“If anything brings delight to the eyes of a botanist, it is that dark red terra-rossa soil formed from the weathering of limestone under a hot Mediterranean sun. It holds the promise of a rich array of orchids and wild flowers alike. North Cyprus could easily have invented terra-rossa. The craggy Kyrenia Mountains in North Cyprus, once the home of castles, kings and crusaders, offers 160kms of limestone habitats — at least half of it north facing. With all the right elements in place, it can hardly fail to produce an abundance of orchids and wild flowers.
There is no more enjoyable way to discover the flowers than stepping out along the mountain tracks and trails, exploring with our guide ‘Walk & Eat North Cyprus’. Late February visitors usually follow the lower trails to find Ophrys elegans and Orchis syriaca (Walk 1 in our guide ‘Walk & Eat North Cyprus’). By early March the season is advancing rapidly with many Ophrys species on show, Ophrys albanica, O. attica, O. umbilicata, O. lapethica, O. flavomarginata and the rare Orchis punctulata all just coming into flower (Walks 3, 4, 7 and 8). At higher altitude Orchis anatolica (Walks 4 and 7) is abundant where it occurs and now, in mid-season, one of the stars, the endemic Ophrys kotschy, is not difficult to find and is locally common in some areas. The mammosa group continue to tease with Ophrys mammosa suddenly replaced with the otherwise identical but much taller Ophrys hystera and the similar Ophrys morio. When Orchis sancta and Orchis coriophora (found on a number of walks) make an appearance in early May the orchid season is drawing to a close.”
For illustrations and more information on the orchids you’ll see when touring or walking in North Cyprus log on to http://www.thetravelmag.com/Orchids_of_north_cyprus.htm
Brian and Eileen Anderson (authors of the Sunflower ‘Landscapes’ guides to Algarve, Lesvos and Samos and the ‘Walk & Eat guides to North Cyprus, Kefalonia and Rhodes)