Prespa: A Journey from Home pt. 4

The presence of limestone and granite in Prespa’s single, mountainous watershed means that plants that prefer one or the other as their dwelling ground can both find a home here, from delicate mountain violas to towering lizard orchids.
On the Greek side of the lakes basin alone, over 1,800 species of plants have been recorded. Crocuses are amongst the first to open in late winter, bearing spring upwards through old leaves and the pale, fallen grasses of a passed summer.
Wild narcissus – the poet’s daffodil – lends the green of May a crown of white. Surviving in a few remnant patches where an older ecosystem of marsh and floodplain has been largely converted to agriculture, they’re the meadow-memories of an earlier age.
Wild tulips cast light on the sub-alpine meadows in summer, as if fragments of a scattered sun.
And perhaps the strangest and most extraordinary of Prespa’s plants: Phelypaea boissieri. Velvety in texture and parasitic on other plant species, it is found on a single mountain meadow in the basin and is one of Europe’s rarest wildflowers. Another of the region’s floral riches.
Last week restrictions on movement were eased here in Greece and yesterday I hiked up to see the Phelypaea boissieri in all their spring splendour, bringing us full circle on this #journeyfromhome during lockdown, when I’ve been revisiting places and wild species where I live through memory and archive photos. In case of interest, please see parts one, two and three. If, for any reason, lockdown is imposed again to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 then I’ll pick up this journey from here. Stay well, everyone.

8 thoughts on “Prespa: A Journey from Home pt. 4

    1. That’s very generous of you to say, Alan – thanks very much. It’s been a real pleasure thinking about travel in a different way, so I’m delighted you’ve enjoyed the posts. All the best to you and stay safe.

  1. “Wild narcissus … they’re the meadow-memories of an earlier age.”
    Nice thought / phrase !! The lady’s smock (Cardamine pratensis) on my lawn are meadow-memories of the old Brome Park surrounding my place, now under the plough. Perhaps also ditto other plants like spotted orchid and common sorrel.
    Keep up the good work. Keep safe.
    Tim

    1. Thanks ever so much, Tim. I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed this virtual journey. That’s really interesting about the lady’s smock, as well as potentially the spotted orchid and sorrel. How many places, I wonder, hang on to these relics in some way? How many mementoes are noticed and nurtured in remnant corners of the land? There must be a whole ecological history to be told through these survivors.

      Stay safe and wishing you all the best,
      Julian

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