It is not easy to imagine that there are places so close to the city of Athens and yet so rich in rare and beautiful plants. Getting to know the plant diversity of the nearby areas is one of the goals of Natural Greece’s Athens Eco Tours and it was achieved by Katerina Goula, the trip leader, and Mr Noda Hideto, a traveler and plant photographer from Japan.
The 3-day tour on 29, 30 April & 1 May 2017 included:
- a visit at Parnitha mountain, the highest mountain of the Athens area,
- Imittos mountain, an oasis near the urbanscape,
- but also a walk at the historical center of Athens, combining a dive through the great past of Greece by sightseeing and a plant-hunting of the hidden botanical secrets of the city.
Between the picturesque landscapes and the plant-storytelling, Mr Hideto had the chance to take pictures of 155 plant species in just 3 days! Among them many endemic species, like Campanula celsii subsp. parnesia, a local endemic of Parnitha mountain, and the beautiful endemic tulips Tulipa hageri and T. orphanidea. The orchid list includes 11 species, with Ophrys argolica, a bee-orchid endemic of Greece, taking the first place in beauty and rareness. Other impressive plants of the trip are: Campanula celsii subsp. celsii, Iris attica, Tulipa australis, Ornithogalum atticum, Onobrychis ebenoides, Gagea graeca, Ornithogalum nutans, Onosma frutescens, Onosma kaheirei, Gladiolus italicus, Ophrys ferrum-equinum, Anacamptis pyramidalis.
There were also other happy meetings with insects or animals of the Greek fauna, such as butterflies, the scarlet red lily leaf beetle, the red deer, the marginated tortoise and many birds, like Alectoris chukar, the chukar partridge, and Turdus merula, the common blackbird.
Article and pictures by Katerina Goula ©