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PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT December 2009

2009 yılında Peyzajda 4. Boyut programımız içinde, Ayın Bitkisi olarak Agave Victoria regina ve Agave geminiflora’yı tanıtmıştık. 2009 yılı Aralık ayı bitkimizi ülkemizde fazla tanınmayan bir agavdan seçtik: Kuğu Boyunlu Sabırlık. 2010 yılı başında yine zarif ve yumuşak yapraklı Agave desmettiana’yı tanıtacağız.

Agav’lar Meksika, ABD, ve Orta Amerika ülkelerinde doğal olarak bulunan 250 kadar türü kapsamaktadır. Ailenin ortak özelliği, etli yapraklı (sukkulent) olmaları ve yaprakların rozet şeklinde dağılımıdır. Agav’ların büyük bir kısmı monokarpik (hayatında bir defa çiçek açar ve ölürler) dir.

Meksika’da 125 ten fazla Agav türü bulunmaktadır, burada tanıtacağımız Agave attenuata agavların en zarif ve yumuşak yapraklılarından biridir.

Agave attenuata ’ya Kuğu Boyunlu Sabırlık adı verilmesinin nedeni, çiçek sapının kuğu boynuna benzemesidir. Vatanı Orta Meksika’dır, 1800–1950 m yükseklikte, kayalık dağlarda bulunmaktadır. Çok yıllık, rozet şeklinde,  etli yaprakları olan bir bitkidir. Her rozet 15–35 yapraktan oluşmaktadır. Soluk yeşil veya mavimsi yeşil renkteki yaprakları, 30–60 cm uzunluğunda,  10–20 cm genişliğindedir. Yumuşak yapraklar ortaya doğru genişler, bazı bitkilerde yaprak kenarlarında hafif dişler mevcuttur. Yaprak uçları sivri olmakla birlikte, diğer agavlardaki gibi dikensi değildir.

Çiçek sapı 350 cm e kadar uzunlukta olabilir, üst kısmından aşağı doğru kendi üzerine eğilir, bu şekil nedeni ile kuğu boynuna veya tilki kuyruğuna benzetilir ve Kuğu Boyunlu Sabırlık, Amerika’lılar tarafından Tilki Kuyruğu Agavı olarak da adlandırılır. Çiçekleri krem veya sarı yeşil renktedir.

Dona dayanıklı değildir, kısa süreli -3°C dona dayanabilir, bu nedenle ülkemizde yalnız Ege-Akdeniz sahil kuşağının, mikrokliması sıcak olan yörelerinde dış mekân bitkisi olarak dikilebilir. Üretimi, yandan verdiği kardeşlerin ayrılması veya tohum ile yapılır. Kurak bölgelerde bile haftada bir sulama yeterli olabilir. Direk güneş altında bazen yapraklar hafif sararır, sulama veya güneşin azalması ile tekrar yeşile döner.

Kuğu Boyunlu Sabırlık, peyzajda, grup halinde veya patio kenarında sıra halinde kullanılabilir. Kaya bahçelerinde soliter (tek) veya ufak gruplar halinde kullanır. Zerafeti ve yaprak ucunda diken olmaması nedeni ile fazla soğuk olmayan Ege-Akdeniz bölgelerimizde peyzaj için özellikle seçilecek sukkulent bir bitkidir.  

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT November 2009

Physalis is a plant with around 80 varieties, all members of the potato family.  Mostly originating in the Americas they are now widespread throughout the world.  Many of them have fruits which present within an opaque covering and will stay on the plant throughout the winter giving it a very decorative air.  Some of these fruits are edible.  The most decorative, with red or orange outers, are those found on Physalis alkakengi or the Chinese Lantern.

Physalis peruviana, which we are going to introduce in this article, is known in Turkey as ‘Ground Cherry’ – Yer Kirazı or ‘Gooseberry’ Kaz Üzümü.

This fruiting plant which has only been recently introduced to Turkey is native to South American countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador where it grows wild in the mountains.  In the 1800s cultivation began in the region around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and hence it began to be known in English-speaking countries as ‘Cape Gooseberry’. After South Africa commercial cultivation spread to Australia, China and India.

The Cape Gooseberry has edible fruits.  These are round, 12 – 20mm in diameter and enclosed within an opaque covering similar to that of the Chinese Lantern.  The fruits are initially green in colour and sour, then turn dark yellow and become sweet.  They can be eaten raw and are also used in fruit salads, ice cream, some desserts and can be made into jam.  They look most attractive when left within their outer covering, which will protect the fruit so that it can last without spoiling for 30 – 40 days at room temperature.  Removing the outer case means the fruit spoils much more quickly.

Scientific analysis of the fruit has shown that it contains polyphenols, carotenoids, has an anti-inflammatory action and also has antioxidants which are claimed to help prevent cancer.  However, whilst it has been used in folk medicine to fight fevers, asthma, hepatitis, dermatitis, rheumatism and cancer, there is as yet no true scientific proof of its effectiveness. 

It is a long-living plant but cannot withstand hard frost.  Light frost may only attack the leaves and stems.  But hard frost will kill the whole plant.  In this country along the Mediterranean coast it has proved to be a hardy plant.  In Ankara, Istanbul and other places where hard frosts occur, it is grown as an annual and will fruit in the year of planting.

It can be planted in full or half sun.  Aside from good, well-drained soil it has no special requirements.  However, in this country it is susceptible to white fly and fungal diseases.  Seedlings planted in spring should start to give fruit from August onwards.  When grown in greenhouses, as with tomatoes, the plants are trained to grown on wires or strings to ensure maximum fruiting.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT October 2009

The ericas or heathers are a genus of over 700 varieties found in the wild in Europe, Africa, west and central Asia.  They are generally found in temperate climate zones and only grwo outside the tropical and subtropical regions in Africa and Asia.  Ericas can be all sizes from small to shrubs which grow to the size of trees.

The majority of ericas come from South Africa and in general have long tubular flowers, but these varieties cannot withstand frost.  Those found in Europe usually have white or pink flowers which do not make a great show but, in compensation, they can take winter conditions including frost.

We are going to write about two types of Erica which are found in the wild in Turkey.  There are marked differences between the two types: Erica arborea can reach the height of a tree and flowers in spring; Erica Manipuliflora never grows to a height of more than 1m and flowers in autumn.  The two types have the same common name in Turkish: brush plant (süpürge otu).

Erica arborea: has needle-like leaves 3-7mm in length. The leaves are held on short stems, they have blunt edges and the undersides are deeply grooved.  The leaves are found in groups of 3-4.  Sweetly scented white flowers open on the short side branches in groups some 20-30cm in length. Flowers are bell-shaped with white petals some 4mm long.  Fruits are oval and contain tiny seeds.  Flowers bloom in the spring.

The plant can reach a height of 3-4m.  Indeed, in equatorial Africa’s damp mountain ranges Erica arborea has been reported reaching a height of 6m.  This frost resistant plant is found across a wide area from the Canary Islands, all around the shores of the Mediterranean, Iran, the Arabian peninsula, Ethiopia and throughout equatorial Africa.

Erica manipuliflora: a shrub-like plant which can grow to a height of 1m.  It is native to the Eastern Mediterranean, and in Turkey is found along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts growing within or adjacent to pine forests.  It has thin, needle-shaped leaves, 3-7mm in length with sharp edges and dark green in colour.  Rose pink flowers start to open towards the end of summer and continue to bloom through the autumn. Flowers are bell/pipe shaped, up to 10cm in length, produced in clumps. This plant withstands frost.

Both types of Erica share a liking for sun, and well-drained acidic or neutral soil.  They do not thrive in an alkaline soil and do not welcome animal manure as a fertiliser.  Propagation is from seed or cuttings taken at the end of summer.

In landscaping terms, especially where a natural look is aimed for, they can be planted underneath pines or other trees.  They also do well on the edges of groups of trees, for example as part of golf course landscaping, or can form an informal border on both sides of a path

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT September 2009

The pancratiums  (sea daffodils) are members of the amaryllidaceae family.  There are 16 types, all long-lived plants growing from bulbs.  They are found near to the sea growing in sand or amongst rocks.  They are widespread from the Canary Islands to West Africa, Namibia, the shores of the Mediterranean and tropical Asian countries.  Leaves are produced in two layers and are long, thin, ribbon-like;  the flowers have 6 petals.

The sea daffodil Pancratium maritimum’s homeland is the shores of the Mediterranean, the western Black Sea and south-western Europe; unfortunately having survived for generations along the shores of the Black Sea in general, it is now dying out.

The bulbs lie 20-30cm beneath the surface of the soil, which means they get water even in the summer.  The leaves are long and thin and green with a hint of blue.  Sometimes in the heat of the Mediterranean summer these leaves can disappear altogether.  The flowers open between August and October on stems which are 30-40cm long.  Flowers are creamy white with 6 petals and a pleasant scent which is most noticeable in the evenings.

This plant can withstand salt and light frost.  It grows best in damp soil.  It is propagated from seed or division of bulbs.  In the wild, even in places where it hasn’t died out naturally, it is endangered by coastal development and is becoming an increasingly rare plant.  For this reason the Palm Centre has made a commitment to protect this plant by propagating more specimens, and has designated a small area of land exclusively for this purpose.


PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT August 2009

The Casuarinas are a family of 17 species found in the wild in Australia and the Far East.  These ‘Iron Trees’ look just like many other types of tree with needles instead of leaves, but they are not the same type of tree. Nodules can be seen on the surface of the thin, green branches and each nodule is covered with tiny leaves.  Both male and female flowers appear in different areas on the same tree. Wood from the tree is very dense and hard hence its common name ‘Iron Tree’or ‘Ironwood’.

In Turkey the species Casuarina equistifolia is known and used.  It can withstand salt spray from the sea or from a brackish water table.  Where the water table is high and alkalinity is a problem, it grows well.  For this reason we have planted it at the Palm Centre in marshy areas as part of a windbreak.  The RHS Plant Encyclopaedia states that it cannot withstand frost, but we have found it can take temperatures down to –(6-8)0C.  It can also tolerate drought.

The hard wood from the Iron Tree is used by furniture makers and builders.  It also yields good logs for burning.  The Iron Tree also has specific bacteria living in its roots which can help improve soil by fixing nitrogen from the air. Althoughit is suggested that, dead branches which fall from the tree excrete a toxic substance which can kill plants onto which they fall.  We have not observed this phenomenon at the Palm Centre.

The Casuarinas are grown from seed.  Sometimes they can be split at the roots or propagated from cuttings.  In the right conditions it is a problem-free, very quick growing tree which can reach a height of 18-20 metres. Unlike many pine trees which do not respond well to pruning, this tree can be pruned as much as you want. It is good for making windbreaks or sound baffling and can also be planted on its own as a specimen tree.  Particularly in this south coast region, where we often have drainage problems, it is tree which will thrive in boggy areas.

You can find two types of Iron Tree at the Palm Centre: Casuarina equistifolia and Casuarina glauca.


The Opuntias are the most widespread and well-known forms of cactusus (cacti).  In the wild, in common with other cactusus, they are found in the western hemisphere, but from the 15th century onwards Europeans have been introducing them to other parts of the world.

Opuntia gets its name from Ancient Greece, where other thorny plants were found in the region around the city of Lokris Opuntia.  The genus Opuntia is to this day still expanding as new members are discovered.  It is, however, generally agreed that all opuntias are cactus composed of flat, wide segments.  This is the most widespread of all types of cactusus with 181 varieties occurring naturally in the wild, and a further 10 hybrid forms which have hybridised naturally.  The best known form is Opuntia ficus-indica, with its Turkish name of Diken Inciri (Thorny Fig).

In English it is called Prickly Pear or Indian Fig, but in Turkey it is the Thorny Fig (Diken Incir) or Pharaoh’s Fig (Firavun Inciri).  It grows to the size of a shrub or even a tree and can reach a height of 6m.  A mature plant will have a trunk of 30 – 40 cm wide.

The segments which make up the trunk are grey-green or just green.  The oval or elliptical segments vary and can be long, short, narrow or wide.  On the edge of the wide segments, about 2 – 5cm apart, can be found areoles which are surrounded by yellow or brown glochids (short, barbed hairs), which soon fall off the plant.  There will usually be 1 or two thorns adjacent to each glochid.  Yellow flowers, bowl-shaped and 8 – 10cm in length open in spring. They are followed by pink fruit about 10cm in length covered in hairs which can cause itching.

Nowadays this plant is grown all over the the world with many people benefiting from its fruit.  It is especially popular in South Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean.  The plant is the home of the cochineal beetle which gives a red dye and Opuntia ficus indica is grown on the Canary Islands purely to produce cochineal beetles. The fruit can be eaten straight from the plant or made into jams and marmalades.

It has now become so widespread in South Africa that the thorny version is now a banned plant, although the thornless type can still be planted.  There are currently moves in Australia to also ban further planting.


Today’s plant Golden Iris can very hardly be acquired anywhere in the world except at the Palm Centre. It grows naturally along the edges of Köyceğiz Lake, and is endemic to the area.  Some sources claim that it can also be found in the Hatay region, but there has been no objective scientific verification of this claim.

This valuable plant is sought by collectors all over the world.  Iris xantospuria was first raised at the Palm Centre in 2008.  We are going to sending specimens to botanic gardens who request them.  We have also begun to sell Golden Iris at June 2009 at the Centre.

Iris xanthospuria (in Turkish ‘Altın Süsen’) is a member of the Iris family, grows from rhizomes and is a very long-lived plant.  Except when the weather is extremely cold, it is green at all times of the year with leaves between 30 and 80cm in length.  In the wild it grows in swampy areas, but with sufficient watering it will thrive anywhere.  It prefers wet ground and lots of sun.

It is different from the Iris psudacorus-Yellow Iris (in Turkish ‘Sarı Süsen’) widely found in this country and often used in landscaping schemes in Europe, in that it does not have brown markings in the centre of its petals.  Golden Iris has six spotless dark yellow petals, three which grow upright and three which curl outwards.  Each flower has three stamens (male organs).

Golden Iris can withstand cold, but as yet there has been no scientific study of to exactly what degree of frost it is hardy.  It is propagated from seed or from splitting rhizomes from established plants.  At the Centre we are currently undertaking studies of propagation and hardiness.


The agaves are a family of up to 250 varieties found in the wild in Mexico, USA and Central America.  They all share thick leaves (succulent) and grow in the shape of a rosette.  Most agaves are ‘monocarps’ which means they flower once and then die.

We would like to introduce you to Agave geminiflora which is possibly the ‘softest’ of all the agaves.  In general agaves with thin, elegant leaves are not frost hardy.  However, Agave geminiflora will withstand frost down to -2  degrees centigrade for short periods. The species name geminiflora comes from the Latin for "twin flowered", and refers to the fact the flowers are grouped 2 per bracts, along the spike.

It is found in the wild in the state of Nayarit in Mexico where it grows within oak forests at heights of 900 – 1200 metres.  It will grow in shade but does like a lot of water.  It is usually single-stemmed and when fully grown the diameter does not exceed 60–90cm.  Mature specimens sometimes have a very short stem from which 100–200 leaves have grown.  The leaves are long, thin and soft.  They are narrow some 6-12mm wide and 40–60cm in length.  Along the edges of the leaves can be found tiny filaments at even intervals.  The leaves are dark green and easily bent.

The lifespan of Agave geminiflora is not more than 8-10 years, after this the plant sends up a large spike that can be up to 5 metres tall. Agave geminiflora’s long, thin flower stem will normally grow to 250–350cm. The top two thirds of this stem will be covered with flowers, grouped in pairs. The flowers are yellow with a base of red or purple.

Agave geminiflora var. Atricha Trelease is a variety with shorter leaves which are harder and without filaments.  This plant will not exceed 25 – 35cm in diameter.

Agave geminiflora is propagated from seed. It doesn’t produce offspring as do many other agaves, although it has been reported to do so when planted in crowded conditions.  To grow it in frost-free areas plant in full sun.  Where there is a danger of frost it can be planted in a pot where it will grow well, but will need constant watering.

In landscape design Agave geminiflora is used for the effects of its symmetry and is a striking plant when used alone or in groups.  Single specimens can be placed for contrast within colourful, flowering perennials or it can be planted in groups for a sculptural

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT April 2009

Kniphofia is a genus of around 70 varieties found in the wild in the Tropics and South Africa, in mountains and particularly along river banks and in wetlands.  Most of the varieties grow from rhizomes and spread.  The flowers, held on tall stems, can be yellow, orange, red, white or any combination of these colours.  In Turkish this plant is called the ‘Lighthouse Plant’ because of the shape and colours of its flower stems.

As can be seen from the photographs, each flower head is actually made of many tiny pipe-shaped flowers.  The flowers are attractive for bees.  The leaves vary according to the variety and can be any length between 10cm and 100cm.  The leaves of varieties which die back in winter tend to be thin and grass-like, whilst those which are evergreen have thicker leaves.

The best known variety is Kniphofia uvaria.  Nowadays many hybrids are available which can vary in overall height from 50 – 180cm.  In landscaping the hybrids are preferred because they are more showy and sturdier.  Some varieties cannot withstand frost, others will take light or medium frost.

This plant is not too fussy about planting conditions, but it does very well indeed in well-drained, humus-rich soil with a light sand content.  It will grow in full sun or partial shade.  Propagation can be by seed planted in spring or by planting rhizomes split from an existing plant at the end of spring.

In landscape design it is often used in groups which give a strong structural effect when all the plants are in bloom.  Shorter hybrid forms can be used as ground cover whilst the taller varieties look good planted between trees.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT March 2009

The Agaves comprise some 250 species which are found in the wild in Mexico, the USA and Central America.  All of them share the fact that they are succulents and their leaves grow in a rosette format.  Many agaves are monocarpics which mean they flower once in their lives and die after flowering.

Over 125 types of Agave can be found in Mexico and the one we are introducing you to here, Agave victoriae reginae, is generally held to be the most elegant.  And the value of this plant does not just lie in its elegance; it is also a very slow grower.  In general it is a solitary plant, growing with one stem, occasionally it may give off springs.

Nowadays Agave victoriae reginae is one of many plants which are disappearing in Mexico and, for that reason, it is now under Government protection.

The diameter of the plant normally will not be greater than 50cm, although there are occasional reports of specimens reaching 70cm.  It has dark green leaves 4-5cm wide and 15-20cm long.  The leaves are triangular in shape with white edges.  The leaves form a rosette, a very pleasing shape.

In general after the plant has reached 20 years of age, a long 3-4m flower stem grows up which produces many cream-coloured flowers with red-purple striped edges.  After the flowers turn to fruit and then seed, the plant dies.

The main need of Agave victoriae reginae is sunshine, it can manage without much water.  In the winter it can withstand cold down to -120C for short periods.  It is propagated from seed or by removing off springs.  Variegated and compact forms are also available.

In rock or cactus gardens it can be planted alone, in general it is used in groups.  In cold places like Ankara it can be grown in a pot and brought indoors in the winter.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT February 2009

Halleria lucida is a member of the Scrophulariacea the snapdragon and foxglove family. Halleria lucida is not only an attractive tree, it is also one of the best bird attracting trees. It is an evergreen tree or large shrub, often multi-stemmed, with a spreading crown and attractive glossy bright green foliage on arching and drooping branches.

The bark is longitudinally grooved and pale grey and brown in colour. The flowers are tubular, orange to brick-red, or yellow, very rich in nectar and are produced in clusters in the axils of leaves and on short shoots on the old wood, even on the main trunk. When in full flower in autumn to summer (October-June)  it can be very showy, although the flowers are some what hidden amongst the leaves and inside the canopy. Clusters of 10 mm diameter spherical green berries that turn juicy and black when ripe, follow the flowers. These are edible, but never tasty, not even when ripe.

Halleria lucida is found in Cape peninsula, almost al over the RSA and also occurs in isolated pockets in Zimbabwe. In the more exposed situations it is generally a stocky or shrubby tree that reaches a height of 2-5 m but in well watered, protected situations it can reach up to 20 m.

The genus Halleria is named after Albrecht von Haller, professor of botany at Gottingen. It is a small genus of ten species that occur in Yemen, Madagascar and Africa from Ethiopia to the Cape peninsula. The specific name lucida is Latin for shining/shiny and refers to the foliage.. The name Tree Fuchsia was acquired because of its fuchsia-like flowers.

The Zulu nation has a strong belief in traditional medicine and they use Halleria lucida for skin and ear complaints. Dry leaves are soaked in water and squeezed into the ear to relieve earache. This tree is also considered to be a charm against evil. The twigs are burnt when offering sacrifices to the ancestral spirits.

Halleria lucida is tough and easy to grow, and thrives under many different conditions. It is fast growing, and performs best in well-drained nutrient-rich loam with water provided all year round although it tolerates periods of drought. It is relatively hardy to frost (minimum -7°C/ 20°F) but requires protection when young.

Tree Fuchsia makes a shapely specimen tree for the smaller garden, and looks at home in the larger landscape, where it can also be planted in groups. It can be used to provide shade, or can itself be planted in shade as an under-storey tree. It is suitable for use as an informal hedge, and can be planted in a large container. It is also one of the best bird attracting trees.

Halleria lucida is easily propagated by seed, and cuttings. Young plants may flower for the first time in their second year. Seed is best sown in spring to mid-summer  or in autumn, in a standard well-drained seedling mix and covered lightly with coarse sand or milled bark. The trays can be placed over bottom heat of 25°C although this is not essential for germination to occur.  


PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT January 2009

The Acca are two species of plant that members of the Myritaceae family.  The old name for ‘Acca’ was ‘Feijoa’ from the Brazilian botanist Silvio Feijo. These plants are found in the wild in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in sub-tropical regions, both species grow to a maximum of 4.5m in height and with a similar lateral spread.

The Acca are grown for their general ‘look’, their attention-grabbing flowers and edible fruit.  They are not at all fussy about soil.  They may prefer well-draining soil, but equally they can be grown in acidic or alkaline soils, and in dry or wet soil conditions.  However they do like a lot of light, and should be planted where they are guaranteed full sun.

As for climate they prefer a hot place which does not get frost.  In fact they will only fruit, and continue to fruit, in a frost-free environment.  However, apart from the lack of fruit they can withstand light frost.  They can be grown from seed planted in spring or semi-hardwood cuttings taken in summer.

Pineapple Guava:  In Turkey only one of the accas is known as Kaymak Ağacı or “Ananas Guava” (Pineapple Guava in English) with the Latin Acca sellowiana or old name Feijoa sellowiana.  They are grown in some parts of Turkey.  The ‘sellowiana’ comes from a German plant hunter Sellow who first discovered this plant in 1819.  Another Turkish name is ‘Ananas Guava’ which translates as ‘.

Cultivation of this plant in Turkey is confined to the Marmara and Black Sea regions and is not yet widespread.  It is grown for fruit and as a single trunked tree with branches starting 1 – 1.5m above the ground.  When growing commercially for fruit a space of 4-5m x 2-3m is left between trees.  Thus a 1000 sq.m. will contain between 60 and 120 trees.  The trees will start to give fruit from 3-4 years of age.  It is believed that such trees have a life span of around 50 years.

The Feijo is a hermaphroditic plant which means that its flowers contain both male and female organs and one tree will fruit.  In commercial situations to prevent single trees producing too much fruit they may spread pollen from one tree to another.  Fruits are green, about 5cm in length and oval.  They should be picked and then left for a week or so before eating.  100 gm contains only 35 calories but they are rich in Vitamin C, calcium and iodine.

In terms of landscaping multi-trunk specimens seem to be preferred.  The leaves are grey-green, 6-7 cm in length and oval or elliptical with white hairs on the undersides.  The flowers which open in summer are around 4 cm in diameter, purple-red, with a white border around the edges of the petals, long stamens which stand out in a dark red colour, and pollen sacs in yellowish white.

In landscape design these plants are grown for their foliage and the attention-grabbing flowers.  In our region they should grow anywhere that you can grow olives.