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Gifted with innumerable species of edible and aromatic plants, the land of Amari is full of natural treasures, different every season of the year. Herbs, aromatic plants, mushrooms, roots and even flowers in a feast of colors, flavors, and aromas. Come and discover them while walking in nature or taste them in one of the hospitable taverns of our village.
                                                                     Text: Vangelis Fytros

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The Cretan mountain tea, the endemic plant that grows only on the mountains of Crete; Lefka Ori and Psiloritis. With an intense aroma and sweet taste accompanies almost every "vrastari" (= traditional herbal tea). Pharmaceutically useful against colds, stomach, and respiratory diseases.

Uses: Decoction, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Alpine zone in large meadows

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Shrub of low height, found between the semi-mountainous and the mountainous zone with durable upright stems and intense aroma. Extremely important honeydew-plant from which the excellent quality thyme-honey is produced.

Uses: Decoction, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous and mountainous zone

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Also known in Crete as "Erontas" because of its intoxicating aroma that forced many to risk their own lives by climbing steep cliffs to collect it. Atitamos, as it is known in Amari, is an endemic plant of Crete, while its medical use has been known since the Minoan era. It is a hard-to-find plant, one of the most important honeydew sources, especially known for its soothing action against pain.

Uses: Decoction, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Mountain zone on steep slopes

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Also known as “valsamo” since antiquity, spathochorto is a perennial herbaceous plant with multiple medicinal uses. Through extraction with various vegetable oils, the well-known in our province, spatholado is prepared, with healing and soothing effects.

Uses: Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous zone - Wide distribution

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Also known as the "herb of immortality" for the Latinos with a variety of uses from medicine to gastronomy. It is a perennial shrub that grows in dry and stony places. More special, the mountain faskomilo plant, with a curlier look and an even more intense aroma.

Uses: Decoction, Pharmaceutical, Gastronomic

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous and mountainous zone

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Famous aromatic herbaceous plant which is primarily used as a spice. With a rich and intoxicating aroma, the wild oregano can fascinate even the strictest judge. In addition to gastronomy, it has many medicinal uses as its best-known antidiarrheal action.

Uses: Gastronomic, Decoction, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous zone in large groups

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With a strong aroma reminiscent of something between oregano and thyme, throumbi (or thrimba) has been known since antiquity for its soothing effects on the digestive system and was even used as a disinfectant due to its antimicrobial action. Today its use in gastronomy is widespread worldwide.

Uses: Gastronomic, Decoction, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous and mountainous zone in large groups

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Wild marjoram is now quite rare. However, in almost every household in the villages of Crete you will find a pot of homegrown marjoram. With its various medicinal effects, intense aroma and taste, marjoram is one of the top hot beverages while nowadays it is widely used in gastronomy.

Uses: Decoction, Gastronomic, Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Summer

Locations: Semi-mountainous and mountainous zone

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Fliskouni, also known as litropiana in Amari, are plants that indicate the existence of water. They grow in poor soils and always next to a source of moisture. Internationally known as wild mint, fliskouni has always been adoresd by Cretans due to its many uses from cooking to medicine. It was also often used as an insect repellent.

Uses: Pharmaceutical, Decoction, Gastronomic

Harvest: All seasons-Mainly summer

Locations: Semi-plain and Semi-mountainous zone near water or swamps

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One of the most famous edible greens in Crete and a favorite dish in Mediterranean cuisine. It is not missing from any house during autumn and winter.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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Also known as tsochos in Amari, it is a widespread edible grass. Delicious boiled salad with many medicinal uses such as antipyretic and hemodialytic. Contains vitamin C and K.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone – Cultivation

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Known in Amari as pigounitis. Widespread grass in the fields with a look reminiscent of the "goat's beard", hence its name. Herbaceous plant with narrow lanceolate leaves and white fleshy root. The leaves are often used in sautéed greens and pies. The shoots in the spring can be boiled along with other shoots of the season for a wonderful seasonal salad.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies - Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-flat zone in the fields

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Best known in our area as myrodousa, due to its very nice aroma. Annual plant, widespread in the fields. Due to its aroma, it is widely used as an ingredient in pies, salads and cooked foods. "Oh, smelly myrodousa, how stinky you become in a pot", an old verse that emphasizes how delicious it is raw.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies - Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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It is a climbing annual plant that can reach a height of 1 to 3 meters. It has beautiful glossy green leaves in the shape of a heart and small white flowers. Despite its bitter taste, its shoots are collected and eaten boiled with lemon or vinegar, yahni. They also make very tasty omelets. It is very common in Crete and it grows near some source of water or near streams.

Uses: Boiled - Sautéed - Cooked - Omelet

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone in wet places

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Quite a common plant in the fields, very widespread throughout the island. A type of mustard which is often called tame mustard. It is collected for its special taste and it is usually eaten boiled.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone in the fields

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The well-known daisy that floods the fields giving them a white-yellow color. The edible part of the plant is its shoots which are collected before flowering. It is a delicious, boiled salad with special aroma and taste.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone in the fields

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Perennial, deciduous plant with round bright green leaves that grows in very wet fields or gardens even at an altitude of 800-1000 meters. In ancient times it was called “chelidionion”(swallow) as the plant bloomed when the swallows came and it faded when they have left. In gastronomy it is commonly used in sautéed greens and pies along with other wild greens.

Uses: Sautéed

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat to mountainous zone in wet places

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Very common, annual or biennial plant that reaches a height of 30-60 cm. It has bright green fluffy leaves which are covered on the upper surface by blisters and hairs. It is a delicious herb that is eaten boiled either alone or with other wild greens.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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A very common plant in uncultivated areas. It is very similar to dill while it has a very strong and special smell. It is used in pies, sautéed greens or even in fresh salads or sauces due to its aroma. Fennel is also used to make perfumes and medicines such as syrups and is also used as a means of facilitating the secretion of milk.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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The so-called "land fish" as its shoots after being slightly boiled, are fried with batter like the pikeperch. It contains a large amount of vitamin E while it has a variety of medicinal effects from anti-cancer to antitussive and laxative. However, it should be used with caution as its leaves contain the alkaloid cynoglossine which can cause paralysis.

Uses: Fried - Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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The well-known strychnos mela. It is an annual, herbaceous plant with characteristic black fruits. It is eaten by boiling the shoots, usually with “vlita” or vegetables such as zucchini and potato. Its leaves contain the substance solanine which is toxic and even poisonous. That’s why this plant should never be eaten raw.

Uses: Boiled

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring - Summer

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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A species that is also very similar to parsley but has short and thick leaves. It is an annual plant that usually grows in very wet to swampy places. In spring it produces a very beautiful white flower that adorns the fields. It has a very special and spicy taste and that is why it often accompanies meat (usually pork) in the pot, either alone or together with other sautéed greens.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone in very wet places

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Bulbs, which grow from the semi-mountainous to the alpine zone and look like small onions. However, their collection is easier at higher altitudes due to the shallower depth of the bulbs in the soil. Ingredient of the Cretan diet from ancient times and a unique meze until today. Usually, they are pickled while their use in gastronomy is also important.

Uses: Pickle - Cooked

Harvest: mid-Spring

Locations: Semi-flat to Alpine zone at various depths

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Also known as dandelion, it is a herb that is quite similar to radish. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows almost everywhere, from fields, uncultivated places to the roadside. Widely known for its beneficial effects against gallstones, liver and kidney diseases. In cooking has a variety of uses from boiled salad to sautéed and cooked pies.

Uses: Boiled - Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring - Summer

Locations: Widely in the Semi-Plain and Semi-Mountain Zone

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Widely known in Amari as goules. It is basically a perennial thorn from which both the thorny shoots and the fleshy root are used after partial processing. In gastronomy the shoots can be eaten either as a boiled salad, cooked with meat in a pot or even with egg-lemon. The root is often fried. It is a source of vitamins and flavonoids and also has antiperspirant properties.

Uses: Boiled - Sautéed – Fried

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Known since ancient times, in fact, it is the wild species from which the carrot came over the years. It is an annual herbaceous plant with an intense, intoxicating aroma. It is eaten either boiled, sautéed or in pies along with other greens.

Uses: Boiled - Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Widely in the Semi-Plain and Semi-Mountain Zone

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Endemic, biennial plant of Crete which grows on rocks or even walls from the sea level to the mountainous zone. It is widely used in pies or in cooked foods with other sautéed greens.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Lowland to Mountain zone

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It is basically the wild variety of our well-known leek but not the famous chives. Much smaller in size but with a much more intense aroma. It is widely used in many recipes as a substitute or supplement for onions. It is quite common in wet soils, fields and sunny places.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies - Cooked

Harvest: Autumn - Winter – Spring

Locations: Lowland to Mountain zone

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Perennial plant that grows in both cultivated and uncultivated soils, with a bluish color and milky liquid in all parts of the plant. It is a sweet herb, eaten either boiled or sautéed. It is rich in minerals and trace elements while it also has antioxidant and analgesic effects.

Uses: Boiled - Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Widely in the Semi-Plain and Semi-Mountain Zone

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The well-known red poppy. Koutsounada are basically called the shoots of the plant before blossom. A famous annual plant that is often a weed in cereal crops. It is commonly used as an ingredient in vegetable pies due to its intensely spicy taste.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Widely in the Semi-Plain and Semi-Mountain Zone

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A plant which in Crete is said to heal the "five nerves" of man, ie the five senses. Herbaceous plant, which grows mainly in moist soils with a beautiful aroma and refreshing taste while the leaves have five protruding nerves. It is widely used in sautéed greens for pies or cooked foods. It has various medicinal and healing effects and is a well-known beverage throughout Europe.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies - Decoction - Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Lowland to Mountain zone

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Perennial shrub from which leaves and tender shoots are collected. It grows in uncultivated areas often near stones or rocks. Favorite grass of hares and people with excellent taste and aroma. Favorite ingredient in pies and sautéed wild greens. Source of vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, β-carotene and polyphenols.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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A wild variety of parsley that grows in shady and wet places, usually near rocks or in the shade of trees such as yew. It has a special aroma and is an integral part of sautéed greens and herb pies.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone

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Biennial plant that grows in very wet and swampy places. It has wide uses in gastronomy but also as an herb. In the early stages of growth, when the plant is very tender it is collected for pies and sautéed greens while the leaves are widely used for “dolmades-sarmades”. It has laxative and "cleansing" effcts while it helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. It can absorb iron from the soil, which is why it has long been considered to fight anemia.

Uses: Sautéed - Pies - Pharmaceutical

Harvest: Autumn - Winter - Spring

Locations: Semi-flat and Semi-mountainous zone in very wet places