Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Plants of Turkey

I will be experimenting with a new type of article as I am currently traveling around Turkey for plant collections. I traveled from the capital, Ankara, to areas in central Turkey and finally along the Mediterranean and up along the Aegean sea to Istanbul. I have found that Turkey cultivates a wide range of edible plants as crops, many of which I did not expect. There are also a good deal of wild varieties of common edible plants as well (i.e. Peas, Pyrus, Malus). Turkey is a country diverse in climates and habitats, in some areas Tobacco and Tea are cultivated, and in other places even Kiwis are cultivated!

Some of the interesting plants of Turkey I have come across include temperate crops, tropical fruits, and spices. To list a few: Cicer, Apple, Pear, Pomegranite, Apricot, Peach, Poppies and Anise, among many more common crops. I was surprised though to see a wide range of tropical plants being cultivated in the Mediterranean region of southern Turkey. The land that is very close to the Mediterranean sea is capable of supporting many tropical fruit trees. There are some people in this region that grow Jackfruit, Durian, Papaya, Bananas, Oranges and other tropical plants. I would assume that many types of tropical fruit could survive in this region because it is consistently hot and humid with no freezes. Turkish farmers have taken advantage of this climate and built countless greenhouses near coastlines in order to cultivate tropical fruits, especially bananas. There are many open-air banana farms as well, with many street vendors selling bananas and other fruits, especially oranges. Street vendors in the rest of Turkey are mainly restricted to selling melons and other temperate crops.

Poppy crops are not a common sight in the Turkish country side but occasionally in some areas you will find large fields filled with poppies that are cultivated for bread seed and spice.


This picture was taken from the road to Antalya. Banana farms such as these are extremely prevalent in a close proximity to the Mediterranean sea.

Along the Mediterranean there is also a very large number of greenhouses that are used to cultivate many crops. My best understanding is that many of these are used to cultivate bananas, but I am curious to know what other plants are cultivated in these greenhouses.

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