Few things evoke so many emotions as flowers. The sight or scent of just one bud can bring a million memories rushing back. Here are the blooms you should keep your eye out for during your Greek adventure.
Plants have played an important role in Greek life for millennia. In ancient mythology, plants were often used as weapons, or as symbols of the Gods’ actions. The deadly but beautiful aconite is said to have sprung from the drool of evil Kerberos. And Prometheus once hid a heavenly flame inside a giant fennel stalk.
In modern times, plants are still revered by us Greeks. The salty bite of an olive or the silky slick of its oil livens up our dishes. The freshness of mint and the rich earthiness of oregano add zing and depth to our hearty meals. But we also love the flora around us that doesn’t have any culinary use.
During your Greek island escape, you’ll come across plenty of beautiful flowers. They grow wild from the mountaintops to the sea’s edge, filling the air with sweet scents and offering a technicolour feast for your eyes. If their perfume caresses your nostrils back home, you’ll instantly be transported to the wonderful days you spent on the shores of the blue Aegean.
Here are some of the most memorable plants you should look out for during your Greek adventure:
1. Cretan Blooms
Over 130 species of wildflower and herb are only found on the island of Crete. This is the place to savour the sights and smells of truly unique flora. Orchid lovers will uncover 67 breath-taking varieties, from the dramatic Ariadne’s Ophrys to the sweet Heroic Butterfly Orchid. These tricky beauties are notoriously hard to cultivate at home, so enjoy them in their wild, natural habitat instead.
You’ll find loads of other stunning blooms, from the deep purple irises to the fluffy ebony. They’ll form the backdrop to your holiday pictures. And if you catch their scent back home, you’ll be right back in an instant. Dancing on the isle of Mykonos or watching the world go by on the shores of Rhodes.
2. Poppy Anemone
You’ll find this wildflower growing in the sunniest spots all across the Greek islands. Touch the velvety petals. Marvel at the vivid cerulean shade. While it doesn’t have much of a scent, its gorgeous looks more than make up for its lack of perfume. The best part is that poppy anemones are easy to grow anywhere. If you want a reminder of the holiday of a lifetime, cultivate your own pot of poppies in your garden.
3. Crown Daisies
The humble daisy grows wherever there’s a patch of grass. Its larger, more impressive cousin, the crown daisy, springs up all over the Greek islands. Walk through a meadow of the sunny blooms. Lie down among them and appreciate the cloudless blue sky above. It’s the perfect setting to discover yourself, without the noise of the daily routine.
Conical in shape and bright in hue, the quaint lupin is one of Greece’s prettiest natural flowers. It comes in a pastel rainbow of shades, from powder blue to blush pink to purple. But the most common is a deep blue, which embodies the spirit of the islands through and through.
5. Jankaea Heldreichii
Braving the climb up the ancient Mount Olympus? You’ll find plenty of flora to admire along your route. If you’re heading to Mytikas, the main summit, keep your eyes peeled for the delicate Jankaea heldreichii. This purple bloom nestled in dark, damp crevices. Look down into the gorges and you’ll spot flashes of lilac all around. Or rest in a shaded spot next to the abundant flowers of this native plant.