The Kefalonian Fir Tree, Abies cephalonica, is the main species in the National Park. It was named thus as it was first discovered in Kefalonia and classified as a unique species. Owing to the isolation of the island, the species has remained pure and has not produced hybrids. The Kefalonian Fir Tree, a conifer and gymnosperm (external seeds), it belongs to the abies family.
It can thrive at heights of 800-1600 metres but can also be found at higher or lower altitudes elsewhere in Greece. It develops in the shadow of another tree where it can remain for a hundred years. When it leaves behind this maternal clump of trees, however, it develops very quickly and can live up to 500 years.
On rare occasions it can reach a height of 30 Peculiar to the Kefalonian Fir Tree are its needles, which are 15-22mm long and arranged in spirals. Hard and pointed, they are flat and a dark green colour on top, while underneath they are shaped like the keel of a boat with two parallel white lines running along the length.
The tree blossoms in May and June. Just like other types of fir tree, the male blossoms are separate from the female ones, although they coexist on the same tree. The tree bears fruit when about 20-30 years old, and continues up to a hundred years old, with a full crop every 2-4 years. Its seeds have only a 60-70% chance of germinating. It thrives in rich, deep soil, which is loose and moist. It can also develop in rocky, chalky ground. It can survive droughts and high temperatures as well as cold winds.
Apart from the Kefalonian Fir, there are also many other species of trees and bushes, like the hollyoak, holm oak, smoke tree, sumack or Roudi, two types of wild strawberry and many others. You can also see small bushes and grasses, such as asphaka, thyme, ladanies and amaranth.
The bush Flomis fruticosa grows everywhere. According to research by Phoetos and Damboldt the flora of the Ainos region only covers two main groups, the Pteridophyta and Spermatophyta and consists 350 species, but it is certain that there are many others that are not mentioned in studies.
Out of the 8 species and sub-species that are peculiar to Kefalonia, the following 4 are indigenous to the National Park : Viola cephalonica: appears at a height of 1500-1600m and grows in the crevices of chalky rocks as well as in stony ground. Saponaria aenesia: can be seen at heights of 400-1400m and grows in chalky, stony ground. Scutellaria rubicundasubsp. Cephalonica: found at heights of 1500-1600m and grows in rocky, chalky places. Ajuga orientalis subsp. aenesia: appears at heights of 400-1600m and grows in chalky, stony ground. Many others grow on Ainos, which are also indigenous to other places in Greece. Some of these were first discovered and classified in Kefalonia and, of course, on Ainos, such as Poa cephalonica, Campanula garganica cephallenica, Erysimum cephalonicum and various others. They were therefore given the island’s name. Later, these species were discovered in other areas of Greece. Abies cephalonica, of course, also belongs to this category of indigenous flora.