Upside-down bell-shaped lily joins Turkey’s endemic flowers



Discovered by two Turkish scientists, a new flower found in southern Anatolia has been added to the rich diversity of Fritillaria flowers.

A new species of flower has been identified in southern Turkey. Named “Arsuz lalesi (Arsuz tulip)” after the city where it was found, it was a surprise find for two scientists who first discovered the beautiful flower a few years ago.

“The flower looks like an upside down tulip, and its Latin name is Fritillaria arsusiana“said Mehtap Teksen, a botanist from Aksaray University, who, along with Hasan Yildirim, a taxonomist from Ege University, made the discovery.

The duo previously worked on a book on Turkey’s Illustrated Flora in 2018 and Teksen has written about Fritillaria in the lily segment in the two-volume book. But it wasn’t until recently that they discovered that what Yildirim had cataloged was a completely new species of the flower.

An Arsuz lalesi (Fritillaria arsusiana) in the wild. (Courtesy of Hasan Yildirim)

“At the last count, there were 46 Frittilaria genus of lilies in Turkey, 21 of which are endemic to the country, ”Teksen said. “There are three centers of genetic origin in the world for these flowers: one in Central Asia, one in North America, around California and one in Turkey,” she added.

“There are a lot of endemic species in Turkey,” said Teksen, “even more than in Iran and Greece, which also have a lot of species, but not as many as Turkey.”

Hasan Yildirim had collected the samples from Arsuz lalesi [Fritillaria arsusiana (Liliaceae)] over a decade ago. It was in April 2008 when he was focusing on a project for Tubitak (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). But the samples he collected were not his primary focus at the time.

He dried them and photographed them, and in the book he collaborated on with Teksen they were mentioned as Fritillaria amana, an extant species mainly found around Kahramanmaras in southeastern Turkey, and identified by the same name.

Distribution map of Fritillaria arsusiana sp.  nov. (red star), F. amana (blue circle), F. wendelboi (yellow square), F. hermonis (red diamond), F. pinardii (black triangle) and F. latakiensis (turquoise square).

Distribution map of Fritillaria arsusiana sp. nov. (red star), F. amana (blue circle), F. wendelboi (yellow square), F. hermonis (red diamond), F. pinardii (black triangle) and F. latakiensis (turquoise square). (Courtesy of Hasan Yildirim and Mehtap Teksen)

The two scientists returned to study the flower this year, this time also considering photographs, which can give a more accurate perspective of shape and color compared to dried samples. “We ruled out the possibility that it was a hybrid because there were no likely mother plants in a certain radius,” Teksen said.

Scientists Teksen and Yildirim recommend that Fritillaria arsusiana be classified as Critically Endangered (CR).

Scientists Teksen and Yildirim recommend that Fritillaria arsusiana be classified as Critically Endangered (CR). (Courtesy of Hasan Yildirim)

Yildirim and Teksen, in an article published in the New Zealand journal Phytotaxa, explain that Fritillaria arsusiana is “related to F. amana and F. hermonis by habit characteristics and largely campanulate flowers, but differs mainly in shape and the size of its bulb, its smaller leaves. and the characteristics of the flowers, and the color of the flowers.

Teksen said TRT World that the plant has “broadly bell-shaped” flowers, while Yildirim pointed out the “purplish brown” color of the flower and the “yellow tips”. According to Teksen, the leaves are dull green, which is also a hallmark of this bulbous plant that grows on serpentine soil. It was found 1540 meters above sea level. “Fritillaria plants can be found up to 2500-3000 meters tall, ”she added.

Teksen also mentioned Fritillaria the plants have been used in Chinese medicine and may have medical uses if grown in a laboratory environment, such as Erzincan’s in eastern Turkey. “More research is needed, but the bulbs of the species that grow in Turkey could even one day be used in cancer drugs,” she said.

Yildirim said that Fritillaria arsusiana should be considered a critically endangered (CR) flower based on IUCN criteria. This classification is offered to species whose population is limited to less than 50 mature individuals.

“There is a road that runs through the middle of the plant population in the Amanos mountains at Iskenderun, Hatay. They can be damaged. There are also villagers with their cattle in the area, which could lead to trampling of plants. These flowers should be protected, and the local authorities should throw a protective arm, so to speak, around them.

Mehtap Teksen says the plant has flowers

Mehtap Teksen says the plant has “broadly bell-shaped” flowers, while Hasan Yildirim emphasizes the “purplish brown” color of the inner flower and the “yellow tips”. (Courtesy of Hasan Yildirim)

Source: TRT World


Previous Turkish Tasting: Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Next Wife abandons her cheating boyfriend and goes on a trip with another woman

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.