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Orchid Odyssey

Orchid Odyssey

£1,245.00

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Description

Enjoy the beauty of Greece in spring, spend a relaxing week discovering the richness of Orchids and other flora of Rhodes

Greece is a botanist’s paradise. There are around 6,000 plant species and as a small Country it is fair to say that for its area it has more species of wildflower than anywhere else in Europe! On top of that, more than 700 species are endemic to Greece. This degree of endemism makes it almost unique in Europe, with only southern Spain coming close.

Likewise, the island of Rhodes has around 1,500 recorded plant species, including over 50 species of Orchid – an impressive list for an island only 80km long and 30km at its widest point. Rhodes is blessed with many varied biotopes, a factor in the distribution of Orchids on the island, including significant coverage of Pine forest and phrygana. A visit in spring means meadows ablaze with flowers and alive to the tune of insects and the fluttering of butterflies. The forest floors are also decorated with a dazzling display of Orchids and other flowers. The wildlife and warm weather form a winning combination for a relaxing week of botany. We will of course look at anything else of interest, be it birds, butterflies, or anything else that catches our eye!

Our base for the week will be a stunning mountain retreat, surrounded by pristine Cypress & Pine forest. From here we’ll embark on daily adventures around the island.

The topography of Rhodes can best be described as moderately hilly, with the highest mountain, Attavyros, reaching 1,215m. During our week on Rhodes we’ll climb to between 600-800m, where there are some fantastically rich floristic areas to explore and the plants to discover include some Rhodes specialities!

The Rhodes Paeony Paeonia clusii rhodia, a strikingly beautiful rare and endemic white flowered Peony is one such treat. Another is the Rhodes Fritillary Fritillaria rhodia, an elegant and delicate endemic species that favours Pine forest. Beneath large, old and gnarled Cypress trees, the forest floor is also carpeted with delicate endemic Cyclamens Cyclamen repandum rhodia. On the limestone cliffs of Mount Attavyros we’ll also see the fascinating Centaurea lactucifolia, endemic to Rhodes and nearby Halki Island. The striking flowers are used by locals for both decorative and culinary purposes.

Orchids on Rhodes can be found in a variety of habitats including old Olive groves, phrygana, river edges and forested mountain slopes. In the company of Yiannis, our expert botanist, we will tour many parts of the island. Yiannis will lead us to hidden glades and secret corners to show us as many different species as possible. We will of course be looking for some of the local specialities, such as the Colossus Orchid and King Ferdinand’s Orchid, also known as the Earwig Orchid. The island has over 40 Ophrys species recorded, including several endemics, such as Ophrys eptapigiensis, Ophrys cornutula, Ophrys halia, Ophrys parvula and Ophrys Persephone.

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