EXPLORING THE FLORA AND FAUNA OF KISSAMOS
Meet Flora and Fauna in Kissamos area. The flora of the region is quite interesting because here you encounter rare endemic plants of Crete, plants with aromatic and cosmetic qualities, plants used in apiculture as well as plants of great therapeutic importance. These plants can be seen throughout the whole district.
It is worth mentioning that 3 out of the 13 districts of the Chania Prefecture proposed as special protection areas by the European Program NATURA 2000 are located in the Kissamos area.
Both its flora and fauna together with its geomorphology and natural beauty make Kissamos worth a visit. The districts considered for the NATURA 2000 program are of course especially spectacular.
Plants and trees cultivated for their special qualities:
- Thousands of olive trees cover the hills and plains of the district. The olive oil produced in Kissamos has gained worldwide recognition and fame given its distinct aroma and flavor. It is also worth mentioning that Kissamos produces the highest amount of olive oil per tree on a worldwide scale.
- Vineyards, citrus, apple trees, pear trees, chestnut trees, almond trees, plane trees, carob trees are present all over Kissamos.
The areas proposed to be included in the NATURA 2000 program are:
- Imeri and Agria Gramvoussa – Tigani- Falassarna – Pontikonissi GR 4340001
Vegetation and Flora
Around 400 plant species have been recorded in the area to date, among ehich 26 are Cretan endemics. Four are included in the red Book of threatened plants of Greece, are protected by Greek and European legislation. Three of them are particular interest as they are found only in the area and nowhere else on earth (steno endemics): the little marguerite, a little wild onion and Silene integripetala ssp. Lidenii.
Starting from the Gramvoussa peninsula, the vegetation is uniform, dominated by typical Mediterranean bushy species, such as spiny burnet, Mediterranean thyme, Spiny room and Cretan cistus. We also find creeping forms of mastic tree and carob.
To date, 173 different plant species have been recorded on the islets Imeri Gramvoussa and 119 on Agria Gramvoussa.
In the greater marine area, within the euphotic zone (the area that significant amounts of sun light penetrate), formations or “meadows” of the plant Neptune grass (Posidinia oceanica), found only in the Mediterranean Sea, and can be seen. The fact that Neptune grows only here is a clear education of the clean sea which provides an ideal habitat for many fish species.
- Elos – Topolia – Sassalos – St. Dikeus GR4340004
The mountainous region of Agios Dikaios (Meterizia, Agios Dikaios, Tsounara and Vitsilia of the White Mountains) presents valuable characteristics, which make it a very important area for the biodiversity of Crete. Because of its extensive massifs, it can support the habitats of many rare animal and plant species, many of which are protected by Greek legislation.
- Elafonissi – the beach until Cape Krios GR4340002
The islet of Elafonissi is located off the southwest coast of Crete, separated from the main island by a shallow channel approximately 150 meters wide. It is oblong, 1500 meters long and 500 meters wide, although for the most part, the islet varies between 150 and 300 meters width. The maximum altitude of Elafonissi is 39 meters and it is observed at the western rocky part of the islet whereas the rest of the islet is mostly sandy lowland. There are only a few a few rocks along the shoreline except from the eastern part of the islet.
The extended beach of Elafonisi is characterized by the dominance of sand dunes, where a well developed community of the beach plant Ammophila Arenaria can be found together with a significant population of the Parcratium maritimum (sea daffodil).
On the rocky west side of the islet, plantssuch as Atriplex halimus, Crithmum maritimum, Inula crithmoides, Capparis orientalis, Euphorbia dendroides, Ficus carica can be observed.
Finally, different species of phrygana grow on the central part of the islet such as Coridothymus capitatus, Phagnalon graecum, Ballota pseudodictamus, Hyparrhenia hirta, Ruta chalepensis. Similar communities can also be found on the southeast coast of Crete.
A few kilometers before Elafonissi is located the Monastery of Chrysoskalitissa, an area with typical phryganic vegetation and macchia such as: Erica manipuliflora, Pistacia lentiscus, Ceratonia siliqua, Anthyllis hermanniae, Calicotome villosa ect. Rich rock flora can be found in this particular area, comprising rare endemic species of Greece or species with discontinued geographical distribution.
Flora and Fauna in Kissamos Chania Crete 2017