Cretan Flora


Cretan Zelkova
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Cretan zelkova (Greek: Anegnoro or Ampelitsa) (scient. Zelkova abelicea) is an endemic bush or small tree of Crete as high as 3-5 meters. It constitutes a unique species of the genre Zelkova, of the family Ulmaceae and is characterized as a living fossil. It took the name "Anegnoro" (i.e. unknown) because when it was discovered, nobody knew its species.

Its leaves are about 2,5 centimeters long, oval with 7-9 teeth. It has small, white and aromatic flowers. Its drupe is silk cotton. It grows in the mountainous zone from 850 to 1800 meters, in all main ranges of Crete.

Though the species was threatened by urbanization (habitat loss), overgrazing and wildfires, recent fieldwork seems to show that Zelkova abelicea is becoming more abundant. It is not threatened with extinction, though remains vulnerable.

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