The fact that Karpathos has been geologicaly isolated for over 2.000.000 years, has resulted in the presence of a large number of rare and endemic species in the Protected Area, which can not be found elsewhere. Up-to-date 87 important species have been recorded, since they are either endemic, rare or endangered. Eight of them are local endemic species of the Karpathos – Kasos island complex and 10 are endemic of the Cretan region (Karpathos, Kasos Crete, and surrounding islets). Furthermore the area includes 18 different habitat types, which are included in the European Union’s Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC, in excellent condition.

Chasmophytic vegetation – Mediterranean shrubs.

The highly endemic chasmophytic vegetation is mostly found in rocky areas, steep gorges and screes. Common species are Shrubby Ptilostemon (Ptilostemon chamaepeuce) and the endemic Hirtellina fruticosa. The Mediterranean shrubs are the most widespread type of vegetation in the area, including numerous endemic and rare species. The tree spurge (Euphorbia dendroides), along with the phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea) are mostly common in higher altitude
shrubs. In phrygana common species are the
Euphorbia acanthothamnus, and the endemic germanders (Teucrium gracile).

The aero- and halophytic vegetation, distributed along coastal rocks and throughout the length of the islands’ coastline, is characterised by rare and endemic species like Karpathos’s limonium (Limonium carpathum) and the white beancaper (Zygophyllum album). Lastly there are species that are related to the widespread traditional cultivation methods in small hill terraces, such as the Lusitanian woad (Isatis lusitanica), the Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia cretica) and Orchis sancta.


Pine forests.

Turkish pine forests (Pinus brutia) in good condition are common in the eastern slopes of N. Karpathos, as well as in the southern and eastern slopes of Saria. The understory of the pine forests consists mostly of shrub species such as lendisks (Pistacia lentiscus), St. Johns breads (Ceratonia siliqua), backthorns (Rhamnus lycioides ssp. οleoides), but also smaller shrubs are present like rockroses (Cistus spp.) and conehead thymes (Coridothymus capitatus).


Other important species.

The Protected Area of Karpathos-Saria hosts many more rare and endemic flora species such as: Karpathos bellflowers (Campanula carpatha), Pinatzi’s bellfowers (Campanula pinatzii), Clusi’s peonies (Paeonia clusii), pinks (Dianthus fruticosus spp. carpathus), wallflowers (Erysimum candicum spp. carpathum), Lomelosia variifolia, aegean orchids (Ophrys aegaea), sages (Phlomis pichleri), sand silenes (Silene ammophila spp. carpathae) and Holzman’s silenes (Silene holzmanii), the latter included in Annex II of the European Union’s Directive 92/43/EEC.