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x0x Wonderland of colour

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  • Turkish Radio Hour
    [See the end of the article for photographs of the some of the plants] x0x Wonderland of colour By Professor Dr Neriman Ozhatay The great diversity of Turkey s
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 20 1:07 AM
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      [See the end of the article for photographs of the some of the plants]

      x0x Wonderland of colour

      By Professor Dr Neriman Ozhatay

      The great diversity of Turkey's geography and climatic
      conditions, from vast plains to alpine pastures, glacier
      lakes to sandy coasts provides habitats for many
      thousands of plant species. A white snowdrop lifts its
      delicate head above the snow in early spring; the crimson
      blooms of tulips carpet Mu$ Plain with fiery colour in
      late April and early May; white sea lilies bloom on sandy
      beaches in the summer; grape hyacinths blaze everywhere
      from high mountains to the coasts. Even in the early
      spring and late autumn bulbous plants like these paint a
      colourful tapestry. Turkey is one of the foremost
      countries in the world for flowering plants, home to
      10,765 flowering species and ferns, of which one third
      are endemic; in other words one plant in three does not
      grow naturally anywhere else in the world.

      The coutry'se abundant water sources, wide altitude
      range, and habitats ranging from forest, steppe and sand
      dunes to wetlands, marshes and peat bogs, geological and
      geomorphological diversity, and the wide range of climate
      zones all contribute to this floral diversity. Other
      important factors are the coutry'sn location at the
      junction of the Euro-Siberian, Mediterranean and
      Iranian-Turanian phytogeographic regions, and the fact
      that it is a crossroads between the continents of Europe,
      Asia and Africa. Bulbous plants are among the loveliest
      species of all. Their bulbs which store nutrients beneath
      the soil feed the showy flowers that appear each season.

      Although their flowers wither and die, their bulbs live
      for many years. The homely onion (Allium cepa) is an
      example of this type of plant, which can be grown either
      from bulbs or seeds. Turkey's flora include 688 wild
      bulbous species, and some genera, such as fritillaria and
      crocus, are represented by more species in Turkey than in
      any other country. In other words, Anatolia is the
      genetic centre for these flowers.

      Since rainfall is plentiful in spring and autumn when
      bulbous plants bear their flowers and seeds, and the
      weather is dry in summer when the bulbs are dormant, the
      Anatolian climate is perfect for these plants. Many
      native species, whose beautiful blooms are often enhanced
      by their fragrance, find their way to Europe as garden
      flowers. In the mountain villages of Anatolia local
      people gather the wild bulbs for export mainly to the
      Netherlands, from where they are distributed to other
      European countries and America. Prior to the 1990s this
      trade was carried on indiscriminately, without any legal
      controls to prevent excessive harvesting, but today
      regulations are enforced by the Ministry of Agriculture
      and Rural Affairs. Exported species include the snowdrop
      (Galanthus), fritillaria, the snowflake (Leucojum
      aestivum), Scilla bifolia and sea squill (Urginea

      Tuberous perennials like cyclamen, anemones and winter
      aconite (Eranthis) are also exported. Some of Turkey's
      bulbous plants are of pharmacological importance, such as
      sea squill, whose bulbs provide the active ingredient for
      some heart medicines. This species has a large bulb and
      produces numerous small whitish flowers in autumn. It
      flourishes in sandy soil, mainly on the forest floor and
      in glades of Turkish pine in the Mediterranean region of
      western and southern Turkey, at an altitude of 300
      metres. An endemic species of grape hyacinth (Muscari
      muscarimi ) was prized for its scent and cultivated as a
      garden plant in Ottoman times, when perfume made from its
      blossoms was used by Turkish women. Trade in flowering
      bulbs poses serious conservation problems for Turkey. The
      Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (DHKD) has
      launched a project to increase public awareness of
      exported species, under which a collection has been
      created at Ataturk Arboretum in Istanbul's Belgrad

      They can also be seen in Ozgurluk Park in the district of
      Goztepe in Istanbul during the flowering season.

      * Professor Dr Neriman Ozhatay is a lecturer in
      Pharmaceutic Botany at Istanbul University's Faculty of




      snowdrop (Galanthus)


      snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)

      Scilla bifolia

      sea squill (Urginea maritima).

      homely onion (Allium cepa)

      grape hyacinth http://www.pacificbulbsociety.org/pbswiki/files/Muscari/Muscari_muscarimi_2.JPG

      Review of "Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands"

      "Wildlife Tours Around Lavanta hotel"

      "Wildlife" from Turkish Odyssey

      "The Coy Brides of the Taurus Mountains"
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