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SKOPELOS FLORA

Greece has about 6.000 species of wild flowers, some 700 grow nowhere else. On Skopelos there is something of interest nearly all year round to see and also to smell. The bushes you see everywhere (Machie and Phrygana) are made up of several different species.

Particularly frequent are dwarfed bushes like the Kermes Oak, with their small prickly holly-like leaves but typical oak acorns, the Spiny Burnet and yellow Euphorbia acanthothamnos. Other common plants among the machia are the Jerusalem Sage, oregano and various Rock Rose  –  the brain of the walker. Among the taller shrubs are the Strawberry Tree, Spanish Broom, Judas tree and Tree Heather. Gullies and ravines with underground water are lined by the Oriental Plane with large pink flowers, willowy shoots and leaves so poisonous that even goats leave them unmolested.

Other of interest includes the Squirting Cucumber with fruits like large gooseberries in appearance which, when ripe, explode squirting a nasty liquid several feet. This liquid contains a violent purgative that was used for rheumatism, paralysis, dropsy and shingles. Growing beside the sea, sometimes between rocks, you can find Rock Samphire. This is an aromatic plant used since ancient times, pickled and traditionally served with tschiporo (similar to ouzo). You will undoubtedly notice the abundant variety of fruit trees, including pomegranate, loquat, fig and quince as well as plum trees, chestnuts and olives.

SKOPELOS HORTA

There are 20 different kinds of edible weed – Horta. After boiling, it is served with olive oil and lemon. All you need is a plastic bag, a knife and an expert to distinguish them. Gathering horta is a therapeutical pass-time as well as being vitamin filled, food for free. They include a kind of wild cabbage, dill, fennel, dandelion, nettle, watercress and chicory.

SKOPELOS BIRDS

There is a huge variety of birds to be spotted on Skopelos. The large, black and grey birds that are everywhere are Hooded crows. Eleonora’s falcons are commonly seen on the outskirts of Skopelos and Glossa and above Old Klima. Eagles and vultures have been spotted on the northern, less populated side of the island. A variety of waders can be seen beside the bridge near the town beach plus at the other end of culvert behind the Ag. Reginos memorial. If you hear an almost constant “boop…booop” sound of an evening, this will be the Scops owl!