Compiled by Chris Durdin, web editor for Flowers of Crete.

Chris runs Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays and often leads Honeyguide groups based at Plakias.

Also see:
Ten Cretan orchids
Ten rare plants of Crete
Ten common flowers of Crete

Other natural history

For identifying birds and butterflies, any Europe-wide book is fine.

Stephanie Coghlan’s A Birdwatching Guide to Crete (Arlequin) is the ideal ‘where to watch’ guide to Crete, and has much useful background information and checklists of birds, butterflies, reptiles & amphibians and mammals. It is currently out of print so may be tricky to obtain.

Mammals and reptiles & amphibians: Dorling Kindersley's Pocket Nature: Wild Animals, written by Honeyguide's Chris Gibson, is a light in weight but thorough book on Europe's mammals, amphibians and reptiles.  

Amphibians, Reptiles & Mammals of Crete by Anastasios Sakoulis (Mystis Editions) is a slim (72 pages) photographic guide available on Crete. Probably has more information than an occasional visitor to Crete will want, but valuable for residents or regular visitors.

Useful websites

Cretan flora: an ID web guide

Cretan flora through a macro lens (photo essay on Honeyguide)

Crete Bird Reports. Collated by Stephanie Coghlan.

More on vultures in Crete here.

www.cretewww.com is a website "dedicated to help record, conserve and promote the wildlife of Crete."

See also links on Flowers of Crete.


Flower books for Crete

For many years, botanists visiting Crete struggled with inadequate or incomplete field guides to help them identify wild flowers. That’s no longer true: the wild flower enthusiast on Crete is blessed with a fine range of books.

This web page is to help you choose what to buy in advance of a visit, or to try to pick up when on Crete.

Books above the line are widely available on Crete. Some books are available in several languages; check you’re picking up the right one for you! Books below the line are probably best bought or ordered elsewhere in Europe.

Wild Flowers of Crete by Vangelis Papiomitoglou (Mediterraneo editions)

If you are buying one book, this compact volume is the one to choose, whether you are an experienced botanist or a visitor to Crete with a casual interest in flowers.

With around 1700 plants on Crete to choose from, this book has a happy knack of having chosen the right ones to describe.

They are illustrated with colour photos, usually a helpful combination of the plant in its habitat and a close-up. Includes flowering times, distribution and symbols to show habitats.

One criticism: it has the same photo for Ophrys cretica and Ophrys (cretica) ariadnae, irritating even if you regard them as subspecies. I'm also uncertain if the Serapias orientalis photos are right.

Wild Flowers of Crete

Orchids of Crete & Dodecanese by Horst & Gisela Kretzschmar (Mediterraneo editions)

Wild Flowers of Crete (above) does have orchids, but this adds species, detail, more detailed maps and photos of hybrids.

Orchids of Crete and Karpathos The Orchids of Crete and Karpathos, written and published by Albertis Antonis, is another richly illustrated photoguide, though for most people one orchid book is enough!
The Flowers of Crete, text by Marina Clauser and photos by Andrea Innocenti (Bonechi), describes the island’s botanical communities and many species, illustrated with often stunning photos. Flowers of Crete

Wild Flowers of Crete and Trees and Shrubs of Crete by George Sfikas (Efstathiades Group) are also photoguides.

They have valuable information but have been superseded by more recent books.

Wild flower of Greece - George Sfikas

Books above are fairly widely available on Crete, though you'd be lucky to find them all in any one shop. Do check you have the right language version for you.


These books are probably best bought or ordered elsewhere in Europe.

Fielding & Turland


Flowers of Crete by John Fielding and Nicholas Turland is an expensive, literally very heavyweight but glorious book published by Kew (see here).

If ordering online beware that P&P can be expensive, but no doubt a local bookshop could order it. It would take a brave botanist to pack this in a suitcase, but it’s a book for any Crete enthusiast to enjoy at home.


Mediterranean Wild Flowers by Marjorie Blamey & Christopher Grey-Wilson. (Formerly Collins, then HarperCollins, now Domino Guides published by A & C Black where it's the same book but renamed as Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean).

This is the best flower book for the Mediterranean as a whole. Covering such a wide area it does have limitations, such as some Cretan endemics. Orchids are not so well covered and are often out of date on taxonomy, Ophrys species especially.


Blamey & Grey-Wilson

Other references include Flowers of Greece and the Balkans by Oleg Polunin (Oxford); and the two-volume Flowers of Greece by T Lanfranchis and G Sfikas, which is pricey but excellent and surprisingly compact, and includes CDs of additional photos.

The making of the Cretan landscape - Rackham & Moody


The Making of the Cretan Landscape by Oliver Rackham and Jennifer Moody (Manchester University Press) helps us understand what has shaped Crete’s landscape, which is just as fascinating as its archaeology.

Flower books for Crete
Content © Flowers of Crete
design by etherscape