Peloponnese October 2013

Autumn bulbs in the Peloponnese
g1  The Peloponnese peninsula is reached by crossing the Corinth canal - a remarkable feat of construction for the 1880s. g2  In late October bulbs are starting to flower. Our first find was Crocus boryi. g3  Cyclamen hederifolium occurs in vast numbers, growing in shady places … g4  … and Cyclamen graecum, which grows in hot, dry, limestone rocks was almost equally abundant.
g5  Sternbergia lutea was widely distributed, but never in quite such large numbers as the Cyclamen. g6  A particularly impressive clump of Sternbergia. g7  Sternbergia were usually on open, sunny slopes, often over limestone rocks. g8  Monemvasia is a peninsula with an ancient fortified town.
g9  The narrow streets are free of cars, and there are many delightful restaurants. g10  There are a few hotels, and it was easy to get accommodation at this season. This is the view from our room. g11  A few small cruise 'ships' visit during the day. g12  There is one way up from the town to the top of the rock.
g13  A view down to the town. g14  The top is packed with ancient, ruined buildings … g15  … and with interesting plants, including many bulbs. This is Urginea maritima, the sea squill. g16  More Cyclamen graecum, distinguished by the pink streaks at the nose of the flower.
g17  Colchicum cupanii, one of many small Colchicum species found in the area. g18  From Monemvasia the Malea peninsula can be explored in a day. There is a fossilised forest at the southern tip. g19  Water spouts up through the hollow centres of the tree trunks. g20  This unidentified Colchicum was growing in the road to the tip of the peninsula.
g21  A top view of the Colchicum. g22  The next day we went down the middle Peloponnese peninsula, the Mani. Scilla autumnale was abundant. g23  More Cyclamen graecum … g24  … in large numbers and widespread.
g25  Here is a form of Cyclamen graecum with flowers that are almost white. g26  Occasionally we found plants with the leaves fully developed at flowering time, but this was unusual. g27  Much of the Mani peninsula is quite barren, with fortified villages. g28  Villages are often on hill tops. Many buildings are derelict, but others are being rebuilt.
g29  Cats were common everywhere, but in this village they put their lives at stake by lying in the road. g31  Urginea maritima near Cape Tenaro. g30 g32  Beautiful Campanula speciosa on limestone cliffs.
g33  Next day on the north-west coast of the peninsula we found Crocus goulimyi for the first time. g34  Then there was a find stand of Crocus niveus. g35  Most were pure white, but some had various shades of pale purple colouring. g36  More Crocus goulimyi, this time in a deeper purple colour.
g37  Towards the end of the day we found our best stand of Narcissus serotinus. g38  Next day we climbed Profitas Ilias, the highest mountain of the Taygetos range, 2407 m. g39  Above the treeline there were many alpine plants, but few in flower, so it looked deceptively barren. g40  From the summit most of the Peloponnese was visible.
g41  One of the plants in flower was this Eryngium, probably E. amethystinum. g42  Coming down through the forest we found masses of Cyclamen hederifolium … g43  … growing with large numbers of the autumn-flowering snowdrop, Galanthus reginae-olgae. g44  Moving to the north of the Peloponnese there were more crocuses, here Crocus hadriaticus.
g45  There were many more Sternbergia. This one may be S. sicula, but this and S. lutea seemed to merge. g46  A Sternbergia growing with a slightly mauve-coloured Crocus hadriaticus. g47  A narrow-leaved Sternbergia in which the leaves were well developed at flowering time. g48  For the last two days we crossed to Attica, and went to Delphi and then Mount Parnassos.
g49  Delphi is fascinating, although thronged with tourists - and it has some good flowers, too. g50  More Sternbergia, which even the tourists stopped to photograph. g51  Colchicum cupanii again. g52  This Colchicum was on Mount Parnassos, and it may be an unnamed species.
g53  Crocus cancellatus on the outskirts of Delphi. g54  The very local endemic, Crocus hadriaticus var. parnassicus, which is pure white. g55  Another Mount Parnassos endemic, Verbascum epixanthum subsp. parnassicum. g56  And we end with the gorgeous Daphne jasminea, found in this very fine form near Delphi.