers of Crete which are our island’s treasure and we invite you to discover them!
Malotira- The famous Cretan Tea
Malotira ( Scientific Name : Sideritis Syriaca ssp.syriaca) is maybe the most renowned example of endemic herb on our island. Malotira is commonly found on anhydrous places of Cretan Highlands and Plateaus of Crete. Usually we find Malotira on high altitudes of over 800m and close to other herbs such as Mantzourana. Malotira has small yellow blossoms and fluffy leaves while being medium in height, of approximately close to a meter. We usually refer to malotira as Kalokimithia (Καλοκοιμηθιά) which in direct translation mainly means (the herb) that offers you a pleasant sleep. This is due to this herb’s relaxing and chilling properties that happens when we dry it.
When we speak about endemic flowers of Crete it is impossible not to refer to the Cretan Cyclaminum. Usually we find it at the beginning of autumn, where it springs inside of shallow rocks or even debris. Scientific name is Cyclamen Creticum and this herb’s flower blossoms have a distinctive pleasant smell. Cretan Cyclaminum is supposed to have therapeutic properties whereas many of this herb’s parts- such as the root- being used as medicine.
Cretan Thistle (scientific name Onopordum Bracteatum ssp. creticum) is being found very often in the Cretan countryside. It is said that it has many beneficial properties on humans while having antioxidant properties and is usually used as a concoction. It is referred to as being able to lower the blood sugar levels and is a healthy alternative when on diet. Cretan Thistle is found mainly on mountainous rocky areas such as Psiloritis or the White Mountains Mountain Range. We often find it on mountain slopes, cliff slopes and abandoned areas/ fields where it adapts and grows on its own.
Erontas or DIktamos is also one of the Endemic flowers of Crete. It is also a very popular Cretan concoction and we also find it in our Herb’s Garden with the scientific name Origanum dictammus. Greek alternative name is Erontas and it has a direct translation for the Greek word- Love (έρωτας). The formal harb’s name, Diktamos, is taken from Mountain Dikti, being found in Lasithi Prefecture and has been in abundance there from ancient years. From ancient years people had also found its pharmaceutical properties. Diktamos has a very strong smell and flavour and can be found in altitudes of up to 1600 meters on mostly rocky terrains. We use it also as a concoction due to its beneficial properties.
What we propose.
Endemic plants, herbs, and trees of Crete are indeed a very big chapter of Cretan Flora. In Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete we have achieved to make a large number of endemic plants coexist with the natural environment of the park. We invite you to try the traditional Cretan tea with endemic herbs of Crete. There are many shops where you can buy dried Cretan herbs such as Malotira, Diktamos or Mantzourana.
You will then get the chance to try traditional cretan tea as well as take advantage of the beneficial properties that those herbs have to offer you. Their taste is so pleasant and unique that you can even consume them on a daily basis!
We invite you to discover them !