Endemism in Turkey and The World

From the book “Taurus Mountains and their Precious Flowers

An endemic plant is a plant which grows only in a limited region in the World and which is specific to that region. This region can be an area as large as a country or a small area like the surface of a piece of rock. Areas which are called hotspots important in terms of bio-diversity in the World are usually areas where the number of endemic species is over 1500.


Endemism in a region changes depending on the isolation of the region from the other geographic areas, it’s being geologically old, its climate structure and topographical characteristics. It is seen that islands which are isolated from mainland are the regions with the highest rate of endemism in the World. This rate is notable not only for plants but also for all other species. Different geographical conditions, isolation foremost, cause plants to gain different characteristics and evolve. For example, 11.600 of the 13.000 plant species in Madagascar and in the West Indies are endemic and the rate of endemism is 89 percent. 90% of the existing flowering plants in Australia are endemic. 75% of the existing plant species in New Caledonia and Madrean Pine-Oak Forests are endemic (CEPF,2017)


Turkey, which is one of the rare countries embodying the climate characteristics of 3 floristic regions at the same time, is one of the richest geographical areas in the World in terms of plant diversity. According to current sources, approximately 10.000 plant species grow naturally in Turkey and approximately 3035 of these species are endemic (more than the plant taxons in all Europe) and the rate of endemism is 31.12 %.


Regions which are rich in terms of endemism in Turkey are respectively Mediterranean region, Eastern Anatolia, Central Anatolia and the Aegean Region. Central and Western Taurus Mountains, Amanos Mountains, Uludağ, Erciyes and Ilgaz Mountains and the regions where Eastern Black Sea region meets Eastern Anatolia are the places with the highest rates of endemism on Turkey. The richest families in terms of endemic species are Asteraceae (Daisy Family) with 430 endemic species and Fabaceae (Legume Family) with 239 endemic species (Güner et al 2012).


Sultan Reeds bird paradise and Mount Erciyes


Hasan Torlak et al compare the endemics in Turkey and the World giving numbers; “The country with the highest number of endemic plants in Europe is Greece with 820 species. There are 700 endemic plants in Italy, 2000 endemic plants in Japan, 4036 endemic plants in USA, 140 endemic plants in France, 17 endemic plants in the United Kingdom, 3 endemic plants in Poland and the number of endemic plants in Switzerland is 1.

The number of endemic plants in most of the countries in Europe does not exceed 20. Three provinces with the highest number of endemic plants in Turkey are Antalya with 840 plants, Konya with 726 plants and Mersin with 560 plants (Torlak et al 2010).”


If we look closely, three most important regions in Turkey and Europe (even the World) in terms of endemic plant diversity embody the Taurus Mountains within their borders. If we add that Adana has 470, Hatay has 278, Kahramanmaraş has 502, Niğde has 507 and Kayseri has 543 endemic taxons to this information, we can feel the richness of the plant diversity in the region we call the Central Taurus.


Source: Ünal, Gülsüm, Tansu Hastürk, Ozan Gözüyeşil, and Serpil Demirci Kayıran. “Toroslar Ve Nadide çiçekleri = Taurus Mountains and Their Precious Flowers.” Toroslar Ve Nadide çiçekleri = Taurus Mountains and Their Precious Flowers. By S. Haluk Uygur. Karahan Kitabevi, 2018. 47-50. Print.

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