Flora

Flora of Mt. Aenos National Park

Viola cephalonica
Figure 1. The steno-endemic species Viola cephalonica thrives only at the higher peaks of Aenos National Park.

Pteridophyta and Spermatophyta are the main representatives of flora of Aenos National Park estimated to be 400 species. For other important big families, like Fungi, Lichens and Bryophytes on mount Aenos, a few information is known.

3 out of the 8 known endemic Cephalonian species and subspecies are exclusively endemic to Aenos National Park:

-Viola cephalonica Bornm.: it thrives at 1.500-1.600 m of altitude and grows in the cracks of limestone rocks, as well as in rocky positions. It's spread in the area of Chionistra, around the antennas (Figure 1).

-Scutellaria rupestris Boiss. & Heldr. subsp. cephalonica (Bornm.) Greuter & Burdet: it thrives at 1.500-1.600 m in rocky and limestone substrate.

-Ajuga orientalis subsp. aenesia (Heldr.) Phitos & Damboldt: it thrives at 400-1.600 m in limestone substrate.

Abies cephalonica
Figure 2. The endemic species of Abies cephalonica in Mt. Aenos National Park.

Except previously mentioned Aenos endemic species, there are also other endemic species of the Hellenic area.  Some of these species were discovered and first described in Kefalonia, so that in their official scientific name it was comprised the name of the island. In particular, these species were first recorded in mount Aenos, and comprise Erysimum cephalonicum Polatschek, Astragalus sempervivens subsp. cephalonicus (C.Presl) Ascherson & Graebner, Campanula garganica subsp. cephallenica (Feer) Hayek, Poa cephalonica H. Scholz, ecc. Later on, the aforementioned species were also recorded in other Greek areas. Abies cephalonica Loudon makes part of this category, and will be further described on mount Aenos vegetation (Figure 2).

Representative species of the characteristic flora of Aenos National Park in reference to flower location and month of flowering:

  • Abies cephalonica Loudon (family Pinaceae): Aenos, July
  • Acinos alpinus (L.) Moench (family Labiatae): Aenos, May
  • Adonis microcarpa DC. (family Ranunculaceae): Saint Gerasimos, April
  • Ajuga chamaepitys (L.) Schreber ssp. chia (Schreber)
  • Arcangeli (family Labiatae): Aenos, May
  • Ajuga orientalis L. ssp. aenesia (Heldr.) Phitos & Damboldt (family Labiatae): Aenos, May
  • Anemone blanda Schott & Kotschy (family Ranunculaceae): Roudi, April
  • Astragalus sempervirens Lam. ssp. cephalonicus (C.Presl)
  • Ascherson & Graebner (family Leguminosae): Aenos, May
  • Aubrieta deltoidea (L.) DC. (family Cruciferae): Aenos, May
  • Bellis perennis L. (family Compositae): Aenos, April
  • Campanula spatulata Sm. ssp. spruneriana (Hampe) Hayek (family Campanulacecae): Aenos, July
  • Cardamine graeca L.( family Cruciferae): Aenos, April
  • Cephalanthera damasonium (Miller) Druce (family Orchidaceae): Aenos, July
  • Cephalanthera rubra (L.) L.C.M. Richard (family Orchidaceae): Aenos, June
  • Cerastium illyricum Ard. ssp. illyricum (family Caryophyllaceae): Roudi, May
  • Colchicum cupanii Guss. (family Liliaceae): Roudi, October
  • Corydalis solida (L.) Swartz ssp. solida (family Papaveraceae): Aenos, May
  • Crepis fraasii Schultz Bip.( family Compositae): Aenos, June
  • Crupina crupinastrum (Moris) Vis. (family Compositae): Roudi, May 2000
  • Cyanus segetum Hill (family Compositae): Roudi, May
  • Erysimum cephalonicum Polatschek (family Cruciferae): Roudi, May
  • Erysimum cephalonicum Polatschek (family Cruciferae): Fagias, May
  • Fritillaria mutabilis Kamari (family Liliaceae): Aenos, April
  • Fritillaria messanensis Rafin. subsp. gracilis (Ebel)
  • Rix (family Liliaceae): Aenos & Roudi, April
  • Gagea cf. peduncularis (J. & C. Presl.) Pascher (family Liliaceae): Aenos, May 2000
  • Lamium garganicum L. ssp. striatum (Sm.) Hayek (family Labiatae): Aenos, May 1999
  • Lathyrus digitatus (Bieb.) Fiori (family Leguminosae): Roudi, May
  • Orchis pauciflora Ten. (family Orchidaceae): Αenos, Μay
  • Paeonia mascula (L.) Miller ssp. russi (Biv.) Cullen & Heywood (family Paeoniaceae): Aenos & Roudi, April (Figure 3)
Paeonia mascula subsp. russi
Figure 3. The rare Mediterranean species Paeonia mascula subsp. russoi from Mt. Aenos National Park flora.
  • Papaver rhoeas L. (Οικογ. Papaveraceae): AenosJune
  • Saporaria aenesia Heldr. (Οικογ. Caryophyllaceae): AenosMay
  • Saxifraga chrysosplenifolia Boiss. (Οικογ. Saxifragaceae): AenosJune
  •  Scutellaria rupestris Boiss. & Heldr. subsp. cephalonica (Bornm.) Greuter & Burdet: (ΟικογLabiatae): Aenos, June
  • Stachys parolinii Vis. (Οικογ. Labiatae): Fagias, May
  • Verbascum densiflorum Bertol. (Οικογ. Scrophulariaceae): Aenos, May
  • Veronica glauca Sm. ssp. peloponnesiaca (Boiss. & Orph.) Maire & Petit. (Οικογ. Scrophulariaceae): AenosMay
  • Viola cephalonica Bornm. (Οικογ. Violaceae): AenosMay
  • Viola odorata L. (Οικογ. Violaceae): AenosMarch

The Vegetation of Mt. Aenos National Park

Δάσος κεφαλληνιακής Ελάτης
Figue 4. Kefalonian fir forest at Melanitsa area, Aenos National Park.

 

The dominant type of Aenos National Park vegetation is the forest of kefalonian fir (Figure 4). Abies cephalonica confers considerable multiple values to Kefalonia where it was first described and got its name from. It is related to the history of the island and the scientific research because of the importance of Abies cephalonica forests thriving in an isolated small area. Because of its geographic isolation, Abies cephalonica has ensured its pure perpetuation in the “locus classicus”. Apart from Kefalonia, this species thrives to Peloponnese, Central Greece, Euboea, Thessaly and Epirus.

In Aenos National Park, Abies cephalonica grows in the northwest edges of mount Roudi, at 550 m of altitude, within the upper limit of macchie vegetation and reaches 1.600 m of altitude, near Aenos peak called Megas Soros. It’s outspread, in Roudi and Aenos main body, inconstant, but intermittent in the form of smaller or bigger clusters which are equally dense. The nudity of Aenos steep southwest slopes is impressive, and it is due to forest destruction from logging, overgrazing, fires and soil composition and inclination. In our days, apart from Abies cephalonica, no other forest species is observed in the National Park. In the saddle between Roudi and Aenos trees Quercus pubescens Willd grow individually or in clusters, descending to the east till 500 meters of altitude and below the road that starts from Saint Eleftherios direction Tsakarisianos, where population structure is still very dense. There is no doubt that in the past, the area was covered by an extended forest of the deciduous species Quercus pubescens.

Βλάστηση στο Όρος Ρούδι
Figure 5. Mt. Roudi of National park vegetation characterized by a mixture of Kefalonian fir and highly maqquis vegetation of evergreen broadleaved semi-arboreal species.

Consistent shrubby vegetation thrives from the municipal road linking Sami to Argostoli, in the north slopes of mount Roudi, spreading up to almost 750 m of altitude, forming the characteristic ecosystem of macquis vegetation (Figure 5). It consists of evergreen hard leaved shrubby or semi-arboreal species like: Pistacia lentiscus, Quercus coccifera, Quercus ilex, Phillyrea latifolia, Arbutus unedo, Arbutus adrachne, and a hybrid form of A. unedo and adrachne. From 700 m of altitude, this impenetrable vegetation gets gradually replaced first by the fir forest and then by small bushes of Quercus coccifera in the higher altitudes, where fir clusters are sparse or totally absent.