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Lalades, Chios’ wild tulips

Spring has arrived and our spirits have been lifted at the thought of the colourful wildflowers that flood Chios countryside. Of course, the colour red will dominate the green fields of the island the next few weeks. In a few days the olive and almond orchards of Chios islands will be covered with the special Chios wild tulips, called lalades by the locals.


There are four species of wild tulip (toulipa aegenensis, toulipa udulatifolia, toulipa clousiana, toulipa praecox), and the three of them are found exclusively on Chios island, mostly at the central and southeast part of the island. The name lalades comes from the Persian word for tulip, “lale”, which has passed in Chios dialect through turkish. These delicate and elegant flowers create a unique landscape that has inspired poets, painters, photographers and cinematographers over the years.


Unfortunately, in the recent years the numbers of lalades reduce every year, because of the uncontrollable and careless collection of flowers. If someone picks a tulip with its bulb, then the tulip will not be able to flower the next year – it is destroyed.

If you have the chance to visit Chios countryside the next few weeks, you will be able to admire, enjoy and photograph a red carpeted field, at the same time paying attention to protect and preserve the flowers. If you would l like to pick a couple of lalades, make sure to cut the flower’s stem but take care not to pick the bulb!


As Konstantis, the hero of Petros Martakis Chios Humourous Stories, tells his friends: “Guys, don’t step on the crops and the flowers! Pick just a few of the lalades at the side of the field. But then, why pick them? Can’t you see they are like fires of the spring, painted by byzantine artists in this crazy beautiful icon you have in front of you?”


Butterflies & dragonflies of Chios island, Greece

Nature lovers and observers of rare species will find a paradise-on-earth on Chios island.

According to Mr. Mike Taylor, naturalist and researcher of Chios island’s dragonflies, Chios’ chlora and fauna consists of a mixture of European and Asian/Middle Eastern elements, because of the island’s geography (in Eastern Aegean, close to the Asia Minor coast).  Agricultural activity is non-intensive and the majority of population is gathered in Chios town – these facts have contributed to the preservation of the landscape and the protection of endemic plants and animals.

The intact nature of Chios is habitat for many species of dragonflies and butterflies, which the visitor can observe and admire either alone or with the help of a guide. These are valuable species, since dragonflies control the population of harmful insects, and the butterflies contribute to the pollination and reproduction of many plants.

These species that have impressive colours are also indicators of a stable ecosystem. On Chios island, we are lucky to enjoy the observation of many species, especially in areas that are habitats of the rare species. For naturalists and lovers of observation, here is a list of the species that you can see on Chios:


  • Maniola Chia (endemic of Chios)
  • Archon apollinus
  • Zerynthia cerisyi
  • Arctia villica 
  • Panaxia quantripunctaria

Most butterflies are found in northern Chios.


  • Sympecma fusca
  • Coenagrion puella
  • Coenagrion scitulum
  • Enallagma cyathigerum
  • Ischnura elegans
  • Platycnemis pennipes
  • Anax ephippiger
  • Anax imperator
  • Anax parthenope
  • Crocothemis erythraea
  • Orthetrum brunneum
  • Orthetrum cancellatum
  • Orthetrum coerulescens anceps
  • Cellisiothemis nigra
  • Sympetrum striolatum
  • Trithemis annulata

Dragonflies are found in water habitats, such as the Armolia reservoir, Kato Fana beach, Marmaro marsh, Kampia beach, Malagkiotis river in Volissos, mainly in spring and summer. 29 different dragonfly species have been recorded in Chios.

 Armolia reservoir

Armolia reservoir has been designated as the most important dragonfly habitat in Chios. This is a reservoir that was initially built to cover the needs of the ceramic workshops that traditionally operate in the area. It is located at the north edge of Armolia village, in the Mastichochoria area, about 28 km from town. It is the richest site in dragonflies. The sign and easy access make the reservoir the best spot for observation and photography of dragonflies and birds. 18 species of dragonfly have been observed so far at Armolia reservoir, which also breed there, according to Mike Taylor.  

 Nature observation on Chios island

In recent years, naturalists and nature lovers and observers choose Chios island for their holidays, especially in spring and autumn. A couple of specialized English travel agencies have organized special interest trips for dragonfly observation on Chios. If you are interested in discovering the secrets of Chios nature, either by following organized activities or through a program tailor made to your special interests, you can contact us at Chios Tourism Department at the e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in order to get all the necessary information.


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