The paradise of wild orchids in the Park of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos


The Petrified Forest Park in Bali Alonia or Main Petrified in western Lesvos, in addition to the unique value of petrified trees that it hosts, shows us its uniqueness in recent weeks. It is a rare habitat and botanical garden of significant biodiversity, a natural wealth with many endemic species and admirable diversity during the flowering period, which create an ideal place for the observation and recognition of wild flora in western Lesvos.

The staff of the Museum of Natural History of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos welcomed in the Park the researcher of the lesbian flora, Giannis Karatzas, who identified the different species of orchids, observing all the orchids that live in the Park of the Petrified Forests. weeks.

“The unique wealth that can be used to attract researchers and nature observers from all over Europe was recognized, as it combines many advantages that allow safe access and observation of wildlife species by visitors to the park by implementing measures to prevent grazing. and the trampling of endemic and rare plants in the area of ​​the park, with the simultaneous implementation of protection measures during the monitoring of the plant populations, in order to ensure the health and the viability of this rare habitat “, reports the Athenian-Macedonian Agency Director of the Museum of Natural History of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos, Nikos Zouros.

The Petrified Forest Park, in addition to the more than 100 sites of giant standing fossilized sequoia and pine trees 18 million years old, which constitute a unique monument of global interest, is also an excellent habitat for many species of flora and fauna, with more than 70 different species of plants. .

The fence of the park, which was placed 27 years ago separating the protected area from the surrounding pastures, protects the wild flora and in particular the largest and most important habitat of the orchid Ophrys argolica ssp. lesbis, which is one of the most characteristic species of orchids on Lesvos and until recently was considered endemic to the island. However, in the other areas found, its presence is meager and limited to a small number of plants.

The orchids of the Park

As Mr. Karatzas, a researcher of orchids in Lesvos, points out, “Other species are also found in the Park, such as several plants of Ophrys tenthredinifera ssp. vilosa and some of Ophrys mammosa. Relatively early flowering is the species Anacamptis papilionacea ssp. aegaea. For the first time this year we also identified Ophrys umbilicata ssp bucephala. Anacamptis collina is an orchid with a frequent presence in Lesvos, which thrives in several areas of the island. In the Park, one can observe all the diversity of the species at the same time, in capable populations.

From the species Anacamptis collina, in the Park, the plants with the white rim dominate (often in the literature this variant is called: Anacamptis collina var. Leucoglossa – white rim, purple-brown-green perianth). So, we have in the Park of the Petrified Forest of Lesvos an impressively mixed presence of the nominal species.

In the Park there are several species of Serapias such as: Serapias vomeracea and Serapias orientalis, in fact with two subspecies, Serapias orientalis ssp. carica and Serapias orientalis ssp. sennii, with many hybrid forms since the plants have a common space and flowering time. Serapias orientalis ssp.carica is an orchid characterized by dense inflorescence and seems to be dominant between the two subspecies.

Anacamptis sancta, which is the characteristic orchid of most Aegean islands, closes the orchid cycle in the Park “.

The observations were made in the upper part of the Park and near the paths in the non-phryganic areas, where the herbaceous species can and do thrive. The flowering of these plants begins in February in Lesvos and continues until May-June. In the coming weeks, flowering is expected for other species of orchids in the Park.

“The highlighting of the special value of the habitat of the Petrified Forest Park of Lesvos can be the subject of research and education of students, as well as an ideal place during the spring period for nature, flora and bird watching activities. It can, at the same time, be a pole of attraction for the friends of the orchids that visit our island. “Lesvos remains a special place characterized by the special natural environment and the rich cultural heritage and tradition”, emphasizes Mr. Zouros.

It is noted that all of the above are part of the effort to protect and promote the natural heritage of Lesvos, which has been declared a UNESCO World Geopark.

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