Botanical Garden

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In the effort for the sustainable management and environmental protection of the Lake Plastira region, a new and innovative infrastructure was created, unique for a mountainous region characterized by a noteworthy natural terrain and a shrinking population. This effort was funded by the LIFE Program and the Operational Program “Environment”.

The Botanical Garden at Neochori is situated inside the protected area (“Eco-development area”) of Lake Plastira, within the administrative boundaries of the Municipality of Nevropolis Agrafa. It covers 2.5 acres, 33km from the city of Karditsa.

The garden was established in 1998 and remains in operation to this day. The purpose of its establishment was to gather and stockpile part of the flora elements of the region at large, and of the Greek territory in general, and to create an environmental infrastructure in the lake area to provide information and training to the public regarding this flora, the local ecosystems, and environmental protection. The garden’s operation also involves the implementation of model educational programs for young people interested in volunteer or professional activities regarding the natural environment.

The garden’s plant “kingdom” includes areas of underbrush, wetlands, nurseries with lime trees and pines, herbs, aromatic and floriferous plants.

In discreet sections of the garden, appropriately arranged and marked, visitors can observe or even study plant species characteristic of the area, be informed about environmental data (flora catalogue), and generally discover the rare “landscape variety” with the harmonious succession of water and forest systems. In other sections of the garden there are representative species of Greek flora, as well as epigenetic species that have fully adapted to the environmental conditions of the Greek terrain.

Nature’s pharmacy offers its wisdom to visitors, with herbs and plants such as artichoke, whitethorn, achillea (yarrow), hippophaes (sea-buckthorn), and many other rare medicinal plants for every occasion. Both the botanical garden and the Environmental Education Center of Neochori offer extensive information for the terrestrial, forest, and lake ecosystems, providing tours and training sessions for schools and organized groups.

The garden operates under the care of the personnel of the Environmental Department of the Karditsa Municipal Development Company, and it has the scientific support of:

  • the Ecology & Classification Sector, Department of Biology, University of Athens; and
  • the Technical Educational Institute of Forestry in Karditsa.

The garden is open to visitors daily from 10am to 1pm and from 5pm to 8pm. Here visitors can also purchase aromatic and medicinal herbs, enjoy coffee or refreshments and home-made desserts.

The flora catalogue of the area includes 456 taxa of Pteridophyta and Angiosperm plants. A study of the flora catalogue reveals the following interesting information:

  • Eighteen (18) plants are endemic to Greece.
  • Twenty nine (29) plants are included in the catalogue for the preservation and protection of endemic, rare, and endangered plants of the Greek flora.
  • Sixteen (16) plants are included in Presidential Decree 67/81.
  • Eleven (11) plants are included under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
  • Sixty two (62) plants are endemic to the Balkan peninsula.
  • Seven (7) plants appear across the Balkans and in Anatolia (Asia Minor).
  • The species Poa palustris and Veratrum nigrum are rare in Greece. Poa palustris is known in Greece in only one location near the Monastery of Korona (Scolz, 1986), while Veratrum nigrum is only reported in the Karoplesio area (Strid, 1991) and on the Grammos mountain range (Zaganiaris, 1940).
  • In total, 43 plants from the area are characterized as interesting, rare and endangered.

Characteristic endemic, endangered and protected species of local flora:

Species Common name Natural spread in the area
Achillea pindicola ssp. pindicola Yarrow Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Karava
Aesculus hippocastanum Horse-chestnut Tavropos
Asperula oetaea Voutsikaki
Asperula pinifolia Voutsikaki, Karava
Centaurea messenicolasiana (intra-endemic) Agrafa
Centaurea musakii (intra-endemic) Agrafa, Filakti
Cirsium heldreichii Voutsikaki, Karava
Epipactis microphylla (orchid species) Athamanian mountains, Karava, Agrafa
Fritillaria thessala (intra-endemic) Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Karava, Athamanian mountains, Katarrachias
Hieracium leithneri (intra-endemic) Voutsikaki, Karava, Athamanian mountains, Katafili
Jovibarba heuffelii (intra-endemic) Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Katarrachias
Lilium carniolisum ssp. Albanicum Lily Voutsikaki
Lilium chalcedonicum Lily Voutsikaki, Karava, Oxia
Lilum aroanium Voutsikaki, Karava
Marrubium velutinum White or Common Horehound Katarrachias, Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Athamanian mountains
Onobrychis montana ssp. macrocarpa Voutsikaki, Karava
Poa thessala Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Karava, Athamanian mountains, Katafili
Prunus prostrata Mountain, Rock, Spreading or Prostrate Cherry Voutsikaki, Katafili
Rhinanthus pubescens Katarrachias, Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Karava, Katafili
Satureja horvatii ssp. macrophylla Voutsikaki, Athamanian mountains
Scabiosa taygetea  ssp. taygetea Pincushion flowers Voutsikaki, Plaka
Scutellaria rupestris Voutsikaki, Karava
Sedum apoleipon Stonecrops Voutsikaki
Seseli parnassicum Athamanian mountains
Sesleria vaginalis Voutsikaki, Kazarma, Karava, Katafili
Sideritis perfoliata L. ssp. perfolaria Ironwort tea, Mountain tea Agrafa
Thymus dolopicus Thyme Agrafa
Verbascum epixanthimun Mullein Katarrachias, Voutsikaki
Verbascum longifolium var samaritanii Mullein Voutsikaki, Karava, Athamanian mountains
Viola chelmea Wild violet Voutsikaki


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