Flora of Crete

Trees, Shrubs, Herbs and Wild Flowers

Flora of Crete - Dittany - Origanum dictamnusDittany of Crete

The flora of Crete is identified by botanists as Mediterranean forest, woodlands and scrub.

The low elevations have sclerophyllous evergreen and semi-deciduous oak forests. With species such as kermes oak, carob, juniper and tree-spurge.

The mid elevations have mesophyllous pine forests with Brutia Pines pinus brutia. Holly Oak quercus coccifera woodlands are widely spread.

The highest elevations such as the Lefka Ori and Psiloritis mountain ranges support cypress woodlands, where the local evergreen Maple acer sempervirens grows, and thorny cushion shrublands.

Four new species of plant were discovered on Crete between 2000-2004.

There are 55 unique ecotopes identified by the Natura 2000 program in Kriti. Of over 1600 species found on the island, around 160 are found nowhere else. The endemic plants are to be found high in the mountains and include a rare and endangered small tree named Cretan Zelkova.


Poppies in springtime

When we speak to our mother of her childhood memories of Crete, flowers in springtime are one of her fondest reminiscences. With snow on the mountains and very cold temperatures in winter, spring is truly a magical time of renewal and bursting energy in the nature of Kriti.

One of the most striking images is that of the glowing red poppies contrasting against the bursting green grasses, and the white limestone rocks of the hillsides.

Spring time brings visitors from all over the world to enjoy the flora of Crete.

Poppies and lavender grow wild

The profusion of wild herbs of Crete have been gathered over centuries and used for teas, wellbeing and healing. The herb Dittany dictamo or in Cretan erondas is used for pain relief, especially of stomach aches and arthritis.

This herb has been known for centuries and was used by the Minoans and ancient Greeks. Hippocrates taught its therapeutic benefits and in modern times it is available in powder form and as an essential oil.






The hillsides of Kriti are fresh with lavender, rigani, thyme, sage and chamomile. Cretan mountain tea, an ironwort Sideritis syriaca is a very common drink in the village and may be proudly offered to visitors as tsai tou vounou.

Below we give just a taste of the abundant plants of Crete, with their photographs and species names to help the amateur botanists and lovers of nature to enjoy the discovery of the unique plants of Crete.



Trees and Scrub of Crete

Vai Palm - Phoenix Theofrasti



Vai Palm  Phoenix Theofrasti



Oleander - Nerium oleander




Oleander  Nerium oleander




Tamarisk - Tamarix cretica (image by Alexia de Angelis)




Tamarisk  Tamarix cretica



Myrtle - Myrtus communis (image by Jimenez)




Myrtle  Myrtus communis



Carob Tree - Ceratonia siliqua (image by Gino Cherchi)



Carob Tree  Ceratonia siliqua




Plane Tree - Platanus orientalis




Plane Tree  Platanus orientalis




Maple Tree - Acer sempervirens




Maple Tree  Acer sempervirens




Mastica Bush - Pistacia lentiscus (image by Ettore Balocchi)




Mastica Bush  Pistacia lentiscus








Herbs of Crete



Origanum dictamnus - Dittany of Crete


In Greek 'Dictamo'

in Cretan dialect 'Erondas'

in English 'Dittany of Crete'

Origanum dictamnus


Cretan Mountain Tea - Sideritis syriaca




Cretan Mountain Tea  Sideritis syriaca



Thyme - Thymus capitatus



Thyme  Thymus capitatus




Chamomile - Chamomilla recutita (image by Justin Snow)




Chamomile  Chamomilla recutita




Sage - Salvia pomifera



Sage  Salvia pomifera



Valerian  Valerian officinalis (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Valerian  Valerian officinalis



Flowering Flora of Crete

Cretan Cyclamen - Cyclamen creticum



Cretan Cyclamen  Cyclamen creticum




Lily of the Sea  Pancratium maritimum




Lily of the Sea  Pancratium maritimum




Jerusalem Sage - Phlomis cretica




Jerusalem Sage  Phlomis cretica





Here on this page and throughout our website we share some beautiful flora images from talented local photographer - Andreas Loukakis.

Sitia Orchid - Orchis sitiaca (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Sitia Orchid Orchis sitiaca


Cretan Bee Orchid - Orchis heldreichii (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Cretan Bee Orchid Orchis heldreichii


Anatolian Orchis - Orchis anatolica (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Anatolian Orchis Orchis anatolica


Four-spotted Orchis - Orchis quadripunctata (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Four-spotted Orchis Orchis quadripunctata


Three-toothed Orchis Orchis tridentata (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Three-toothed Orchis Orchis tridentata


Cretan Ebony (Cretan Silver Bush, Shrubby Sainfoil) Edenus cretica (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Cretan Ebony (Cretan Silver Bush, Shrubby Sainfoil) Edenus cretica


Fleishman's Ophrys Ophrys Fleismanii (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Fleishman's Ophrys Ophrys Fleismanii


Broad Leaved Anemone  Anemone hortensis (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Broad Leaved Anemone  Anemone hortensis


Phrygana Ophrys  Ophrys phryganae (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Phrygana Ophrys  Ophrys phryganae


Cretan Iris  Κρητική Ίριδα  Iris cretensis (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Cretan Iris  Κρητική Ίριδα  Iris cretensis


Pink Butterfly Orchid  Orchis papilionacea (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Pink Butterfly Orchid  Orchis papilionacea


Cretan Birthwort  Aristolochia cretica (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Cretan Birthwort  Aristolochia cretica

Cretan Catchfly - Silene cretica (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Cretan Catchfly  Σιληνή ή κρητική  Silene cretica









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