The ORCHIDCULTURE project team started the new year with visits to the field for the recording and photography of native orchids. The movements are made in small groups and observing the personal protection measures required by the weather.
Kefalonia and Ithaca are home to about 50 species and subspecies of native orchids. These orchids are found in a wide variety of habitats: Phrygana, macchia (tall and dense shrubs of arbutus, holly, etc.), fir forest, meadows, sand dunes. Orchids are also found in anthropogenic ecosystems such as cultivated fields and road edges (slopes and ditches). This important natural heritage is threatened by pressures such as overgrazing, arbitrary environmental interventions and climate change. The ORCHIDCULTURE project has two parts: initially the recording and promotion of native orchids in Kefalonia and Ithaca, in order to inform and raise awareness of residents and visitors. Then the development of methods for the proliferation of orchids in the laboratory, in order to preserve them.
During the months of January-February, the flowering of the orchids begins at the lowest altitudes. We visited macchia ecosystems, phrygana, meadows and olive groves. We immortalized some of the earliest species, such as Ophrys fusca subsp. iricolor and Ophrys sphegodes subsp. mammosa, the petite Neotinea lactea and Himantoglossum robertianum or moscholio as it is called in Kefalonia. We also found many rosettes of leaves, through which we soon expect the flowering stem to emerge.
The project “Registration and promotion of natural habitats and habitats and conservation of native orchids of Kefalonia with the aim of halting the loss of biodiversity” with the acronym ORCHIDCULTURE is implemented within the financial program “Natural Environment & Innovative Activities: Measure: “Innovative Actions with Citizens”, with a budget of € 50,000, funded by the Green Fund of the Ministry of Environment and Energy and beneficiaries the NGO “ARCHIPELAGOS – environment and development” and the Soil Laboratory of the Department of Science and Technology University.
The members of the project team (alphabetically): Aris Gerakis, Gwenaëlle Deconninck, Panagis Kavallieratos, Irini Katsalirou, Aliki Panou, Ursina Steinemann and Xenophon Halda.