The weather in February has been very mixed. The early part of the month was mild and sunny, but suddenly the rains arrived and the temperature plummeted.  So the early promise of spring was put on hold for a while.  However, the snow capped mountains look splendid and remind me that it will soon be time to search for Scilla nana and Crocus sibieri. 

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Pistachia lentiscus / Mastic tree, Lentisk / Πιστακία η σερέβινθοζ – κοκκορεβιθιά – τραμιθιά / Terebinthe - An evergreen and aromatic tree which can be found all over Crete.  The female flowers are yellow and the male flowers red.  It bears small fruits, which are red, turning black when they ripen.  It is used to soothe stomach upsets.

Common Fawn Pluteus - This was one of a group of mushrooms growing in leaf litter on the track where we park the jeep.  In an effort to identify this, we have all pulled out our books on mushrooms.  The identification may or may not be accurate, as, as far as I know, there has not been an illustrated book on the mushrooms of Crete.  Any advice would be gratefully received.

Ophrys iricolor / Rainbow ophrys / ΟΦρύζ η ιριδόχρωμη / RegenbogenRagwurtz - A beautiful, early flowering Ophrys which can be distinguished by its early appearance and the glowing red of its underlip.  This specimen was found growing with Ophrys mesaritica, with which it is no doubt hybridising.

Ophrys mesaritica / The Mesara Ophrys / ΟΦρύζ τηζ Μεσαράζ / Messara-Ragwurtz - This rare, endemic ophrys grows in profusion on a meadow above Elounda, together with O.iricolour.  It can be distinguished by the greenish-brown colouring of its underlip.  One of my favourite ophrys because it is one of the first to appear.

Ophrys herae
Ophrys herae / Hera’s Ophrys / ΟΦρύζ τηζ Ηραζ / Heras Ragwurtz - The members of the Ophrys sphegodes-mammosa group are very difficult for even dedicated botanists to identify, but I think this is correctly named.  I will, of course, be happy to hear from you if you think I have it wrong.  It was, nevertheless, the first Ophrys to bloom on the Nature Reserve at Pezoulia, so deserves a special place in the February calendar.

Ophrys sicula / Small yellow ophrys / ΟΦρύζ η σφηκόμορφη - A small, delicate plant which is sometimes confused with the larger Ophrys phryganae. This little plant was found flowering on its own on the land at Pezoulia.

Out in the field - We take a break from searching for species on the land at Pezoulia, before returning to Vrahassi for lunch and raki.
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