A walk of getting acquainted with the plants of Andros Island

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The participants of the excursion organized by the teams of LIFE Andros Park and volunteers of Andros Routes at the area of Arni and Remata on Saturday 11th of May for the observation of wild flowers of Andros Island, made many and interesting findings.

41 walkers participated, with the youngest being just 2 years old, all of them permanent and seasonal residents from all corners of the island. Although the route was quite tedious, the wonderful weather, the interest of the participants and the interesting findings, rewarded those who decided to dedicate that Saturday morning to the acquaintance with the nature of Andros.

The guided tour was given by Dr. Panagiotis Trigas and Dr. Elias Polemis of the Agricultural University of Athens. A brief introduction on the two LIFE projects implemented on the island (LIFE Andros Park, LIFE Terracescape), as well as the voluntary effort of Andros Routes, which in recent years has cleared, marked and maintained a network of 180 km of hiking routes all over the island. The excursion started from the bridge at Remata, along which the group walked upwards along the marked routes 13, in one of Andros’ alder forests. There, the group was informed of the particularity and importance of the alder forests of Andros, which are the southernmost of Europe and of the catastrophic floods of 2012 – a consequence of torrential rains and previous extensive wildfires on the adjacent slopes – which resulted in the deforestation of the riparian alluvial alder forests at a considerable length along the streams at Lefka and Vori. The importance of the relationship between mushrooms and trees for the preservation of the forest was highlighted. Ascending to Arni along the marked routes 11, various species of plants and mushrooms were discovered and presented. After a break at the church of Panagia in Arni, part of the group continued, following the marked circular route at Arni.

Almost all tree species of the riparian vegetation of the island were found along this route, while near Remata village alders dominated along with planes. Descending to Arni, the team walked in a beautiful forest with oaks, kermes oaks, maples, terebinths (“tserouvies” in the local dialect) and other typical Mediterranean trees and shrubs. Beautifully blooming wildflowers, such as Ornithogalum nutans, Campanula spathulata, Legousia speculum-veneris and Hypericum perfoliatum adorned the forest openings. Although the purpose of the excursion was the observation of plants and the season does not favor mushrooms, the participants were fortunate to see some representatives of the kingdom fungi, such as a puffball (mushroom of the genus Bovista), a bracket fungus on a kermes oak (Fuscoporia torulosa) and a basket stinkhorn (Clathrus ruber).

We are looking forward to organize another excursion, in order to get acquainted with the mushrooms of Andros in the autumn, which we wish to be sufficiently rainy!