A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Commonly known as the larkspur, this is Delphinium staphisagria, a large stand of which I found in a long derelict property behind the harbour in Yialos.

In Greek mythology the delphinium flower was said to have blossomed from the blood of Aias – or Ajax – and the petals were inscribed with the word ai, ai – or alas, alas. During the Battle of Troy Achilles' mother requested that her son's armour be given to the most heroic Greek Warrior. The armor was given to Ulysses, although the brave Ajax expected to be chosen, and because of his dejection, Ajax killed himself. The small blue larkspur began to grow where the blood of Ajax spilled.  

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