Crete, the largest of the many islands of the Aegean, is 256km long, between 11 and 56km in width,with an area of about 8700 square km. The special interest of the Cretan flora lies in the very considerablenumber of species which are endemic or have an eastern Mediterranean or Anatolian distribution. They are predominantly plants of the mountains and of the dry phrygana of the hills and lowlands. Also the numerous gorges have a large number of endemics, mostly chasmophytes. These are plants that grow in gorges, on cliffs or rock-faces. The old gorges of Crete act as a refuge for these species, each rock-face, ledge or crevice, whether in sun or shade, creates its own special micro habitat. Many species have distinctive habitat preferences, while each gorge has its ownselection of species.