Operated by naturalist Professor Dimitrios Ikonomidis, the little center with a lot of interesting information provides a wealth of information on wild orchids in Northern Pelion, representing some of the rarest and most beautiful orchids in Europe. So far, the phenotype and genetic makeup of over 50 orchids have been documented and registered.
In this context the center is working to protect these orchids and enrich ecotourism activities such as hiking in the area to discover and observe wild orchids. It enjoys the support of the Cultural Association of Kerasia which helped found the center, along with the backing of the University of Thessaly, and the Rigas Feraios Municipality. Apart from Dr. Ikonomidis, the center’s team includes four other biologists and agriculturalists, including one lab technician.
More specifically, the center conducts phenotypical identification in the city of Volos, in addition to supporting new orchid cultivation under the auspices of the University of Thessaly. It has produced a guide in Greek on observing the wild orchids and their taxonomy.
Visitors can find informational brochures and books on the subject and are invited to come to the center, which attracts groups of visitors and students. Free tours of the small center are also offered in English, but it’s always good to call for an appointment. The Centre for Wild Orchids in North Pelion has also identified hiking routes that will take you on some of Northern Pelion’s most beautiful landscapes. Who knows, with the cross-pollination that takes place in nature among different orchid species, you might even see a whole new species of orchid yourself! Just remember, photograph them as much as you want but don’t pull them out as most are very rare.