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Flora of Lesvos
Lesbos, the largest, in terms of size, island in the East Aegean and third largest in Greece, soon became a pole of attraction for botanists, walkers, and scientists. The first reference to the island’s flora was made by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1703) and J. Dumont d’Urville (1822). The most important researchers of the island’s flora during the last century were the doctor Constantinos A. Kanartzis, who presented his findings in his essay “Flore de l’ile de Lesbos, Plantes Sauvages et cultivees” (1889) and his son Palaiologos C. Cantartzis. The latter wrote his thesis on the topic of “La Vegetation de l’ l’ile de Lesbos” at the University of Sorbonne (1899), while he made a significant contribution to the broadening of knowledge of the island’s flora when he published his findings in a french Scientific Journal (1897 – 1898). It is worth mentioning that he described approximately 60 new species (unknown until then). However very few are accepted today. M. De Boissieu also made a minor contribution during the past century (1896). A great deal of new information is provided by the great Austrian botanist Karl Heinz Rechinger in his essay, Flora Aegea (1943). Werner Rauh (1949), who succeeded Rechinger, focused his research on the island’s vegetation rather than its flora. More recent references are made by Peter H. Davis (Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands, 1965 – 1985), K.A. Zachariadis (1977), John R. Edmondson (1982), Peter Golz and Hans Reinhard (1981, 1989), Alfred Hansen (1986), Alfred Hansen & Henry Nielsen (1993), Artemis Giannitsaro and Eva Economidou (1974, 1975), Artemis Giannitsaro (1977, 1979, 1982, 1992) and Giannis Bazo & Artemis Giannitsaro (1992, 1993, 1994).
It is estimated that the flora of Lesbos consists of 1400-
Alyssum lesbiacum is perhaps the only endemic species of the island. However some plants of the East such as Rhododendron luteum and Haplophyllum megalanthum are only found on Lesbos, while others are found very rarely and dispersed all over Greece, e.g. Osmunda regalis, Datisca cannabina, Comperia comperiana, Dianthus anatolicus, Elatine alsinastrum, Corydalis integra, Ranunculus isthmicus, Silene urvillei and others.
In recent years a large number of dangers pose a serious threat to the rich flora of Lesbos, the most important of which are: road construction, building, negative impact of tourism development, exsiccation and transformation of land into building sites (mainly in the Kalloni and Larsou-
Text was written by Yiannis Bazos (biologist studied at the University of Athens)
Ranunculaceae Anemone coronaria
From the collection of Meni Ouzounelli and George Mastrantonakis
Flowers of Lesvos
Orchidaceae Cephalanthera longifolia
Paeoniaceae Paeonia mascula
Orchidaceae Limodorum abortivum
Iridaceae Iris pseudocorus
Iridaceae Crocus palasii
Liliaceae Tulipa orphanidea
Iridaceae Romulea linaresii
Iridaceae Crocus biflorus