Phlomis fruticosa and Phlomis cretica - Jerusalem sage

 

 

 

Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa or phlomis cretica) - click to enlarge

Jerusalem sage - Phlomis fruticosa

Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa or phlomis cretica) - click to enlarge

Jerusalem sage - Phlomis fruticosa

Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa or phlomis cretica) - click to enlarge

Jerusalem sage - Phlomis fruticosa - Detail

Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa or phlomis cretica) - click to enlarge

Jerusalem sage - Phlomis fruticosa - Detail

Jerusalem sage in Aptera - click to enlarge

Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem sage in Aptera

Jerusalem sage in Aptera - click to enlarge

Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem sage in Aptera

Three species of Jerusalem sage or Phlomis are found in Crete. They somewhat resemble sage with their grey–green, somewhat silvery  leaves but they do not have the smell of sage and are covered with hair that brush off easily and form an irritating dust.

In bloom (March until June) they cannot be confused anymore because their flowers are a very bright yellow..

Phlomis fruticosa is the most common species  and forms a shrub that is around a metre tall.
Phlomis cretica looks very similar but is often taller and the leaves have longer slightly  slightly less yellowish hair.  Natural hybrids can occur in mixed population.

Whilst the two species are very common in western and central Crete (up to an altitude of about 1500m) they almost disappear in eastern Crete where they are replaced by the third speciles Phlomis lanata (this last one is a Cretan endemic whereas the P. cretica occurs in southern Aegean islands and south-western Turkey)

You can click on the pictures to enlarge.

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