The rich Turkish flora includes more than 9000 varieties of plants. About 3,000 are endemic to Turkey and grow in nature nowhere else in the world. More than 500 plants grow bulbs. In international trade, Turkey is well known for its kardelen (Galanthus nivalis), karcicegi (Helleborus vernalis), siklamen (Cylamen cilicium), lale (tulip), cigdem (Colchicum) and other flowers from bulbs. Plants in Turkey possess various rich genetic kinds like therapeutic plants and decorative plants, and those which are ancestral to cereal grains and fodder. These have vital importance for human beings.The future of our plants is very important from both economic and environmental view point. They are in danger because of over picking for commercial purposes and the destruction of naturalareas.
In Turkey, various bulbous plants have been destroyed by people who have picked them in the wild for commercial purposes and sent abroad.
The trade of our bulbous plants picked wild and exported as decorative plants started first in the Aegean region, then moved to the Taurus Mountains which has rich bulbous plant populations. There was a great increase in this flower bulb trade, which started a few hundred years ago and continued until 1960. Towards the end of the 1980s an average of 60.000.000 flower bulbs were exported. The main importer of our plants is Holland, through which they are marketed throughout the world. Unfortunately, we have witnessed the unconscious plunder of this rare genetic richness of Anatolia. In recent years, with the contributions of Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD) (The Society for the Protection of Nature), Fauna ve Flora Koruma Dernegi (FFI-UK) (The Society for the Protection of Fauna and Flora) and Dogayi Koruma Vakfi (World Wide Fund for Nature) there have been hopeful developments in "The Project for the Growth of Bulbous Plants Locally in Turkey." Within this project successful results have been achieved with the volunteer growers for the growth of flower bulbs in Dumlugoze Village (Karaman) in the Taurus Mountains. In this way, the decrease in the population of flower bulbs,.. like kardelen which was over-picked, is stopped and the villagers are able to get continuous income by growing bulbs locally. With this additional income, they can contribute to the development of their village.
We hope that with the increase of similar projects, it will be possible to share this unique genetic beauty of Anatolia with the whole world before the natural structure of it is spoiled and these growing places will be visited only for "conscious eco tourism."