A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

header photo

Strofylia Wetlands Forest.

Or as I like to call it, the forest of biting insects. What started as a gentle amble turned into a forced route march in a vein attempt to out run nasty, blood sucking insects.
The most striking feature here is the umbrella pine, stone pine or Pinus pinea which cover an area between the lagoons and the sea for about 8 kilometres. A cut pine reveals its age; about 120 years old and a small one too. A protected area of international importance in Europe with a typical riparian ecosystem (anything that exists near a river or a water area - I had to look it up!). Apart from the insects there are plenty of spotted flycatchers sitting around spotting flies and catching them. Not enough in my opinion. Another curiosity is the magpie of which there are plenty, not very noteworthy you might think but essential for spreading the seed of the umbrella pine. Now the umbrella pine is replanted by man as the magpies appear not to be doing their job effectively. 
Other notable plants in the forest are the aleppo pine, the resin from which was used to preserve white wine by spreading on the insides of clay amphora and called retsina, and mastica, which makes a gin like spirit. There are large areas of valonia oak forest and a few kermes oak. Lots of jays after the acorns too, but too quick for my camera. 
But the stone pines steal the day for me.








Go Back