" Take a blind man to Lycia, and he will immediately know from the smell of the air exactly where he is. The wonderous perfume of lavender, the pungent fragance of wild mint, oregano and thyme, will tell him."
Cevat Şakir "Fisherman of Halicarnassus" Famous Turkish author.
The geographical location of Turkey, together with its warm climate has made Turkey's flora very rich. The most important reason for Turkey's high plants biodiversity are supposed to be the relativily high proportion of endemics in combination with a high degree of climatic and edaphic variety. In the year 2000, about 9.300 species of vascular plants were known in Turkey. A very significant number if we compare it with Europe, containing about 11,500 species distributed over a thirteen times larger area . Let us share with you some of the varieties that you might encounter while en route, depending on the season.
TULIP The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant, with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, which comprises 109 species and belongs to the family Liliciae. The genus's native range extends from as far west as Southern Europe, North Africa, Anatolia and Iran to the northwest of China.
Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador for Ferdinand I of Germany to Suleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire. He remarked in a letter that he saw "an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers.
During the Ottoman Empire, the tulip became very popular in Ottoman territories and was seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence. In fact, the era during which the Ottoman Empire was wealthiest is often called the Tulip era or Lale Devri in Turkish.
Although tulips are often associated with The Netherlands, commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Ottoman Empire, The tulip, or lale (from Persian لاله, lâleh) as it is also called in Iran and Turkey, is a flower indigenous to a vast area encompassing arid parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. The word tulip, which earlier appeared in English in forms such as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend ("muslin" or "gauze"), and is ultimately derived from Persian dulband ("round").
OPHRYS ( ORCHID ) Orchidaceae, usually referred to as the orchid family, is a morphologically diverse and widespread family of monocofts in the order Asparagales. It is currently believed to be the largest family of flowering plants with between 21,950 and 26,049 currently accepted species found in 880 general. The number of orchid species equals more than twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species.
During summer, all Ophrys orchids are dormant as an underground bulbous tuber, which serves as a food reserve. In late summer/autumn they develop a rosette of leaves. Also a new tuber starts to grow and matures until the following spring; the old tuber slowly dies. The next spring the flowering stem starts to grow. During flowering the leaves already start to wither.
Most Ophrys orchids are dependent on symbioticfungi. Because of this, some species only develop small alternate leaves. Transplanting specimens, especially wild specimens, is difficult, sometimes impossible, due to this symbiosis. The shiny, basal leaves have a green or bluish color. Two to twelve flowers grow on an erectstem with basal leaves.
The Greek myth of Orchis explains the origin of the plants. Orchis, the son of a nymph and a satyr, came upon a festival of Dionysios (Bacchus) in the forest. He drank too much, and attempted to rape a priestess of Dionysios. For his insult, he was torn apart by the Bacchanalians. His father prayed for him to be restored, but the gods instead changed him into a flower.
ANEMONE Is a genus of about 120 species of flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae in the north and south temperate zones. They are closely related to Pasque flowers (Pulsatilla) and Hepaticas (Hepatica); some botanists include both of these genera within Anemone. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Greek anemōnē means "daughter of the wind", from ánemos "wind" + feminine patronymic suffix -ōnē. But others suggest that this is a folk etymology, and that the word actually comes from a Semitic language.
IRIS UNGUICULARIS Iris is a genus of 260 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus escorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticultur. It is a popular garden flower.
CYCLAMEN CILICIUM Cyclamen cilicium is a perennial growing from a tuber, native to coniferous woodland at 700–2,000 m (2,300–6,600 ft) elevation in the Taurus Mountain of southern Turkey. The species name cilicium is the adjective of Cilicia, an ancient name of a region of southeast Turkey. Leaves are heart-shaped or oval and green, often patterned with silver. Flowers bloom in autumn and have 5 sepals and 5 upswept petals, white to rose-pink with magenta markings on the nose. They are fragrant.
EUPHORBIA Euphorbia is a genus of plants belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. Consisting of about 2160 especies, Euphorbia is one of the most diverse genera in the plant kingdom, exceeded possibly only by Senecio. Members of the family and genus are sometimes referred to as Spurges. Euphorbia Antiquorum and Euphorbia serrata are the type species for the genus Euphorbia, it was described by Linnaeus in 1753 in Species Plantarum. The genus is primarily found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and the Americas, but also in temperature zones. The common name "spurge" derives from the Middle English/ Old French espurge ("to purge"), due to the use of the plant's sap as a purgative. The botanical name Euphorbia derives from Euphorbus, the Greek physician of king Juba II of Numidia (52-50 BC–23 AD). He is reported to have used a certain plant, possibly Resin spurge(E. resinifera), as a herbal remedy for the King.