Flora of Alonnisos

Flora of Alonnisos

Alonissos, a place with low elevation variation and covered by vegetation types that form habitats of similar characteristics, hosts a rather limited diversity of plants. Although no systematic research has been carried out, the observations made so far summarise a flora of about 410 species and subspecies.

Alonnisos topoguide: Flora of Alonnisos
Flora of Alonnisos
In Spring, Anthemis chia carpets covers the mountain meadows
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Most of the plants of the Alonissos flora have a wide distribution in Eastern Mediterranean, but there are also some rare endemics of the Sporades group, the northern Aegean area or Greece.

Flora of the woods anf the maquis

In Alonissos, as in the whole Mediterranean zone, the succession of species during the year is rapid. As early as January, the crocus Crocus nivalis appears together with the Anemone apennina subsp. blanda and the early irises Iris tuberosa.

Alonnisos topoguide
Flora of Alonnisos: Iris tuberosa, the first Iris of the year
From March, the olive groves and the road slopes around the villages turn vivid yellow by the Oxalis pes-caprae, while isolated Cynoglossum creticum and countless Anthemis chia daisies gradually spread around. In mid-spring the larger yellow daisies Glebionis coronaria also bloom.

Alonnisos topoguide
Flora of Alonnisos: Tuberaria guttata
At the same time, the rocky areas of the mountainous zone are decorated with several purple dots of Muscari neglectum, while in a few weeks yellow spots of Fumana arabica and Tuberaria guttata completes the picture. Next comes in flower Bituminaria bituminosa and then colorful Bellardia trixago is added into the table. Dianthus desideratus, an endemic Dianthus of the Sporades, shines in places.

On the dry-stone walled terraces Gladiolus italicus rises hastily and soon after Asphodelus ramosus dominates. Anagallis arvensis blooms in the old fields it comes here too in two colors, orange and blue -, while somewhere further on the bright yellow Crepis hellenica, a Greek endemic, raises its complex flower. Alliums are represented by at least two members of the genus, Allium roseum and Allium subhirsutum.

Alonnisos topoguide
Flora of Alonnisos: Allium subhirsutum

Flora of the phrygana

The very common Centaurea raphanina subsp. mixta, related to the local endemic Centaurea rechingeri, set up their purple flowers among the stones. Lower down, the Drimia numidica rises its inflorecence through last year's yellowed leaves.

In the pine forests we will find small colonies of the very common Prasium majus, but also spots of the much rarer Scutellaria sporadum, a plant endemic to the Sporades Islands.

Few plants are still in bloom during the hot and dry Summer of the Sporades region. One of the few colorful presences is Odontites linkii, a Greek endemic that raises its sparse inflorescence on roadsides and disturbed soils.

As the Summer progresses, in the same places Acanthus spinosus remains luscious and Pallenis spinosa still bothers us on untrodden paths; among the common thymes hides a rare Greek endemic, Satureja athoa.

Alonnisos topoguide
Flora of Alonnisos: Arum italicum
Near the coast we will find the unusual Atriplex recurva, which is endemic to Greece. In July, among the now colorless phrygana, we will notice Arum italicum, which is dressed in its crimson fruiting robe, while at the same time the spathe of Arum nigrum bends and fades.

In Autumn, the rocks of mid-elevation zone are home to groups of Sternbergia lutea, while the Greek cyclamens Cyclamen graecum and Cyclamen hederifolium hide under the Kermes oaks.

Rock-dwelling plants

Alonnisos topoguide
Flora of Alonnisos: Phagnalon rupestre subsp. graecum

On the coastal and inland rocks of Alonissos we will find the common Phagnalon rupestre subsp. graecum, the rare Campanula scopelia and the equally rare Symphyandra sporadum, which also resembles a rock bell. The last two plants are endemic to the Sporades.

Smaller rock formations are covered by the shrub-like Ptilostemon chamaepeuce. Rock crevices host Erysimum senoneri, a child of a genus whose several members colonize exclusively the Greek rocks.

Another friend of the rocks, Malcolmia macrocalyx is also a Greek endemic. Finally, next to all these impressive chasmophytes, few hikers will notice the pale yellow Galium reiseri, a rare plant of the coastal limestone rocks, which only grows in Greece.

Text and photos by T. Adamakopoulos

topoguide Greece


topoguide Greece
A concise guide of Alonnisos flora, supported by photos and descriptions, is included in the digital field guide Alonnisos topoguide.

Digital field guide Alonnisos topoguide is available for Android devices as an in-app purchase within the application topoguide Greece. Alonnisos topoguide is a member of the Greek Islands group.

Digital field guide Alonnisos topoguide is also available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) devices as an in-app purchase within the application Topoguide Greece. There also, Alonnisos topoguide is a member of the Greek Islands group.