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Crete flower books

For many years, botanists visiting Crete struggled with inadequate or incomplete field guides to help them identify wild flowers. That’s no longer true: the wild flower enthusiast on Crete is blessed with a fine range of books.

This web page is to help you choose what to buy in advance of a visit, or to try to pick up when on Crete.

Books in the main column are widely available on Crete. Some books are available in several languages; check you’re picking up the right one for you! Books in the right hand column are probably best bought or ordered elsewhere in Europe.

Wild Flowers of Crete by Vangelis Papiomitoglou (Mediterraneo editions)

If you are buying one book, this compact volume is the one to choose, whether you are an experienced botanist or a visitor to Crete with a casual interest in flowers.

With around 1700 plants on Crete to choose from, this book has a happy knack of having chosen the right ones to describe.

They are illustrated with colour photos, usually a helpful combination of the plant in its habitat and a close-up. Includes flowering times, distribution and symbols to show habitats.

One criticism: it has the same photo for Ophrys cretica and Ophrys (cretica) ariadnae, irritating even if you regard them as subspecies. I'm also uncertain if the Serapias orientalis photos are right.

Wild Flowers of Crete

Orchids of Crete & Dodecanese by Horst & Gisela Kretzschmar (Mediterraneo editions)

Wild Flowers of Crete (above) does have orchids, but this adds species, detail, more detailed maps and photos of hybrids.

Orchids of Crete and Karpathos

The Orchids of Crete and Karpathos, written and published by Albertis Antonis, is another richly illustrated photoguide, though for most people one orchid book is enough!!

Flowers of Crete

The Flowers of Crete, text by Marina Clauser and photos by Andrea Innocenti (Bonechi), describes the island’s botanical communities and many species, illustrated with often stunning photos.

Wild flower of Greece - George Sfikas

Wild Flowers of Crete and Trees and Shrubs of Crete by George Sfikas (Efstathiades Group) are also photoguides.

They have valuable information but have been superseded by more recent books.

Books above are fairly widely available on Crete, though you'd be lucky to find them all in any one shop. Do check you have the right language version for you.

Also see: Honeyguide's Crete holiday . . . Honeyguide nature notes
Crete pages on fatbirder.com

Crete map

These books are probably best bought or ordered elsewhere in Europe.

Fielding & Turland

Flowers of Crete by John Fielding and Nicholas Turland is an expensive, literally very heavyweight but glorious book published by Kew (see here).

It would take a brave botanist to pack this in a suitcase, but it’s a book for any Crete enthusiast to enjoy at home.

However, it appears to be out of print, with only expensive second-hand copies available online.

Blamey & Grey-Wilson

Mediterranean Wild Flowers by Marjorie Blamey & Christopher Grey-Wilson. (Formerly Collins, then HarperCollins, now Domino Guides published by A & C Black where it's the same book but renamed as Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean).

This is the best flower book for the Mediterranean as a whole. Covering such a wide area it does have limitations, such as some Cretan endemics.

Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Eastern Mediterranean by Chris Thorogood (Kew) was published in 2019.

Other references include Flowers of Greece and the Balkans by Oleg Polunin (Oxford); and the two-volume Flowers of Greece by T Lanfranchis and G Sfikas, which is pricey but excellent and surprisingly compact, and includes CDs of additional photos.

The making of the Cretan landscape - Rackham & Moody

The Making of the Cretan Landscape by Oliver Rackham and Jennifer Moody (Manchester University Press) helps us understand what has shaped Crete’s landscape, which is just as fascinating as its archaeology.

This web page was written by Chris Durdin, initially for the Flowers of Crete website, and updated online here.

Holiday reports

Honeyguide has run at least one holiday on Crete every April since 1995, except 2010 due to volcanic ash. Our reports from 2003 to the present are here. Together they'd make a book!

More Honeyguide web pages about Crete

Crete Bird Reports. Collated by Stephanie Coghlan, made available on the internet through Honeyguide.

Cretan Bluet (damselfly).

Cretan flora through a macro lens

Our Crete orchids page and orchids gallery.

Crete flower books.

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... where there are many holiday photos to enjoy.

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