Endemic Tree Species of Turkey

Climate, solid characteristics and geographical formations make Turkey biologically diverse. Turkey has 11.707 different plant species, 3,649 of them are endemic species. Under this section, we will observe endemic tree species of Turkey. Do those species encounter with any threads? If yes, are there any applications to conserve them?

In this section I mostly obtained information from two web-sites: http://www.bizimbitkiler.org.tr/ and http://www.iucnredlist.org/

These are handy websites to search for specific plant species. The first one is in Turkish, mostly mentioning endemic plant species of Turkey. Second one is an international one and more comprehensive. If you search for a species, it will obtain a lot of information such as where this species exists, whether it is endangered, if yes in what degree, what the optimal conditions are for planting this specie, in which industries the species is used.

The List of Endemic Tree Species of Turkey

Here is a list of some endemic trees of Turkey:

  1. Alnus glutinosa (subsp. antitaurica), Adana, Kahramanmaraş
  2. Alnus glutinosa (subsp. betuloides), Erzurum
  3. Betula browiczana, Trabzon, Rize, Artvin
  4. Quercus macranthera (subsp. syspirensis), Amasya, Ankara, Bolu, Çorum, Erzurum, Gümüşhane, Kastamonu, Sivas, Tunceli, Yozgat
  5. Quercus petraea (subsp. pinnatiloba)
  6. Quercus vulcanica, Afyon, Isparta, Konya, Kütahya
  7. Salvia aytachii, Ankara
  8. Salvia halophila, Ankara, Konya, Aksaray
  9. Salvia amasiaca, Amasya
  10. Sideritis amasiaca, Amasya ve çevresi
  11. Sideritis gulendamiae, Eskişehir
  12. Abies cilicica (subsp. isaurica)
  13. Abies nordmanniana (subsp. equi-trojani), Çanakklale, Balıkesir
  14. Pyrus boisseriana (subsp. crenulata), Antalya
  15. Pyrus yaltirikii, Bingöl
  16. Pyrus Syriaca, Bitlis, Diyarbakır, Samsun, Elazığ
  17. Pyrus Hakkairica, Hakkari
  18. Pyrus Solicifolia, Hakkari
  19. Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana var. fastigiata
  20. Cerasus erzincanica, Erzincan
  21. Cerasus hippophaeoides
  22. Sorbus caucasica var. yaltirikii
  23. Phoneix theophrasti, Datça
  24. Liquidambar orientalis, Köyceğiz-Dalaman

Because there was not a lot of official information available, I believe there are some missing species in this list.

Let’s examine some of those species closely.

Some Examples of Endemic Tree Species

Sorbus caucasica var. yaltirikii

Sorbus caucasica (https://tr.pinterest.com/carolinesoultan/tuin/)

This species is invulnerable to air pollution and drought. It is used in order to control erosion at high mountains. Timber of this species is extremely valuable. They blossom in summer months. This feature make them crucial in apiculture. Moreover, fruits of the species are edibleness for animals and humans. Fruits and leaves of sorbus used in modern and alternative medicine.

Pinus nigra subsp. pallasiana var. fastigiata

Pinus nigra (https://www.bomengids.nl/uk/turkishtrees/Krimden__Pinus_nigra_caramanica__Turkish_black_pine.html)

The subspecies pallasiana (Crimean Pine), native in Turkey and around the Black Sea, often grows with multiple stems above a basal trunk when in cultivation in NW Europe and has attractive bark with large, light grey plates.

Abies cilicica(Near Threatened)

Abies cilicica, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_cilicica)

There is local trade in timber from this species. The wood is used for indoor construction mainly as plywood. Large areas of forest are in a state of degradation. For example, 44% of the pure stand forests and 86% of the mixed stand forests are degraded (Bozkus 1988). Much of this has been caused by over-grazing of feral goats. They are particularly destructive as they damage seedlings and young shoots abd areas where they have grazed cannot easily regenerate (McGinley 2008). Other threats include fire (partially as a result of an increase in tourism in the Taurus Mountains) and pathogen attack. There have also been reports of sudden mortality in A. cilicica subsp. isaurica (Carus 2010) and a general decline in forest health due to the impacts of higher summer temperatures and decreased precipitation that have been attributed to global warming (Ozturk 2010).

Abies nordmanniana(Least Concern)

Abies normanniana (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abies_nordmanniana#/media/File:Nordmann-01.jpeg)

It occurs in three subpopulations. 1. West Caucasus and northeast Anatolia (Turkey); 2. Turkey – Northwest Anatolia, from Ulu Dag (Olympus) in the west to Kizil Irmak river valley in the east (sometimes referred to as A. bornmuelleriana); 3. Turkey – Kazdagi Mountains in west Anatolia (A. nordmanniana ssp. equi-trojani) (Browicz 1982)

An important timber tree in the Caucasus and Turkey where it is highly valued for its straight grain and easily workable wood for building materials, especially veneer (Farjon 2010). It is used as a commercial plantation tree in many European countries where it is often grown for the Christmas Tree market. Even though the wood is highly prized, logging has not had a significant detrimental impact on the population. However, the habitat of  A. nordmanniana ssp. equi-trojani is in decline due to a number of negative effects including acid rain, fire, local timber extraction and habitat degradation associated with large visitor numbers in Kazdagi National Park (Satil 2009).


Ongoing and Suggested Projects About Endemic Species

According to research of Ekim et.al (1985), 12 endemic plants are extinct. Many of them are threatened because of overgrazing, fire, woodchopping, rehabilitation works forages, urbanization and herbicide usage. Presidency of Turkish Republic is having experienced Turkish botanist prepared a Photographed Turkey Flora book. Their target is having its 28th volume in 100th year of Turkish Republic.

Having records of those species is of course crucial. I think there should also be some greenhouses where all those species are gathered. Because Turkey has a wide area, it is not possible to see every species in in its own habitat. With this greenhouse, many people will have a chance to see every plant and have information about them. Furthermore, the greenhouse will be a social interaction point. As known, such green places in urban life reduces environmental pollution and provide people refuge. Many people visiting there avoid from psychological stress and feel more energetic and less depressed.  Moreover, this institution will act like a business. It will be a tourist attraction point. With a gift store, people could buy those endemic flower plants and they will feel the joy of gardening.  This money will be used in rehabilitation of areas  burnt in forest fires and also for research in botany. With research of botanists, the area could host educational programs time to time. This will increase interest towards botany.

There is an ongoing project about old trees in Turkey: Monumental Tree Project. Trees which are old, wide and a part of culture determined and included in Monumental Trees List. Now, this list has 13 trees from different parts of Turkey. For example, “Zincirli Servi” is one of those monumental trees. “Zincir” means chain in Turkish and “servi” indicates cypress familia. Zincirli Servi lives in İstanbul. Its estimated age is over 1400 years. At Ottoman Empire times, responsible person, which is similar to today’s judge, used to use the tree and the chain around it in order to determine debit-credit cases. It is believed that when defendant and complainant stand under the tree the chain will point out the right person. People used to believe that when “Zincirli Servi” falls down, that will be the end of the world. However, because of the security issues municipality took that chain. Any person who damages that kind of trees will be heavily penalized. Municipality is responsible of those trees, therefore their branching, watering and care done by municipal workers. During my investigation, I realized that each monumental tree has a unique folktale. However, those folktales are not properly told or written. I thought compiling them in a children story book would be a good idea. By this way, many children will gain respect to nature. Furthermore, we will preserve those stories.

Zincirli Servi, Tree with the Chain (https://haber.kursistem.com/asirlarin-sahitleri-zincirli-servi.html)


Blogcular Yazar, Ekler, Paylaşırlar. (n.d.). Asırların Şahitleri Zincirli Servi. Retrieved from https://haber.kursistem.com/asirlarin-sahitleri-zincirli-servi.html

TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). (2014, December 26). Türkiye’de Kaç Tane Bitki Vardır, Bunlardan Kaç Tanesi Endemiktir? (How Many Plants Exits in Turkey, How Many of Them are Endemic?). Retrieved from http://bilimgenc.tubitak.gov.tr/makale/turkiyede-kac-tane-bitki-vardir-bunlardan-kac-tanesi-endemiktir

Sarantalı Köylüm. (n.d.). Tarihte Yolculuk – Zincirli Servi. Retrieved from http://www.sarantalikoylum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=232:tarihte-yolculuk-zincirli-servi&catid=49:hatice-opak-bilgin&Itemid=151