Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Amazing Diversity of Turkey

Isaac and a large, blooming bougainvillea (Bougainvillea species).

After spending the last two years of my life here in Adana, Turkey, it is time to move on. I have enjoyed learning about and growing plants in a Mediterranean climate. This location has an amazing diversity of plants and animals that I will never forget.

Eurasian Siskins (Carduelis spinus) are common here but rarely seen.

White Spectacled Bulbuls (Pycnonotus xanthopygos) are common in these parts.

For those interested, and for my recollection years from now, Adana, Turkey is under 100 miles from the Syrian border. This is considered a Mediterranean Sub-Tropical Temperate Climate. Plant Hardiness Zone 9 (averate annual low temperature is 30-20 degrees F (-1 to -6 C)). AHS Heat Zone 8 (number of days above 86 degrees F (30 C) is 90-120 days). It rarely drops below the 40's F (5 C) in winter and often climbs above 105 F (40 C) in summer. It averages 26 inches (66 cm) of rain here each year with most rain falling in the winter months.

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) in flower.
There is a variety of pomegranate here that has seeds much smaller than the ones found in grocery stores in the U.S.  The fruit is a pale rose color instead of the more common bright red.

Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica), perfectly ripe and so sweet.
These are great to grab and eat on the go while taking a walk.

I took a walk with my four-year-old son today. Within ten minutes, literally, we walked past banana trees with young fruit, pomegranates in flower, a wide variety of citrus (orange, lemon, and grapefruit) all with ripe fruit, a walnut producing large husks, prickly-pear cacti full of unripe fruit, and a half-dozen loquat trees hanging low with branches covered in perfectly ripe fruit... we grabbed a few handfuls and ate these sugary-sweet fruits on our walk, spitting the large seeds in the grass.

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia species).
The fruit is forming under the flowers that have budded off the cladodes (flattened "pads").
Originally from the Americas, it is widely distributed around Turkey.

We saw a single male Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) today.

If we would have walked the other direction, we would have passed persimmon and fig trees just starting to bear, apples, quince, and mulberries dropping thousands of ripe berry-like fruits. In fact, my friend Jake and I took our sons to pick mulberries about a week ago. In just a few minutes of shaking branches over sheets laid on the grass, we had our buckets full.

Jacaranda, from Central/South America, are one of my favorite tropical/sub-topical trees.
The trees here are likely Jacaranda mimosifolia, as they have been widely planted around the world.

The Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus).
Along with the closely related Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius),
these birds are common here in Adana, Turkey.

And that is just the fruit trees within a ten minute walk from our house. Don't forget the dozens of rose bushes, the bougainvillea with their almost-neon-glowing flowers, the beautifully bare trunks and scent of the eucalyptus trees, and the tall jacaranda's with their pale purple-blue, wispy flowers swaying in the breeze.

The Hooded Crows (Corvus cornix), like all crows, are very smart birds.

The Crested Larks (Galerida cristata) are a familiar sight along my running trail.

Then there were the birds... Hooded Crows and House Sparrows all over the place, a few Crested Larks near the open fields, a number of White-Spectacled Bulbuls on low branches and in the grass, a pair of Eurasian Siskins (the male was a brilliant yellow) darting in the shade of the conifers, and a single male Greenfinch sitting proudly on a fence. There was also a quick blur of white, black, and red... either a Syrian Woodpecker or a Middle-Spotted Woodpecker as we have both, and they are difficult to distinguish out of the corner of the eye.

The Oranges (Citrus species) here are quite sour... more in taste of a lemon.

The "heart" of a Banana (Musa species), more acurately an inflorescence (cluster of flowers).
You can see the unripe fruits forming above.

These are the things I will miss about Turkey. Of course the food. Without question the few amazing people I will always call friends. But it has been quite an experience to live in one of the original breadbaskets of the world.

The Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus species) are the tallest trees in this area.
I am not sure which species grow here... just never got to researching it.

I came across this Walnut tree, but I am not sure of the species.
I am pretty sure it is a Persian Walnut (Juglans regia).

3 comments:

  1. Is a loquat similar to a kumquat? I've never had either, so I really have no idea!

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  2. I really have no idea too.hi please visit my school site here www.unn.edu.ng

    ReplyDelete
  3. Totally different from a kumquat. The loquat grows in clusters on a large tree, the Kumquat is a small citrus bush. while the fruits are about the same size and shape, everything else about them is different.

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