term phrygana is used for an open dwarf scrub dominated by low,
often cushion-shaped, spiny shrubs. These shrubs are extremely
high temperature- and drought-tolerant and they grow at low
altitudes. Several phrygana are aromatic and well known for
their medicinal purposes, as they are being used in herbal medicine
since ancient times.
vegetation type is characteristic of the mediterranean ecosystems
and is considered as the result of macchie or forest degradation.
Phrygana usually grow on poor and rocky limestone and siliceous
substrates or at areas previously repeatedly burnt by fires.
most common phryganic species are: thyme (Coridothymus
capitatus, Thymus sp.), cistus (Cistus
creticus, Cistus salviifolius), St. John's wort (Hypericum
empetrifolium), sage (Salvia
triloba), thorny burnet (Sarcopoterium
spinosum), heather (Erica
manipuliflora), hairy thorny broom (Calicotome
villosa), asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius),
garden horehound (Ballota
acetabulosa), common asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus),
shrubby globularia (Globularia
are very important formations, because they host several reptiles,
as well as numerous plant species, including most of the wild
orchids found on Parnitha.
to the essential oils contained in many phryganic species, these
shrubs are very dangerous for fire outbreaks during the summer.
The Forest Service of Parnitha clears the phrygana growing under
pines before summer, to prevent fires.