LOTD: Spathi Light

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Sérifos Lighthouse

Note: Sérifos is a small island in the western Cyclades, about 40 km (25 mi) north of Mílos. It has a population of about 1400.


Active; focal plane 67 m (230 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story stone keeper’s house. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome painted green. A photo by Dimitris Tsapelas is at the top of this page, another page for the lighthouse is available, Matteo Oriani has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southern tip of the island. Accessible by road (4WD recommended). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GRE-121; Admiralty N4228; NGA 15764.

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This is the big and imposing Orobanche gracillis, or slender broomrape, that Costas spotted and photographed on a hill above Spathi, in Kea. We initially thought it was yet one more of the Kea orchids, but then realized that it belongs to the large family of parasitic plants  that live off the roots of other plants.

This unusual kind is very different from the small bluish broomrape that grow in our garden. The stems of that common species –which is most likely parasitic on the wild leguminous plants of the garden– “are gathered and eaten in the region of Apulia, in southern Italy, where they are given the name of sporchia.”