Crete is the biggest Greek island and the fifth biggest throughout the Mediterranean Sea. It belongs to the Mediterranean climatological zone, which means that the Cretan climate is mild. Summers in Crete are warm and dry and winters are mild and humid with lots of rainfalls. The average temperature ranges between 25ºC and 30ºC. In Crete one can notice very high mountains, plains and tablelands. The combination of all the above mentioned favours the Cretan land as it is possible for the Cretans to produce crops of many and different kinds. Agricultural and stock-breeding production has existed for at least 10.000 years. What really makes Cretan flora and fauna exceptionally interesting and unique is the ideal climatic conditions and its soil consistency. In Crete there are 1750 plant species, 160 of which are unique throughout the globe and are used in botanology and pharmacology. During the European Research programme Natura in 2000, it was reported that in a total number of 109 habitats throughout Greece, half of them -55 in particular- are located in Crete. Indicatively some of them are the following:
Pine tree (Pinus spp), Cypress tree (Cupressus sempervirens), Cretan maple (Acer Sempervirens), Oleander (Nerium oleander), Abelicea (Zelkova abelicea) Cretan Ebenus (Ebenus cretica), Campanula (Cambanula cretica).
Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus), Sage (Salvia fruticosa), Origanum (Origanum dictamnus), Origanum (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum), Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla), Lime tree (Tilia cordata), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), Woodbine (Lonicera).
PRESERVABLE NATURAL MONUMENTS
The Korfon oak tree, a perennial oak tree in Heraklion prefecture. The Cretan Helleborine, an orchid species in Heraklion prefecture.
*(Cretan Flora by Giorgos Tsoympas)