SOUNION, PELOPONNESE AND PARNASSOS 2014
26th March to 9th April, 2014 (15 days)
Leaders: Margaret & David Thorne
Cost: In the region of £1,500 per person including flights
This tour is now full.
Springtime comes early to Greece bringing cheerful roadside displays of poppies, anemones, mayweeds, spurges, crown daisies, corn marigolds and so many more species. These you will enjoy, but this Tour takes you to places where extra special plants grow.
After our brief introduction to the Greek flora at Sounion, where we expect to find Iris attica and Ophrys umbilicata, we will set off for the Mani peninsula, in the south of the Peloponnese where our main botanical exploration will start. On the way we will stop for good populations of Fritillaria graeca guicciardii with its distinctive bicoloured flowers, Anemone pavonina, A. blanda, Iris unguicularis, Hermodactylus tuberosus and a few introductory species of orchid.
Our comfortable Mani hotel is situated on an undisturbed sandy beach with Pancratium maritimum, Medicago marina, M.littoralis, Euphorbia paralias, Silene colorata and Eryngium maritimum; also Cistus salviifolius nearby. Endemics in this scenically beautiful area include Tulipa goulimyi, Fritillaria davisii and Teucrium brevifolium.
We shall find Cyclamen peloponnesiacum on woodland edges, both Cerinthe major and C. retorta, showy Astragalus lusitanicus, Gladiolus italicus, curious Aristolochia elongata, and perhaps some early Biarum tenuifolium or the last blooms of Romulea columnae. Among a fascinating range of orchids, the most colourful are Orchis papilionacea, O. pauciflora and Ophrys speculum. Other locally occurring Orchis species include O. quadripunctata, O. italica, O. lactea, and O. tridentata and good displays are likely of Ophrys bombyliflora, O. spruneri, O. tenthredinifera, O. lutea, O. sicula and O. cornuta. We also hope to find the local endemic, Ophrys argolica and uncommon O. aesculapii. Some spikes of Himantoglossum robertianum, the Giant Orchid, will still be at their best and there will be plenty of opportunity to identify several species of Serapias.
We will spend time on the Malea peninsula, visiting the impressive rock of Monemvasia and its well documented floral treasures which include Campanula andrewsii, Onosma frutescens, Procopiana cretica, Centranthus ruber and Stachys spreitzenhoferi virella. This is one of five endemic species of Stachys which should just be coming into flower during our visit. A nearby area of acid soils is characterised by Arbutus unedo, Erica arborea and Lavandula stoechas, with Dactylorhiza romana and Bellevalia dubia. Roadside terraces have clumps of Ophrys lutea and O. iricolor, and Tulipa goulimyi growing with Anemone pavonina. We will cross a high mountain pass, where endemics Viola mercurii, Linum hellenicum and Draba strasseri grow with Aethionema saxatile and Lithospermum incrassatum.
Further north, we will find red Tulipa undulatifolia, orange T. orphanidea, T. goulimyi, Cyclamen peloponnesiacum vividum, Fritillaria messanensis and Anemone blanda in blue and white forms. Here also is a splendid site for the Monkey orchid, Orchis simia, growing with a range of other orchids including the elusive Man Orchid, Orchis anthropophora and perhaps the first spikes of Cephalanthera longifolia just beginning to appear.
Visits to the mountains will include the Taygetos, Menalo, Chelmos and Parnassos for snow-melt Crocuses such as C. sieberi (subspecies nivalis and sublimis), C. olivieri, and perhaps C. veluchensis (though it is difficult to find examples of the latter species which have not crossed with C. sieberi). Other snowmelt plants include Colchicum triphyllum, Scilla bifolia, Corydalis solida and Helleborus cyclophyllus. In nearby upland and rocky places, we hope to find Iris attica, in purple and yellow forms, the perfumed white flowers of Daphne jasminea, Tulipa australis and Romulea bulbocodium.
Delphi speciality Campanula topaliana delphica may be found within the town while yellow flowered Leontice leontopetalum which has curious inflated fruits, grows on nearby terraces with Bellevalia ciliata, Tulipa undulatifolia and yet more orchids.
There will be visits to Ancient Sites of Sounion, Mystras and Delphi. Flights will be from London to Athens and accommodation in comfortable hotels. Transport will be by small coach which has proved popular on previous Tours as it enable us all to travel together and in comfort, while having access to narrow roads in areas of interest.
The Tour is limited to 18 participants plus 2 leaders and bookings will be processed in order of receipt. If you intend to book your own flights, please do not do so until we have confirmed there are sufficient participants for the tour to go ahead.
For further information please contact:
AGS Centre, Avon Bank, Pershore WR10 3JP.
phone - 01386 554790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org