A Biologist's View of Greece
Dr. Ingram- This trip has provided us a wonderful opportunity to explore the Mediterranean flora. The olives, which were obviously incredibly important to the Minoans we’re studying, are flowering now, and tiny olive fruits are beginning to set on some of the trees. Grapes are another crucial crop that are still grown all over these islands. It’s wonderful to see these plants alongside the implements the Minoans used to process them—it’s a reminder of how many things stay the same despite the centuries that have passed.
I think my favorite plant site so far was Kavousi—the late afternoon air was filled with the scent of the abundant sage, which was growing alongside thyme and chamomile. It’s a reminder of the fact that this region was the original source of so many of our common culinary herbs.
Probably the most unusual botanizing so far was today when we took a boat to the volcano. It’s amazing how quickly plants can find a little bit of soil in this harsh environment—the rocky slopes that looked barren from the views atop the caldera are actually covered in odd little plants and beautiful orange lichens…until the next eruption covers them all in fresh lava!