To Judge without Roots: A closer look at the existence of plants on Santorini and their cultural impact

Greece’s geographical location in the Mediterranean limits the landscape to species that are drought tolerant. Santorini receives most of its precipitation in the winter leaving the summer months dry. Other than plant life having to undergo months without precipitation, they also endure the unforgiving caldera of Santorini. Needless to say, plant survival on Santorini is no easy task.
My first impression of Santorini was how bare the island was and how it lacked plant diversity. After spending more time on Thera, Santorini and paying closer attention to the different species on the island I can humbly say my first impression had no roots grasping the historical, cultural, and present day context of Santorini’s diverse plant life.

The flora on Santorini and throughout Greece has been influential for Greek culture. Art, foods, celebrations, and everyday essentials can be intertwined to both native and nonnative plant species. Having a better grasp of the roots that reside in Santorini, I now realize that the once barren landscape I thought it to be is actually a rich and diversified landscape capable of surviving in the harsh arid and windy conditions.

1) “” Nature of Santorini, Greece –, nature/vegetation.

2) “The History of The Olive Tree .” ABEA,

3) Beil, B., Contributions to the flora of the Aegean islands of Santorini and Anafi (Kiklades, Greece) Willdenowia 35, p. 87-96.


3 thoughts on “To Judge without Roots: A closer look at the existence of plants on Santorini and their cultural impact

  1. Leah –
    One of the fascinating things about the growth of the plants/trees here on the island is that they get most of their water from humidity in the air. That moisture accumulates in the vesicles of the pumice and the plants then can survive with little to no actually watering. The description of Santorini then as arid needs a bit of a qualifier because it can be very, very humid here. That humidity sustains all the vegetation!

    I would have liked a conclusion and more of your voice in this blog. When we talked about the subject you were so passionate about why you wanted to write about the plants, but that passion didn’t really come out in your writing here.

    I definitely learned about more of the plants here from this blog!

  2. Leah,

    I enjoyed reading this post since it was a little different from past posts; however, I don’t feel that your passion for plants came through. With your interest in forestry and plants, I had hoped to experience a story, and felt that there was a lack of a beginning, middle, and end.

  3. Hi Leah,

    Great photos and choice of content. The jar of olives reminds me that our local Safeway Greek olives, well, perhaps they’re a Flagstaff interpretation of Greek olives. And the photo of the olive wood grinding bowls… perhaps you can mention to your professor that if you all bring back bowls to sell to faculty, you could start a Santorini club and have enough funds for multiple pizzas with Greek olives.

    For your next post, let yourself have some fun and talk to us land-locked people such as me, in wee Flagstaff, AZ. I want to know what aromas the flowers have. If you pinch a branch, is there a scent? Does the wind scatter the seeds, or are there Greek Ravens employed to do so? What’s the symbiotic nature of the flora/fauna and the local humidity? Had Professor Skinner not mentioned the humidity, I would have posted “Looks like Doney Park, AZ.” Humidity and the desert. Wow, that’s certainly not northern Arizona. Provide a narrative or three with analogies for the desert-rats to comprehend moisture in what seems a desert landscape.

    I like that you organized your images into a narrative of introduction, discussion points, and conclusion. According to the previous comments from your colleague and professor, you’re a passionate person. An organized person who include further details and argument points, wow, I’m looking forward to your next post!

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