is mentioned that the Hellenic flora is among the richest in
Europe. However, its importance lies not only to the large number
of taxa, but also to its endemic species, i.e. taxa native to
term endemic is totally relative. Generally, when a plant or
animal species is described as endemic, it means that this species
exists only in that particular area and nowhere else. Endemic
species are a very important category, because they are observed
exclusively in one geographical area and they provide the researchers
with information about the past and the special ecological factors
of that area. The study of endemic plants is extremely interesting,
as they are organisms growing mostly on steep rock crevices,
on very little soil and usually with no protection against winds
and extreme weather conditions. It is really amazing how several
of these plants manage to survive in such inhospitable environments
and most intriguing, why they choose to live there.
vascular flora of Mt Parnitha comprises c. 1,100 taxa, 92 of
which are Greek endemics and 42 are Balkan endemics (Aplada,
2003). Of the 92 Greek endemics, others are widely distributed,
others are restricted to Sterea Ellas, others to South Greece
etc. Most of them are widely distributed in various areas of
Greece (e.g. Grecian fir- Abies cephalonica). Two species
are exclusive Parnitha endemics: the bellflower (Campanula
celsii ssp. parnesia) and the catchfly of Parnitha
(Silene oligantha ssp. parnesia).
bellflower of Parnitha grows on limestone and forms very beautiful
purple carpets on the rocks, at the end of spring. The catchfly
of Parnitha is in bloom at mid- to late June and also grows
on limestone. So, when you visit Mt Parnitha, take a close look
at the rocks standing on the roadsides. You will see very interesting
forms of life! You have to be very careful though, not to uproot
or cut plants, as several of them are rare and protected by
the Greek State, but also by international laws and conventions.
Let us treat nature with respect, as it deserves it.
Forest Service of Parnitha issued in 2005 an illustrated guide
for the rare and endemic plants of the National Park of Parnitha,
which is addressed not only to scientists, but also to the public
[Aplada E., 2005: "RARE AND ENDEMIC PLANTS OF PARNITHA
NATIONAL PARK", Forest Service of Parnitha, Acharnes. (In
Greek). ISBN: 960-88921-0-4]. The book is freely distributed
by the Forest Service of Parnitha.