A few days ago we hosted two researchers in our Hotel which represented Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH). They visited Kritsa in order to find, register and protect the trees named Zelkova Abelicea, on the plateau of Katharo.
Cretan zelkova (or Anegnoro or Ampelitsa) is an endemic bush or small tree of Crete as high as 3-5 meters. It constitutes a unique species of the genre Zelkova, of the family Ulmaceae and is characterized as a living fossil.
Its leaves are about 2,5 centimeters, oval with 7-9 teeth. It has small, white and aromatic flowers. Its drupe is silk cotton. It grows in the mountainous zone from 850 to 1800 meters, in all main Mountainous Ranges of Crete.
Though the species was threatened by urbanization (habitat loss), overgrazing and wildfires, recent fieldwork seems to show that Zelkova abelicea is becoming more abundant. It is not threatened with extinction, though remains vulnerable.