Flowers of Greece

flowers-in-greeceGreece  is home to a multitude of flowers, both domestic and endemic, that add color and fragrance to the Mediterranean basin. Among the domestic flowers, the poppy (Papaver rhoeas) is widespread, particularly known for its bright red blooms that cover the fields in spring. The anemone (Anemone coronaria), with its vivid blue, red, and white flowers, is also prevalent and has been celebrated in Greek mythology and art.

Endemic species are particularly fascinating due to their unique presence in the region. For example, the Cretan tulip (Tulipa cretica) and the Rhodes lily (Lilium rhodium) are found only in specific areas within Greece, mostly in isolated mountainous and island locations, contributing to the local biodiversity and charm.

Greek flora also includes several species of orchids, which are especially abundant in Crete. Among them, the Ophrys cretica and Ophrys tenthredinifera stand out for their distinctive appearances, evolved to attract specific pollinators through mimicry.

The Campanula of Crete (Campanula cretica) is another beautiful endemic flower, showcasing delicate blue to purple bell-shaped flowers. These are adapted to the high-altitude environment and rocky soils of the island.

Moreover, the ironwort (Sideritis syriaca), or “mountain tea,” which is found throughout the mainland and the Peloponnese, is notable not only for its pretty yellow flowers but also for its use in traditional herbal medicine, believed to have multiple health benefits.

In addition to these, the flora of Greece includes numerous aromatic plants such as lavender and jasmine, adding fragrant notes to the Greek countryside and being used in everything from culinary recipes to essential oils.

The Greek flora, rich with a variety of domestic and endemic flowering plants, plays a crucial role in the ecosystems where they occur and forms an integral part of the cultural and natural heritage of the country.

Most common flowers in Greece


BougainvilleaBougainvillea, also known as “Vrachokipos” in Greek, is a popular and beloved flower in Greece. It is a fast-growing perennial vine that can be found in almost every corner of the country, from private gardens to public spaces and even along the streets.

One of the reasons why bougainvillea is so cherished in Greece is its vibrant and eye-catching colors. The most common shades are shades of pink, purple, red, and orange. These hues are often seen adorning the whitewashed walls of traditional Greek houses or cascading over balconies and pergolas.

The name bougainvillea comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French navigator who discovered this flower during his voyage to South America. It was later introduced to Europe by botanist Philibert Commerson, who accompanied Bougainville on his journey.

Apart from its aesthetic appeal, bougainvillea has a rich history and symbolism in Greek culture. In ancient times, it was believed that this flower had magical powers that could ward off evil spirits. As such, it was often planted near entrances or hung above doors for protection.

Bougainvillea is also associated with love and passion in Greek mythology. Legend has it that the goddess Aphrodite used to wear bougainvillea flowers as crowns or adornments to enhance her beauty. This belief has carried on through generations and many Greeks still consider these flowers as symbols of love and romance.

In addition to its cultural significance, bougainvillea also holds practical uses in Greece. Its thorny branches make it an excellent natural fence or barrier against unwanted visitors such as animals or trespassers. Moreover, its thick foliage provides shade during hot summer days.

Caring for bougainvillea requires minimal effort as they thrive well in warm climates with plenty of sunlight. They are relatively drought-resistant but do require regular watering in dry spells. In terms of soil, bougainvillea prefers well-drained and slightly acidic soil.

Bougainvillea is a beloved flower in Greece for its vibrant colors, cultural significance, and practical uses. Its presence adds a touch of beauty to the already picturesque landscapes of Greece. Whether you are strolling through the streets or relaxing in a garden, you will surely come across this charming and iconic flower during your visit to Greece.


rosesRoses are one of the most beloved and widely recognized flowers in Greece. With their delicate petals, captivating fragrance, and vibrant colors, it is no wonder that they have become an iconic symbol of love and beauty.

In Greece, roses have a rich history dating back to ancient times. The Greeks believed that the rose was created by Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. They were also associated with other gods such as Dionysus, the god of wine, and Eros, the god of love. It is no surprise then that roses hold a special place in Greek culture and have been used for various purposes throughout the centuries.

One of the most popular uses for roses in Greece is for ornamental purposes. They can be found adorning balconies, gardens, courtyards, and even public spaces such as parks and squares. In fact, many Greek cities have designated areas dedicated solely to growing different varieties of roses.

Apart from their decorative value, roses also play a significant role in traditional Greek weddings. They are commonly used in bridal bouquets or incorporated into floral arrangements at wedding ceremonies. Similarly, on Valentine’s Day or anniversaries, it is not uncommon to see couples exchanging bouquets of red roses as a symbol of their love.


oleanderOleander, also known as Nerium oleander, is a popular domestic flower in Greece that has been admired for its beauty and symbolic significance for centuries. This evergreen shrub belongs to the dogbane family and can be found throughout the Mediterranean region, including Greece.

Appearance-wise, Oleander is a striking plant with glossy green leaves and clusters of showy flowers in shades of white, pink, red, and yellow. The blooms have a delicate fragrance that adds to their appeal. It typically grows up to 10 feet tall but can reach heights of up to 20 feet under ideal conditions.

One of the reasons why oleander is so popular in Greece is because it thrives in warm climates with plenty of sunlight. Its versatility makes it suitable for both outdoor gardens and indoor potted plants. In Greek mythology, this flower is associated with Apollo, the god of music and poetry, making it an essential part of ancient culture.

Apart from its cultural significance, oleander also holds medicinal value as its leaves contain toxins that have been used for various purposes. In ancient times, these toxins were extracted and used as poison on arrows during battles. However, they were also utilized medicinally to treat ailments like malaria and heart disease.

In modern times, oleander extract has been studied extensively for its potential use in cancer treatment due to its ability to inhibit tumor growth. While there are promising results from these studies, it’s important to note that ingestion or contact with any part of the plant can be toxic if not handled properly.

Despite its medicinal properties being widely recognized around the world now, oleander still remains a beloved ornamental plant in Greece with many beautiful varieties available. Some popular cultivars include ‘Petite Salmon’, ‘Mrs Roeding’, ‘Hardy Pink’, and ‘White Swan’.

In terms of care requirements for Oleander plants in Greece’s climate, they are relatively low-maintenance once established but require regular watering and fertilization during the growing season. They also benefit from pruning to maintain their shape and promote new growth.

Oleander holds a special place in Greek culture and is a must-have for any garden or home in this beautiful country. Its stunning appearance, cultural symbolism, and medicinal properties make it a truly unique and cherished domestic flower in Greece.


jasmineJasmine, also known as “the queen of the night”, is a highly popular flower in Greece. With its delicate white blooms and sweet fragrance, it has been a beloved domestic flower for centuries.

The jasmine plant, scientifically known as Jasminum officinale, is native to Asia and was brought to Greece by Persian traders. It quickly became integrated into Greek culture and has since become one of the most cherished flowers in the country.

In Greek mythology, jasmine is associated with love and beauty. According to legend, Aphrodite – the goddess of love – often wore jasmine flowers in her hair. This romantic association has made jasmine a traditional flower used in weddings and other special occasions.

In addition to its symbolism of love and beauty, jasmine also holds medicinal properties. Its essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy for its calming effects on both the mind and body. In ancient times, Greeks would infuse hot water with fresh jasmine petals to create a soothing tea for relaxation.

One of the reasons why jasmine remains so popular in Greece is due to its versatility. It can be grown as a shrub or vine and thrives well in both outdoor gardens and indoor pots. The evergreen nature of this plant also means that it can bloom all year round.

Jasmine plants require plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. They are relatively low maintenance but do need regular pruning to prevent them from becoming too leggy. In late spring or early summer, they produce clusters of small white flowers that emit a strong yet pleasant scent.

Aside from being used for decoration or medicinal purposes, jasmine also plays an integral role in Greek cuisine. The blossoms are often dried or infused into oils for flavoring desserts such as rice pudding or ice cream. Some traditional liqueurs like Rakomelo also use jasmine flowers as one of their key ingredients.

Whether you come across it while exploring charming villages or stroll through beautiful gardens, jasmine is a staple in Greek culture and will continue to be one of the most beloved domestic flowers in the country for years to come. Its delicate beauty, sweet fragrance, and many uses make it a truly cherished flower among Greeks and visitors alike.


lavenderLavender, also known as Lavandula angustifolia, is a perennial flowering plant that is highly popular in Greece. It is a member of the mint family and has been widely used for centuries for its medicinal, culinary, and aromatic properties.

Lavender plants are characterized by their slender stems with narrow leaves that range from gray-green to silvery-green in color. The flowers themselves are small and delicate, with a distinct deep purple color that gives off a strong fragrance.

In Greece, lavender is mainly grown in the regions of Peloponnese and Crete. It thrives in sunny and dry conditions, making it well-suited to the Mediterranean climate. These plants prefer well-drained soil with low fertility levels and do not require much watering or fertilization.

Lavender has long been used for its therapeutic properties. In ancient Greece, it was believed to have healing abilities for ailments such as insomnia, digestive issues, headaches, and insect bites. To this day, it is still used in traditional medicine practices for its calming effects on the body and mind.

Aside from its medicinal uses, lavender also holds great importance in Greek cuisine. The flowers are commonly used as flavoring or garnish in dishes like desserts and salads. The dried buds can also be brewed into tea or added to olive oil for a fragrant infusion.

Due to its distinct scent, lavender is highly sought after by the fragrance industry. Its essential oils are extracted through steam distillation from the flowers’ buds and are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, candles,and other scented products.

In Greek mythology,lavender was associated with Hestia,the goddess of hearth and home.As such,it became symbolic of domestic happiness,warmth,and love.It was often used during ancient weddings as part of bridal bouquets or scattered around the wedding venue to bring good luck and blessings to the newlyweds.

Lavender is deeply ingrained in Greek culture, with many traditions and customs revolving around it. In the village of Vrontados on Chios island, there is an annual festival called “Lavenderia” where locals celebrate the blooming of lavender fields with music, dancing,and traditional food. It is also a common practice for Greek households to hang dried lavender bundles in their homes for its pleasant aroma and believed protection against evil spirits.

Lavender holds a special place in Greek culture and has been cherished for centuries. Its versatility as a culinary herb, medicinal plant, fragrance ingredient,and symbol of love and happiness makes it one of the most beloved domestic flowers in Greece. Next time you visit Greece,don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the beautiful sight and scent of these purple flowers scattered across the countryside.


hyacinthHyacinths are a beautiful and popular domestic flower in Greece, known for their delicate blooms and sweet fragrance. These flowers belong to the genus Hyacinthus and are native to the eastern Mediterranean region. They have been cultivated in Greece for centuries and hold significant cultural and symbolic value.

Appearance-wise, hyacinths have dense clusters of bell-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors such as white, pink, purple, blue, and yellow. The blooms also have a distinctive starry shape with six petals fused at the base forming a tubular structure. The leaves are long and narrow, growing from the bottom of the stem in a fan-like pattern.

In Greek mythology, hyacinths are associated with Apollo, god of music and poetry. According to legend, Apollo accidentally killed his friend Hyacinth while playing discus. From Hyacinth’s blood sprouted a beautiful flower bearing his name as an eternal symbol of love and friendship. This myth also explains why the petals on some hyacinths have markings resembling letters H-A-I or A-I (in Greek), representing both Apollo’s grief for his lost friend and the beauty of their bond.

Aside from its mythological significance, hyacinths also hold religious importance in Greece. They are commonly used during Easter celebrations as decorations symbolizing rebirth and new beginnings.

Culturally, hyacinths play a role in traditional Greek weddings where they represent happiness and prosperity for the newlyweds’ future life together. In some regions of Greece, it is customary for brides to wear garlands made from fresh hyacinth blooms during wedding ceremonies.

In terms of cultivation, hyacinths are relatively easy to grow as they thrive in well-drained soil with regular watering but not too much direct sunlight. They can be grown both indoors or outdoors depending on personal preference but require cooler temperatures to bloom successfully.

Hyacinths are not only visually appealing but also offer a wide range of uses. The fragrant flowers are often used to make perfumes and essential oils, while the bulbs have been used in traditional medicine for their antispasmodic and diuretic properties.

Hyacinths are more than just beautiful flowers in Greece; they hold significant cultural, symbolic, and practical value. From mythology to weddings, these blooms have become an integral part of Greek culture and continue to enchant people with their charm and fragrance.


liliesLilies come in a variety of colors such as white, yellow, pink, red, orange, and purple. Each color holds its own meaning and symbolism. For example, white lilies are associated with purity and innocence while yellow lilies represent happiness and prosperity. Red lilies symbolize passion and love while pink lilies are often given as a sign of admiration or appreciation.

There are several types of lily flowers that can be found in Greece. The most common type is the Easter Lily or Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), which is native to the eastern Mediterranean region including Greece. It blooms during springtime around Easter hence its name “Easter Lily.” Its pure white petals create a striking contrast against its dark green leaves making it a favorite among florists for bouquets.

Another popular type is the Stargazer Lily (Lilium oriental) which is known for its large bloom size and intense fragrance. It has bright pink petals with speckles on them resembling stars hence its name “Stargazer.” These stunning flowers are widely used in weddings or special occasions to add beauty and elegance to any setting.


popiesPoppies, are some of the most recognizable and beloved flowers in Greece. These vibrant red blooms with their distinctive black centers can be found growing in fields and meadows throughout the country during springtime. In this section, we will delve into the history, symbolism, and cultivation of poppies in Greece.

Poppies are relatively easy to grow in Greece due to its warm Mediterranean climate. They prefer full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade as well. The best time to sow their seeds is during late winter or early spring when temperatures have started to rise. Poppies thrive in well-drained soil that is not too rich in nutrients.

One interesting fact about poppies is that they require disturbance or damage to germinate properly. This is why you often see them growing wild in areas where the ground has been disturbed by plowing or construction work.

Apart from being used as ornamental plants for their beauty and symbolism, poppies also have various practical uses. Their seeds are used for making oil which has nutritional benefits such as lowering cholesterol levels and improving heart health. Poppies also produce opium which has been used medicinally for pain relief and as a sedative.


daisiesDaisies (Margarites), hold a special place in Greek culture and are often seen decorating gardens, balconies, and even traditional costumes.
Originating from the Mediterranean region, Daisies have been a part of Greek history for centuries. The name “Margarites” comes from the Greek word “margaron,” meaning pearl. This is a fitting name for these delicate flowers with their white or yellow petals resembling tiny pearls.

In Ancient Greece, Daisies were associated with the goddess Aphrodite, who was believed to be born from the foam of the sea. The vibrant colors and delicate beauty of these flowers inspired many poets and artists to incorporate them into their works as symbols of love, purity, and innocence.

Today, Daisies are widely grown in domestic gardens all over Greece due to their versatility and resilience. These flowers come in various colors such as white, yellow, pink, red and orange making them perfect for adding pops of color to any garden or floral arrangement.

One popular typeis the Cretan daisy (Bellis perennis), also known as “asteraki.” These small but hardy flowers thrive in both sunny and shady areas making them ideal for planting under trees or along borders. They bloom throughout spring and summer with gorgeous white petals surrounding a bright yellow center.

Another favorite among Greeks is the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) which can be found growing wild in meadows across Greece. Its large white petals with a striking yellow center give off a sweet honey-like scent that attracts bees and butterflies. It has long been used by herbalists for its medicinal properties such as treating respiratory infections


chrysanthemumChrysanthemum, also known as “Chrysanthemo” in Greece, are one of the most popular domestic flowers in the country. These beautiful flowers have been cultivated for centuries and hold significant cultural and symbolic value in Greek society.

Originating from China, chrysanthemums were introduced to Greece by the Byzantine Empire during their trade expeditions with Asia. They quickly became a favorite among Greek gardeners due to their vibrant colors and hardiness.

One of the main reasons for the popularity of chrysanthemums in Greece is their long blooming season. These flowers can bloom from early summer until late autumn, making them a staple in gardens and flower beds throughout the country. They come in various shades such as yellow, white, pink, purple, and red, adding a burst of color to any landscape.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, chrysanthemums also hold great symbolism in Greek culture. In ancient times, they were associated with joy and happiness due to their vibrant colors. The name “chrysanthemum” itself comes from the Greek words “chryso,” meaning golden, and “anthemon,” meaning flower. This reflects its significance as a symbol of wealth and prosperity.

Flower’s role in Greek Mythology

Flowers have played a significant role in Greek mythology, often representing gods, goddesses, and other mythical figures. These flowers hold deep symbolism and are connected to various stories and beliefs in ancient Greece. In this section, we will explore some fun facts about the roles of different flowers in Greek mythology.

Iris in Greek mythology, the iris was known as the messenger of the gods. It was believed that this flower carried messages between heaven and earth. According to legend, Iris would use rainbows as a bridge to travel from one place to another.

The rose was closely associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. Legend has it that when Aphrodite’s lover Adonis died, she cried tears of blood which turned into red roses. This is why red roses symbolize passionate love in Greek culture.

The lily is considered sacred to Hera, the queen of all gods in Greek mythology. According to legend, when Zeus created Hera’s milk with drops falling from the Milky Way, some drops fell on earth and turned into lilies.

The hyacinth flower holds a tragic story in Greek mythology. It is said that Apollo accidentally killed his beloved Hyacinthus while playing discus with him. From Hyacinthus’s blood sprouted a beautiful purple flower bearing his name.

According to myth, Narcissus was a handsome young man who rejected all his admirers including Echo who then pined away until only her voice remained. As punishment for his prideful ways, Nemesis – the goddess of divine justice- cursed Narcissus by making him fall deeply in love with his own reflection on a pond where he eventually drowned himself. From where he died emerged the yellow Narcissus flower which still bends its head towards water.

The poppy flower has been associated with Demeter, the goddess of fertility and agriculture. Legend has it that Demeter’s daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. In her grief, Demeter caused all crops to wither until Zeus intervened and allowed Persephone to return for six months each year. The poppy flower is said to have grown in the fields where Persephone walked during her time on earth.

Flower’s symbolism and uses in traditional Greek ceremonies and customs

The use of flowers in various ceremonies and customs is deeply rooted in Greek traditions. Flowers have been an integral part of Greek culture for centuries, with each bloom holding a special meaning and significance. In this section, we will explore the symbolism and uses of some of the most popular domestic flowers in traditional Greek ceremonies and customs.

Olive branches – The olive tree is considered sacred in Greece, symbolizing peace, wisdom, prosperity, and fertility. Olive branches are commonly used as decorations during weddings and christenings to bless the newlyweds or babies with these virtues. They are also seen adorning houses during Easter celebrations as a symbol of new beginnings.

Orange blossoms – These delicate white blooms hold great significance in Greek weddings as they represent purity, innocence, and eternal love. Brides often wear crowns made from orange blossoms on their wedding day to symbolize the start of a new life with their partner.

Rosemary – This herbaceous plant is widely known for its healing properties and has long been associated with love and remembrance. In Greek funerals, sprigs of rosemary are placed on the casket or grave as a final farewell to the departed loved one.

Carnations – These vibrant blooms are often seen at festivals and celebrations across Greece due to their symbolic representation of joy, happiness, and good luck. They are also given as gifts on Mother’s Day to show appreciation for maternal love.

Laurel wreaths – In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were worn by winners at athletic games like the Olympics as a sign of victory and honor. Today, they are still used in ceremonial occasions such as graduation ceremonies or military events to acknowledge achievements.