Beautiful flowers have been a part of Turkey's culture for centuries. They're depicted on arts and handicrafts and found stamped on coins, tiles, vases and carpets. Turkey has about as many different wildflowers as all the countries of Europe combined with more than 9,000 species, according to Bigglook.com. This country also has the largest variety of bulbs worldwide and many ornamental flowers were cultivated from Turkey including tulips, snowdrops and cyclamens.
Although most people connect tulips with coming from Holland, these flowers are actually native to Turkey and Central Asia. Tulips were brought from Turkey to Holland in the 16th century and rapidly grew popular there. Because a tulip resembles a long scarf wrapped around someone's head, it was given the Turkish name "tulbend," which means "turban." In Turkey the tulip is considered the "King of Bulbs." Tulips in Turkey have a wide range of brilliant colors including yellow, pink, red, purple, orange, white, black and bi-colors. These bulbs need to be planted in autumn, but they can also be forced to bloom indoors during winter.
Snowdrops, which are often confused with snowflakes, are delicate bell-shaped white bulbs. These flowers are native to the cool mountainous regions of Turkey and other areas of Asia Minor and southern Europe. They're also called milkflowers because of the flower's white color. Snowdrops are perennial bulbs that bloom early in spring, pushing their way through snow in some of Turkey's coldest regions. The common snowdrop (G. nivalis) comes from eastern Turkey and produces 1-inch-long flowers that are ¼ inch wide, according to an article in Kew Today. The giant snowdrop bulb known as Galanthus elwesii originated from Turkey's Taurus Mountains and has honey scented flowers. In addition to beautifying landscapes, snowdrops were also used for medicinal purposes.
Cyclamens are tender flowers unable to tolerate frosts. They have white or pinkish blooms and grow wild in the southwestern region of Turkey. Many cyclamens are typically found growing in old Turkish graveyards in Rhodes Town. These flowers were introduced by monks in religious orders.
About 25 percent of all rose species come from Turkey, according to a SpringerLink.com news article. Flowers from rose species including Rosa damascene and Rosa gallica have been used in rose water production and for rose oil for many years. The fruits of rose hip and other species have also been used for both medicinal and economic purposes. Although Turkey has a rich supply of roses in various climatic regions, these resources are diminishing because of genetic erosion caused by an increasing human population.