Cretan Tulips


Rocky Tulip
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The rocky tulip (Tulipa saxatilis) is a rare species of tulip scattered around Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes and southern Turkey. There is also the endemic rocky tulip of Baker (Tulipa saxatilis subsp. bakeri), that was initially separated from the saxatilis species, but in 2009 was reconsidered as a subspecies of saxatilis.

Tulipa saxatilis differs from Tulipa saxatilis subsp. bakeri in the color of the anthers, which are brownish. The only real difference between them is that Baker's tulip grows at higher altitudes (700-2200m), compared to Tulipa saxatilis (0-900m).

The rocky tulips grow on rocky slopes, crevices of calcareous cliffs, cultivated, fallow fields, and flat clayey areas. In Crete, the largest colonies can be found in the plateaus of White Mountains and the Dikti Range.

The flowers start appearing from March through to April. They are dark pink and have a beautiful yellow center.

At the plateau of Omalos at Lefka Ori we meet the largest colony of the Tulipa bakeri, giving an impressive color to the plateau reminding of a purple carpet. The habitat of tulips occupies several acres clogged with wire so as to protect them from goats. They grow mainly in the southern part of the plateau before entering the gorge Samaria and some large populations are located at the point where the road of Omalos meets the road heading to Kallergis shelter.

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