The dittany of Crete is widely used for food flavouring and medicinal purposes, in addition to it featuring as an ornamental plant in gardens (3). This small, lanate shrub is easily recognised by the distinctive soft, woolly covering of white-grey hair on its stems and round green leaves (4)(5), giving it a velvety texture (6). Tiny rose-pink flowers surrounded by brighter purple-pink bracts add an exuberant splash of colour to the plant in summer and autumn (7)(8).
This deciduous(3), perennial plant blooms from June to August and sheds its leaves in winter (9). The flowers have both male and female reproductive organs and are pollinated by bees (9), which are attracted to the flowers by their bright colour and the plant’s aromatic fragrance (10).
The dittany of Crete is frequently used for food flavouring, medicinal purposes and decoration (3). Although widely cultivated for these purposes, this plant is also taken from the wild. The exact extent of harvesting from the wild is unknown, but the species is thought to be threatened from over exploitation (11).
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