Animals & Plants in Greece

By Atanacia Franco
landscape of greece image by ronnydee from Fotolia.com

Greece has much to offer besides its stunning history and breathtaking coastal areas. Greece has over 900 different species of wildlife and over 5,000 species of flora within its borders. Over Greece's glamorous history, many plants have been introduced to Greece and have become a recognized part of Greece's landscape. Many plants are rooted deep in Greek mythology. Greece also hosts some of Europe's largest and scariest animals--both on land and in the sea.

Land Animals

In the Findus Mountains, located in western Greece, brown bears roam. These bears are the largest carnivorous mammal in mainland Europe. The Eurasian lynx and the western roe deer call Greece's mountainous regions home. In the south, the wild boar and brown hare can still be found. The golden jackal and the western European hedgehog also live in the south.

Large Aquatic Animals

Greece is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and has thousands of islands within its borders. The Monk Seal and the Mediterranean sea turtle are listed on Greece's endangered species list. A number of sharks also live in Greece's coastal waters. These species include the Hammerhead shark, Blue Shark, and the Great White Shark.

Birds

The Minvera owl is considered a symbol of Athena, who had the city of Athens dedicated to her. This bird is depicted on the 1 Euro coin. The Pilgrim Falcon and the Upupa Epops birds inhabit the mountainous and forested areas. The pelican, stork, and the egretta birds love the copious amounts of coastal and lake areas.

Trees

Greece has had many trees imported and established over the time it has been involved in world trade and conquest. The olive and carob trees are established in Greece now, but were originally from Africa and the Middle East. The pomegranate and laurel trees have a presence in Greek mythology and sporting tradition. The mastic tree was used as a glue, embalming material, and even to fill cavities.

Flowers

Many of the flowers that grow in Greece's countryside are connected to Greek folklore and history. The hyacinth flower, which clings to Greece's rockier areas, was created by the blood of Hyacinthus, a lover of Apollo, a Greek god. Daffodils--which thrive in rocky, arid areas--were seen as symbols of death and reputedly covered Hades, the god of the underworld. Orchids, cliff roses, and Christ's thorn are all flowers that thrive in Greece's rocky and dry areas.

About the Author

Atanacia Franco is a graduate of Brigham Young University's Middle Eastern studies/Arabic program and The George Washington University's MPA program. She has also studied Arabic at the University of Jordan. She has published on a variety of topics ranging from the American Southwest to Egypt's tourism.