By virtue of its insular isolation during a period of over 2 million years Karpathos island exhibits a remarkable variety of rare and endemic species of flora, some of them of global importance. Perhaps due to landscape variations and limited human activities the great majority of these rare and endemic species occur in the northern part of the island.

To date in the Northern Karpathos – Saria region 87 species, regarded as endemics, rare or endangered have been recorded. A few of the Karpathos Kasos insular complex endemic species are: Cretan Birthwort (Aristolochia cretica), Carpathian Campanula (Campanula carpatha), Pinatzii Campanula (Campanula pinatzii), Carpathian Pink (Dianthus fruticosus ssp.  carpathus), Carpathian Wallflower (Erysimum candicum ssp. carpathum), Aegean Orchid (Ophrys aegaea), Common Sage (Phlomis pichleri) και Carpathian Coastal Campion (Silene ammophila ssp. carpathae).

Endemic species of the Cretan region (Karpathos, Kasos, Crete and adjacent islets) include: Aegean Knapweed (Centaurea raphanina ssp. raphanina), Cretan Hawksbeard (Crepis cretica), Mediterranean Currybush (Hypericum cuisinii), Cretan White Peony (Paeonia clusii ssp. clusii), Cretan Stonecrop (Sedum creticum & Sedum creticum monocarpicum), Everlasting Groundsel (Senecio gnaphaloides), Prickly Woundwort (Stachys mucronata), Autumn Daffodil (Sternbergia greuteriana), Little Germander (Teucrium gracile), a clover species (Trifolium praetermissum) and Cretan Valerian (Valeriana asarifolia).

The number of endemic species is probably underestimated, taking into account inaccessible sites that have not been studied rigorously enough.

Other important species, rare or endemic, that occur in the area are: Hawksbeard (Crepis fraasii), Tree Flax (Linum arboreum), a lomelosia species (Lomelosia variifolia), Bean Campion (Silene fabaria) and Holzman’s Silene (Silene holzmanii) which is included in the Annex ΙΙ of the 92/43/EEC Directive.

Phrygana – Shrubs

Phrygana and Mediterranean shrubs constitute the dominant vegetation of the protected area, with phrygana the single vegetation zone of the western part of northern Karpathos and the northern and western part of Saria. Typical species are: Mediterranean Dwarf-shrub (Sarcopoterium spinosum), Lampwick plants (Phlomis sp.), Conehead Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus), Greek Spiny Spurge (Euphorbia acanthothamnos), Cretan Cistus (Cistus creticus), Carpathian Statice (Limonium carpathum), Tree Spurge (Euphorbia dendroides), Phoenicean Juniper (Juniperus phoenicea)


Turkish pine forests of significant representativity and good conservation status extend along the eastern coast of northern Karpathos as well as the southern slopes of Saria. Areas covered by Turkish pines before the 1983 wildfire, that devastated a great part of the forest, are presenting signs of reforestation. The pineforest’s understory consists of shrubby species like Evergreen Pistache (Pistacia lentiscus), Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqua), Lycian Buckthorn (Rhamnus lycioides), Conehead Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) etc.