February 2008 has mainly been wet, windy and cold.  Some mild, sunny days encouraged growth and Ophrys iricolour put in an early appearance near Elounda.  A healthy amount of snow on Mount Dikte means that hopefully I will be able to photograph Scilla nana and Crocus sieberi a little later in the year. 

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Iris unguicularis - The Cretan Iris grows in straggling bushes and can often be overlooked, particularly as it grows in shady spots.  The striking combination of purple and yellow is very beautiful and worthy of a closer inspection.

Ophrys mesaritica - The first of the orchids to bloom – this ophrys heralds the start of the orchid season. Rare and native to Crete, it is found mostly on the Mesara Plain – hence its name.  It is very similar to Ophrys iricolour, which grows later in the spring.  This specimen was photographed on a bank just outside Aghios Nikolaos

Anemone coronaria - I never tire of photographing this fragile flower, which blooms in abundance in abandoned fields and on roadsides. The variations in colour can be spectacular.  The flowering season is quite long and gives us ample opportunity to enjoy this Anemone in all its glory!

Ricotia cretica - This is the first year I have managed to get a good photo of this little endemic flower.  Normally growing in the shade, this clump was in full sunshine and the pale mauve of its flowers looked very vibrant against the grey rocky background.

Blackstonia perfoliata - Also known as Yellow Wort this tiny little flower is common all around Crete.

Dandelion - Many Compositae are in flower in late winter and early spring and I find myself unable to accurately identify them.  Their cheerful yellow faces on a dull winter day are, however, a delight.

Asphodelus aestivus - Common asphodel showing a pollinating insect.

Gagea peduncularis - This small perennial plant has been particularly attractive this year.

Ornithogalum - This wonderful group of Ornithogalum was photographed just above Elounda.  I am not sure of the species, as although I looked very carefully there did not seem to be any visible leaves.

Phagnalon graecum - Blooming a little early this year, a few yellow flower heads were visible on the shrubby grey/green bushes.

Draba verna - This common species is very small and often overlooked.  Growing sturdily amongst Oxalis pes caprae, I nearly missed it!!!
Calendar » February 1
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