A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Blog posts April 2015

On the Acropolis.

A difficult genus of plants to identify is the mulliens or verbascums. This species is found all over the acropolis above the harbour on Symi. There are five species on the island of which one is unique to Symi (Verbascum symes). This is probably Verbascum aschersonii and the tiny flowers have to be examined closely for a good result. 

Here the…

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Hound's Tongues

Hound's Tongue is a rough, bristly plant in the Borage family.  Cynoglossum creticum is on the right and the other is an annual, Cynoglossun columnae. Both found on Symi.

 These are the fruits of C. columnae. They look and feel very much like a dog's tongue!

Culpepper says "Government and virtues. It is a plan…

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Rock Roses

Larkin' about.

I stumbled across a small group of woodlarks yesterday, high up on the hills near Roukouniotis. These birds are very shy and a long shot is all I managed but I did watch them for twenty minutes or so. 

There are two races of woodlark:

Lullula arborea arborea, native to northern regions of Europe, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, the United…

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The Cat's Present.

The cat very kindly brought this lovely beast into my yard yesterday morning. It's a coin marked snake, not poisonous, and by the time I rescued it, the snake had gone torpid (12c) in the yard, so it was an easy matter returning it to a warm and sunny rock out of harm's way.

Hemerrhois nummifer.

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The art of identifying an orchid seems to be illusive to me. I can recognize a genus (that's its first name) but the species is another matter. So I usually end up sending the picture off to an expert who then does likewise. The result can be inconclusive; it could be a hybrid, a new species to Symi (that brings its own problems - the need fo…

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Aspects of Terraces....

Top left: A terrace in the Pedi valley full of yellow hawkbits and poppies. Next, a similar terrace further down the valley but after the livestock have grazed off the grasses and herbs. Right: a terrace up the Nimoraki fenced off and looking green compared to the surrounding countryside. Most of the terraces here will be growing oat straw for the …

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A Plant with many Names!

My "Wildflowers of the Mediterranean" calls this Gynandriris sisyrinchium or the barbary pignut. Further research now places this iris type plant which was formerly considered to be a genus in the Iridaceae family, but is now considered to be a subsection of Moraea. The upshot of that is it now has a new name. Moraea mediterranea, syn. Gynandr…

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Four Summer Visitors.

A short walk up the Nimoraki (along the path out of the village that heads towards Ksisos) never fails to bring out the regular summer visitors and today was no exception. After tripping over an ottoman viper sunning itself on a large rock on the path - it disappeared before I could get my camera out - a black-eared wheatear showed itself  well on …

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9 blog posts