Turkish Ethnobotany


In Europe there are no landscapes that are completely untouched by humans. Turkey is significant as a biologically diverse region where many important crop species originate, and Turkey was the place where a lot of crops were domesticated.  Plants that are used as foods and medicines continue to grow uncultivated in the Turkish landscape.

Ethnobotanical academic publications include Cakilcioglu and Turkoglu (2010) An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants in Sivrice (Journal of Ethnopharmacology),  Kargıoğlu et al (2010) Traditional uses of wild plants in the Aegean region of Turkey (Human Ecology), Öztürk and Ölçücü (2011) Ethnobotanical features of some plants in the district of Şemdinli (International Journal of Academic Research).  But perhaps the most well known ethnobotanical researcher is still Fusun Ertuğ her blog in Turkish (Google translate can help you out). Key publications include An ethnobotanical study in Central Anatolia (Journal of Economic Botany 2000) and Wild edible plants of the Bodrum area (Turkish Journal of Botany 2004).

While spending time in the area around Lake Bafa I was told by a friend who is a Turkish botanist that it has the highest concentration of edible plants in Turkey.  There was certainly a great diversity of plants that I saw growing while I was out looking at potential research sites, which then appeared on my plate.  While looking at orchids we put handfuls of thyme and oregano in our pockets. One of my companions was adept at producing bags large enough to collect her chamomile tea for the year or enough lavender to make blue jam.

Apart from different species being present what was really different from collecting wild plants to eat in England was the abundance of the plants. We couldn’t miss seeing the field of chamomile and it took minutes to pick a bagful and there was no discernable reduction in the amount of chamomile left in the field.



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