A botanist’s heaven, Cyprus is blessed with 1907 species, subspecies and flowering plants, some 141 of which are endemic. The climate, soil and geographical location have contributed to the wealth of Cyprus’s flora. As an island, it was sufficiently isolated to allow the evolution of endemic plants, while its location at the crossroads of three continents only served to enrich local varieties. Another reason for the large number of endemic plants are the varied habitats with their distinct microclimates and geology.
The Troodos Mountains and the unspoiled Akamas Peninsula are particularly noted for their endemic plants. Cyprus is well known for its orchids – being home to 45 species one of which is the endemic Kotschy’s bee orchid. Other exquisite varieties are the Troodos Anatolian orchid, the giant orchid and the woodcock orchid. The best time to admire wild flowers is in early spring and late autumn. Worth looking out for is the white and yellow Cyprus crocus, the dark red Cyprus tulip, the three-coloured chamomile and the cotton thistle.
The island’s national plant is the Cyprus cyclamen, an endemic plant that flowers from September to January. The national tree is the golden oak that takes its name from the golden colour of its leaves. Also endemic to Cyprus, it is found in the Troodos mountain range and flowers from April to May. The fruits ripen from November to December. The forests are also graced with pine, cypress and cedar. Olive and carob trees grow widely, while deciduous fruit trees and nuts are grown in the mountains.