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Images and stories from photographer Michalis Koulieris.

Endemic Plants of Crete

How rare can a flower be?

Endemism is the ecological state of a species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, country or other defined zone. In simpler words endemic plants are special because they are found in only one location on the planet, and nowhere else.

Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Basin and is located in the southernmost part of Greece. The island is generally characterized as mountainous as the entire length is dominated by four mountain ranges.

Due to the differences in the landscape, endemic plants are trapped so they adapt and change within the very specific parameters of that one location.

Endemic types or species are especially likely to develop on geographically and biologically isolated areas, and can easily become endangered or extinct if their restricted habitat changes, particularly due to human actions.

Habitats rich in endemic species in Crete are the cliffs, gorges and areas of high altitude above 1,500m. However, the habitats in the gorges are more stable and not currently receiving intense pressure from human activities.