​The Flora of Crete


​​​​2nd February 2016

Crete. A gem in the Eastern Mediterranean and the largest island of all the Greek islands. Crete is a significant part of the cultural heritage of Greece, but it still has its own local cultural traits. It also has some of the most amazing animals and plants on the planet!



This is because Crete is a biodiverse island. There are around 2000 species of plants in Crete, and 10% of those are endemic, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else in the world. A reason for the number of native plants is that Crete is a closed ecosystem, isolated from other masses of land and systems.

There are so many plants, flowers and trees in Crete, that we can only showcase a few. Take a look at some of the most beautiful flora you can find on the island:

Anemone Coronaria

This is a common flower in Crete and can typically be found in olive groves, fallow land and abandoned fields. Although they come in a wide variety of colours, some of the most common are purple, red and white – they can also occur in bicolour form. The plant starts flowering in the month of December, usually at sea level, and will continue to bloom until May in higher regions.

One of the most interesting facts about the Anemone Coronaria is that not all colours will flower at the same time! A field of flowers in one colour at one time, and then a different one at another time is a common sight in Crete.




Iris Tuberosa

Also called widow iris and snake’s head, this plant from tuberous bulbs planted in autumn and flowers in late winter and very early spring; its colours are usually in yellow-green and dark purple-black combinations. This flower prefers full sun and partial shade and the soil it grows on can’t be too wet. It can also grow in grassy regions and rocky terrain.

Acanthus Spinosus

An ‘architectural’ plant, the statuesque acanthus spinosus can grow up to 80cm tall and is characterised by beautifully unique dark green leaves. This is also a deciduous plant, and in summer you’ll be able to admire the flowery spikes with coloured hoods that bloom from it. You can find the plant in fields, rocky regions and olive groves and, occasionally, near roadsides as well.




Galatella Cretica

This unique and interesting plant is part of the daisy family and flowers in autumn. It is typically found in cliffs and phrygana at low altitudes, and the most common colour for the flower is yellow, although it also occurs in pink and orange. This bloom is dense, with uneven florets, so this plant makes quite an impression in the landscape of Crete.

Orchis Italica

A beautiful flower usually found in the meadows and pine woods of Crete. It can also grow in altitude of up to 900m. The orchis italica blooms in spring in partial shade and low nutrient soils and can reach a height of 50cm with pink petals. Another beautiful sight in Crete that shouldn’t be missed when you visit!




When you visit Crete, you’ll be able to see these and more plants, as the island possesses a rich ecosystem that is different from any other in the world. At Pure Crete, we are always amazed by the striking colours and shapes we see all year round, and we love nothing more than helping you find the perfect accommodation in the island so that you can enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Give us a call on +44 (0) 1444 880 404 to learn more about our stunning villas in Crete and enjoy everything the island has to offer!