A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts December 2015

Stork's Bills


Two species of plant from the geranium family.

Both erodiums or stork's bills, the first on the left is common stork's bill or Erodium cicutarium.






Below is the flower from the soft or mallow leaved stork's bill (Erodium malacoides) and the seed or stork's bill.





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Acorns from the kermes oak, left and both valonia and kermes oak below.









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Virgin's Bower


An evergreen climber with shiny green leaves and cream coloured flowers, nodding and belled shaped. 

Now mostly finished flowering, distinctive with its long silky seeds, it can be seen easily amongst the trees now that their leaves have fallen.





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Common Asphodel

Common asphodel seen covering much of the ground on the hillside above Horio. 

The succulent leaves of the asphodel are poisonous unto sheep and goats, but in the hot summer months when the leaves become dry, they lose their poisonous potency. The root of the asphodel is used in some countries to make glue, as well as used as a remedy for the r…

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Painted Lady

No Rain & The Water Boat


I think that we have not had rain on Symi for over a month now and no sight of  any for a couple of weeks either. 

The farmers are getting worried and any fresh green that comes up is quickly eaten by the goats and sheep.










A freshly hatched clouded yellow was seen a few days ago on the Cataractus. My r…

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Myrtle Tree

I've walked past this tree more times than I care to remember, photographed it but never been able to identify it until yesterday.

It has blue berries on it and had I bothered to touch it I would have smelled the lovely fragrance that the small leathery leaves give off.

There are a few more too, nestling on the hillside above this one.


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Happy Christmas!

This is the summit of the Kali Limni on Karpathos at 4050 feet which we walked up earlier this year.

A Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year too!

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Christmas Eve.......

The shortest day of winter is over! Hurrah!

Mesochorio; part one.


Mesochorio is set under some impressive limestone cliffs just a few miles off the main road on the west side of Karpathos.

This is a gem of a village and although many of the buildings have been modernised the real star for me is the green valley and the productive terraces either side of the main church.




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Heather, Karpathos

A lovely patch of flowering heather that we found high up in the hills of Karpathos.

I have yet to find heather on Symi but I remain hopeful!















The clouds flowing through a gap in the hills.




Just a perfect place for some windmills.












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I suspect I shall be making large quantities of marmalade, juice and orange spoon preserve this year! Glyko tou koutaliou or the latter is often served to visitors, one piece on a spoon along with a glass of water, or at the end of a meal.

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Apella beach, Karpathos

Apela beach. 

Further up the east coast of Karpathos and again down a long road.

Heavily wooded with calabrian pines (Pinus brutia) and cypress trees (Cupressus Sempervirens horizontalis) with also the tall variety of cupressus sempervirens.








An old ruin sits under the shade of a pine tree.




Near the b…

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Achata Beach, Karpathos

Out of season Achata beach; just the birds and us!

Just a dozen miles north of Karpathos town and 5 miles down a lush green ravine with some impressive limestone cliffs.


The usual terraces etched into the hillside.........

A long legged buzzard with a rodent beneath.....

A shag airing its wings......

And a passing Heron.

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We had initially two reasons to go to Olympos that is in the far North of Karpathos; they still wear traditional dress and secondly, Bonelli's eagles.

Sadly the latter were nowhere to be seen but we weren't to be disappointed by the former. 

Indeed in the cafes the women were busy sowing and I think we may have been the only tourists in the town…

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The road to the North of Karpathos is truly spectacular.  It takes more than hour along windy (and windy) but well made roads of which the picture to the left is just a part.

There are heavily wooded areas of pines and cypress trees very similar to Symi









A small deserted vil…

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This is Myrtus communis or common myrtle. It was brought to me by Agapatos from the Kafenion in the harbour. I have never seen this on Symi so I think this is a cultivated variant of the wild plant.

In Greek mythology and ritual the myrtle was sacred to the goddesses Aphrodite and also Demeter: Artemidorus asserts that in interpreting dreams “a …

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17 blog posts