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PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT December 2010

Asphodelus aestivus is a member of the Lily family of plants - the Liliaceae - and is extremely common throughout the Mediterranean countries. It is native to South Europe,. North Africa and East Asia. Often occurring alongside hollow-stemmed asphodel which has a darker and more pronounced pink stripe on its flower petals and usually blooms slightly later than common asphodel. Muğla-Antalya region Common Asphodel is often found by Sea Squirll Urginea maritima”.

Common Asphodel Often appearing as early as December, common asphodel can form vast stands that appear to dominate large areas. It is fond of disturbed and abandoned agricultural land but can appear almost anywhere, including close to the sea. This beautiful wildflower blooms from January onwards and is at its best in February and March. It is seldom seen after April but can occasionally be found flowering right through until early June.

An evergreen perennial growing to 1m by 0.3m. , it tolerates temperatures down to -10°C]. The flowers are hermaphrodite.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant can be grown in asidic or basic  soils. It can grow in semi-shade or in sun. It can tolerate drought.

Root, seed and stem of the Asphodelus aestivus are edible. Tuber cooked, rich in starch. Dried and boiled in water it yields a mucilaginous matter which can be mixed with grain to make a nutritious bread. Boiling destroys the acrid principle in the tubers, rendering them quite pleasant to eat. Flowering stalk cooked and seed roasted.

The root, gathered at the end of its first year, is acrid, antispasmodic, diuretic, emmenagogue. It was used in the treatment of several diseases by the Greeks and Romans, but is not employed in modern medicine.

In Persia, glue is made with the bulbs, which are first dried and then pulverized. When mixed with cold water, the powder swellls and forms a strong glue. This glue is used by bookmakers and shoemakers.

Asphodelus aestivus are disliked by grazing animals, A severe neurologic syndrome accompained by intense neuronal pigmentation was described in sheep exposed to Asphodelus aestivus in Turkey.

Propagation: Seed sow March-Aril in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place in 1 – 3 months at 15°C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are large enough to handle, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Division in early spring or autumn. 

The Common Asphodel makes attraction with thin, long and green leaves all year around and with the attractive star-shaped flowers in spring. It may be used together with other kind of bulbs as a group. Especially in geofit gardens can be used with, summer and autumn flowering bulbs. One of the best combinations is the use of Common Asphodel with Sea Squirll as in the native lands.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT November 2010

Urginea is a genus in the Hyacinthaceae family. Urginea is consist of about 100 species of bulbous perennials. They are mainly found on dry, rocky hillsides, on sandy soils near coasts or on plains or savannah, mostly in tropical Africa, with a few in the Mediterranean. They have narrowly linear, basal leaves, and are grown for their star or saucer shaped flowers. Produced in long, erect, dense racemes on leafless stems in summer and autumn. Some species are frost hardy others are not, so in cold areas, frost hardy species should be used.

Urginea maritima is the giant among all Mediterranean geophytes. In spite of the specific name, this species is by far more common inland than on the sea. Sea Squill grows in open spaces on shallow stony soils, with the bulbs totally above the ground. Several layers of papery tunics (like at onion -Allium cepa-) protect the bulbs from the sun and occasional fires don't harm them at all. Rodents don't eat the bulbs since they are poisonous. The bulbs split dichotomously from the apex rather than forming basal offsets and in time they grow to massive clumps up to 20 heads, each one reaching up to 30cm in diameter and 60cm high. Two forms are known. The one with brown reddish outer tunics, is sometime referred as var. rubra. This form is usually found inland and gets to be a bigger size. The other form has whitish outer tunics and is referred as var. alba. Both forms have whitish inner tunics. Variability is also present in the flowers, which appear from the bare bulbs in late August. Some individuals have white flowers with a distinct pink midrib on the tepals and in extreme cases the flowers are all pinkish; others have totally white flowers. Flower stalks grow to 100cm high. Leaves are dull green with a bluish waxy bloom and are a towering presence in winter, above seasonal short grasses.

In human phytotherapy  the dried bulb of the white variety of Urginea maritimia (Squill) is used orally diuretic, emetic, expectorant, ve cardiotonic. Daily oral doses for adults range from 30 to 500mg.

Urginea maritimia is easly grown in a dry, sunny position in sandy soil. Propagation is from seeds or dividing the bulbs.

The squill makes attraction with large, showy leaves in winter and with the attractive star-shaped flowers in autumn. It may be used together with other kind of bulbs as a group. Especially in geofit gardens the spring and summer garden flowers in autumn and winter flowering species are used in conjunction with the appearance of leaves and complements.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT October 2010

Ruella brittoniana is native to Mexico, but is now wildly dispersed through the Southeast United States. In Florida, where it is a perennial, it is considered an invasive plant. Since it is only hardy thru zone 8, it is an annual in Missouri. Commonly known as Mexican Petunia. The genus name honors Jean de la Ruella (1474-1537) a French herbalist. Ruella brittoniana is called Mexican Petunia, but it is not even related to petunias.

Ruella is a member of the Acanthaceae.  The lance-shaped leaves are deep green to 15–30 cm in length and 1–2 cm wide. Stems are strong, semi woody, reaching about 1 meter tall.

Blooms are a vibrant purplish blue, trumpet shaped, and 3-5 cm. The flowers are borne on the tips of the stems. Each bloom lasts only one day, but the succession of non-stop blooms makes it a very showy plant.

Varieties with white, pink, and many shades of blue are available, as are dwarf versions that form clumps that are about 20–25 cm in height. Mexican petunia is very showy when in full bloom due to the clouds of admiring butterflies that swarm about the plants. Ruellia is essentially disease and pest free, so it’s very environmentally friendly. Even better, hummingbirds, butterflies and bumblebees love this plant!

Culture: Prefers fertile soil with moisture, but is very adaptable. Ruellia brittoniana  tolerates high heat, is drought tolerant, and can endure high humidity. Mexican Petunia prefers full sun, but will tolerate shade (it just doesn’t flower as profusely). After flowering, cut back stems about halfway for a new crop.  Ruellia brittoniana  is an easy to grow plant with strikingly colored flowers that is seldom bothered by disease or pests. It blooms enthusiastically throughout the hottest time of the year. Propagation is very easy. Clumps can be divided; stem cuttings easily root in moist soil or sand; and seeds often self sow.

The use in landscape: Ruellia brittoniana prefers sun to part shade. The quantity of blossoms is related to the amount of light the plant receives. The more direct sunlight the more flowers with fewer flowers appearing in overcast conditions or when grown in shadier conditions.
Mexican Petunia prefers average to moist soil. It is a water plant that becomes very aggressive with access to abundant moisture. Survives dry spells once established. Mexican petunia can be grown indoors as a houseplant in bright light. When growing Mexican Petunia indoors water freely when in active growth but water only when dry in winter.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT September 2010

Aloe variegata is one of the best known, and most distinctive of the South African aloes. The genus name Aloe is derived from the Arabic, alloch literally meaning bitter or bitter sap which is descriptive of aloe sap. The specific epithet variegata is Latin and means irregularly spotted, referring to the attractive spotted bands on the leaf surfaces. The characteristic white spots on the leaf surfaces are most attractive and resemble the spots on a partridge's breast, hence the common name.

Aloe variegata is found over large areas in the arid or semi-arid regions of South Africa and in the southern parts of Namibia.

Aloe variegata is classified as a dwarf aloe and is grouped together with various other aloes that reach a height of no more than 250 mm. Plants may be found as solitary individuals but are most commonly encountered in small groups of up to 7 or 8 plants which form dense rosettes through underground suckers. The leaves are lanceolate-deltoid, about 15–20 cm long, and are arranged in three ranks of 6-8 leaves each. The leaf colour may be variable depending on the habitat and climatic conditions: deep green in good years or chocolate brown when plants have experienced drought stress. White markings, spots or blotches that form irregular transverse bands, decorate both surfaces of the densely overlapping leaves.

The inflorescence of Partridge Breast Aloe is a raceme and is mostly branched with hanging flowers that are quite abundant and beautiful after good rains. Flowers may vary from a flesh-pink to red, rarely yellow. Flowers are 35–45 mm long and flowering time is July to September in their native habitat, however they flower at January-March in our part of the world. The fruit is a capsule that splits into three when ripe. Seeds produced in abundance.

Aloe variegata is best grown from seeds. Seeds must be sown as fresh as possible. Also can be produced by removing off springs.

Remember that Aloe variegata is adapted to arid and semi-arid conditions. It is thus very easy to kill plants through overwatering and poor drainage. It likes sun but also can tolerate to semishade.  It can withstand frost down to -40C, provided it is kept dry, lower temperatures kill the plant. Best can be used in groups within a rock garden, or can be used at pots as a pot plant at places with sufficient light.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT August 2010

Myoporum laetum herdem yeşil, çalı veya küçük bir ağaçtır. Myoporaceae ailesine ait olan bitkinin anavatanı Yeni Zelanda’dır. Herdem yeşil olan bu bitki 10 metreye kadar boylanabilir, kış sonundan ilkbahar ortasına kadar küçük beyaz çiçekler açar. Hızlı büyüyen bir bitkidir, önceleri güzel bir çatı yapar; fakat daha sonra yaşlı dallar bozularak dökülürler. Yapraklarında küçük yağ bezleri vardır, bunlar küçük sarı-beyaz noktacıklar halinde görülürler.  Bitki yaprakların bu görüntüsü nedeniyle diğer çalılardan ayrılırlar.

Myoporum laetum çiçekleri beyaz renkte olup, mor noktacıklar içerir. Meyveleri morumsu kırmızı renktedir. Süs bitkisi olarak yolların sınırlanmasında ve çit bitkisi olarak kullanılmaktadır. Ülkemizde fazla bilinmeyen bu bitki Amerika ve Avrupa’daki bazı ülkelerde, dikildiği yerlerden etrafa yayılarak, yerleşim alanları dışında kendine yer edinebilmektedir.

Miyoporum’un doğal bitki örtüsü içine yayıldığı bildirilmiştir.  Miyoporum yaygınlaştığı zaman gölgesinde diğer bitkiler büyüyememektedir. Myoporum’un yaprakları koyun ve ineklerde karaciğer hasarı yapabilecek kimyasal bir alaşım içerir, bu nedenle otlaklara yakın yerlerde, bitkinin yetişmesine izin verilmemelidir. Myoporum laetum çok sayıda tohum oluşturur, tohumlar bu meyveleri yiyen kuşlar tarafından uzaklara taşınabilmektedir.

Myoporum laetumun üretimi, çelik veya tohumla yapılır. Tohumla üretim yapılacaksa, tohumların sekiz hafta süre ile stratifikasyon (soğuklama) a tabi tutulması uygun olur.



Felicia is a genus of about 80 species of annuals, perennials and evergreen subshrubs and (rarely) shrubs found in open sunny habitat in the Arabian Peninsula and tropical and southern Africa. Some are frost hardy, others are frost tender.

They are grown for their mass of daisy-like, mainly blue flower heads with yellow disc-florets, often borne over long periods in summer.

 BLUE DAİSY  Felicia amelloides

This Felicia is usually a perennial, evergreen shrublet, about 0,5 x 0.5 m. It is densely branched and frequently has dark reddish stems. The flowerheads are typical of the Asteraceae and are about 30 mm in diameter and are borne on naked stalks up to 180 mm long. Unlike many daisies, these do not close at night.

In Pretoria gardens they flower almost throughout the year, with most flowers in spring and early summer. They live a long time, usually at least five years, under normal conditions.

The blue felicia bush withstands light frost. Needs a light, sandy or gravelly soil with good drainage and much compost if possible. Give a dressing of fertilizer for flowering plants (with ratio of N:P:K = 3:1:5) or a general fertilizer (ratio of 2:3:2) and mix some super phosphate into the soil. Water it regularly, but moderately, especially during the dry season.

Felicia amelloides propagated by seed or cuttings in spring. The latter method is quicker and the resultant plants should flower in about a year. Once established, Blue Daisy is quick growing and can look good for many years. When young, it can be made to bush well if the main shoots are pinched out. Light pruning during the summer will encourage more crops of flowers. To improve appearance, cut off the many old flowers. After about three years, it may need to be cut back if it gets straggly. If it becomes frost-damaged, it will usually resprout and flower a little later than usual. It does not seem to suffer from pests very much, making it even more carefree for the gardener.

Use in Landscape : This felicia could make an effective base for Strelitzia reginae (crane flower) in semishade or sun. A lovely contrast can be achieved by mixing plants with different leaf types. The blue felicia bush goes well with bulbs like Agapanthus , Eucomis autumnalis (Pineapple Flower), Hemorocallis fulva (Day Lily) . Another type of contrast, is the inclusion of grey or whitish-leaved plants among the green ones. They have a cooling effect and look good in all seasons. Examples are Gazania rigens (Trailing Gazania), Helichrysum petiolare, Ajania pacifica. The darker leaved Euryops pectinatus (grey euryops) or dark red colored  Alternathera dentata ruby would also give an interesting contrast.


Erythrina is bellong to Fabaceae (legume) family and known as the red genus (erythros which means red and alludes to the bright red flowers and seeds).  The genus Erythrina is a group of shrubs and trees which have their origin is in South Africa, West Indies, Brazil, and Australia. The genus contains over 170 species.

The coastal coral tree is an ideal garden plant and, because of its unique appearance, has continued to draw the interest of botanists, horticulturist, nature lovers, and the general gardening public for many decades. Erythrina caffra is widely loved for its warm red to scarlet-coloured flowers. Its popularity can be ascribed to its ease of cultivation and long flowering period.

Erythrina caffra is a medium-sized to large deciduous tree, Its size depends largely on the climate and soil conditions. It is normally 8–10 m heigh, but may reach a height of 20 m in coastal and forested regions where the conditions are optimal. This species forms a round-headed, spreading canopy and has a beautifully light green appearance when in leaf.

As with all other erythrinas, the leaves are typically trifoliate (three leaflets), which are broadly ovate (egg-shaped) to elliptic (oval and narrowed to rounded ends, widest at or about the middle), the terminal leaflet is the largest. The leaflet petiole (leaflet stalk) is with or without prickles. The leaves closely resemble those of a sister species, Erythrina lysistemon (sacred coral tree). When not in flower it can be rather difficult to tell the two species apart.

Flowering starts from cold winter and carries on throughout spring. The flowers are spectacular and are produced before the leaves appear and carried in large clusters at the ends of thick,  stalks. Superficially they are shaped like cockscombs. The flower has a short, broad, standard petal, the lower half of which curves upward to expose the stamens and they give the flower a bewhiskered appearance. When compared to the flowers of Erythrina lysistemon, the latter have longer, narrower standard petals which fold to enclose the stamens. There is also a difference in colour between E. lysistemon and E. caffra. E caffra has mainly orange-scarlet flowers, in contrast to the clear scarlet of the northern species.

The fruits are dark, in cylindrical pods, which are up to 65 mm long. The pods split to release the small, shiny, coral-red seeds. As seeds become older, they turn a rich red-brown. The flowers of Erythrina caffra do not produce any fragrance, and only colour, in combination with the reward of nectar, which the tree produces in abundance, is used to attract pollinator birds in their native forests.

Erythrina caffra is a subtropical tree that occurs in the warm and frost-free to light frost coastal regions of the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal. The trees are found in various soil types from wet, well-drained, humus-rich soils to dry, clay soils.

The branches of Coast Coral Tree are armed with prickles, which might serve as protection to herbivores especially when trees are still young. Fully grown trees are fairly drought resistant and can withstand several degrees of frost. In areas where there is severe frost, it may well grow but chances are that they won't flower. The seeds of all erythrinas are said to be poisonous and the leaves of Erythrina caffra are known to have poisoned cattle.

As with all erythrinas, the Coast Coral Tree is easily cultivated by seeds. Another effective and more instant propagation method is by making giant hardwood cuttings called truncheons. These are branches measuring at least 40 mm in diameter. This method works very well and cuttings must be taken just before the trees come out of dormancy which is late winter or early spring.

 Erythrina caffra should be planted in sunny places in well-drained soil. In landscape terms in the milder areas of our region can be used as edging for a patio, or as a specimen plant or in small groups. They can also be used in large rock gardens.


Erythrina is bellong to Fabaceae (legume) family and known as the red genus (erythros which means red and alludes to the bright red flowers and seeds).  The genus Erythrina is a group of shrubs and trees which have their origin is in South Africa, West Indies, Brazil, and Australia. The genus contains over 170 species.

Erythrina lysistemon: Common Coral Tree, is a lovely, small to medium-sized, deciduous tree with a spreading crown and brilliant scarlet red flowers. Height of this showy tree is not more than 10 meters. Naturaly it is found at southern and eastern Africa. Erythrina lysistemon’s dazzling flowers have made it one of the best known and widely grown South African trees. 

The bark is smooth and dark gray to gray-brown. Short, hooked prickles are sparsely and randomly scattered on the trunk and branches. The leaves are trifoliolate (compound leaves with 3 leaflets), and each leaflet is large, usually up to 17 x 18 cm. The common coral tree blooms in early spring and it produces its flowers before its new leaves or just as the leaves begin to show.

The flowers are a beautiful clear scarlet and are carried in short, dense heads, about 9 cm long, on long, thick stalks. The flowers produce abundant nectar that attracts many nectar-feeding birds and insects. The fruit is a slender, black pod that can be 15 cm long and is sharply constricted between the seeds. The pod splits while still attached to the tree to release bright red 'lucky bean' seeds.

Erythrina lysistemon is thought to have both medicinal and magical properties by many people in South Africa. Erythrina lysistemon does contain a large number of alkaloids that are known to be highly toxic, but its use in traditional medicine suggests that they have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Erythrina lysistemon is often confused with Erythrina caffra, the Coast Coral Tree. Erythrina caffra grows in the coastal and riverine fringe forests It is generally taller than Erythrina lysistemon, the flowers are orange-scarlet, and a cream-flowered form is occasionally seen, and the standard petal is shorter and broader so that the stamens stick out of the flower giving it a whiskered look. In most other respects they are very similar, and were in fact regarded as the same variable species for many years and, when not in flower, are difficult to tell apart.

Erythrina lysistemon is a fast-growing, undemanding tree. It does best in fertile, well-aerated and well-drained soils. It is fairly drought-tolerant, but performs better if given water during summer. It is sensitive to cold and grows best in frost free gardens, but will survive in regions with a winter minimum of -7 ºC/20 °F provided protected from frost when young.

Erythrina lysistemon is easily propagated from seed, cuttings and truncheons. Seed is sown in spring and summer, in a well-drained, general-purpose potting soil, placed in a warm but shaded spot and kept moist. Cuttings are best taken in spring to summer, and truncheons in late winter to spring. Truncheons are made from part of or even an entire branch which is left to dry and heal for a few days, then planted into a pot filled with sand or even directly into the soil where the plant is to be grown, and kept damp but not wet. If a plant has to be transplanted, this is best done whilst it is dormant, during winter.

The common coral tree is an excellent specimen tree for gardens and parks and is very effective planted in avenues or for street plantings. It is particularly recommended for that spot in the garden where you need sun in winter and shade in summer.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT April 2010

Cinnamomum: This genus of Lauraceae family, consist of around 250 species of evergreen trees from tropical and subtropical Asia and Australia with smooth, strongly veined leaves. Highly aromatic compounds are present in the leaves, twigs and bark of all species. Most species require tropical or subtropical conditions, with fairly high rainfall, only Cinnamomum camphora is adaptable to warm-temperate climates.


Camphor Tree is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 20–30 meters tall. Cinnamomum camphora is native to Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, where it is also cultivated for camphor and timber production.  Invasive in Australia, Southern USA, Caribbean Islands, Southern Africa and Tanzania, Ghana, Vietnam and Hawaii. Introduced but not invasive in Southern Europe, Madagascar, Canary and Madeira Islands.

The leaves have a glossy, waxy appearance and smell of camphor when crushed. A quick and easy method of identifying camphor is by crushing the leaves or peeling a twig or bark. This will release oils and the scent of camphor. Camphor is an evergreen tree with oval to elliptical leaves, arranged alternately on the stem. Slender twigs are initially green but change to reddish brown. In spring it produces bright green foliage (new emerging ones are red in color) with masses of small white flowers. It produces clusters of black berry-like fruit around one centimetre in diameter. It has a pale bark that is very rough and fissured vertically. Camphora oil was used medicinally and was also an important ingredient in the production of smokeless gunpowder.

 Cinnamomum camphora was introduced to Australia in 1822 as an ornamental tree for use in gardens and public parks. It has been declared a noxious weed in many parts of Queensland and New South Wales. Its massive and spreading root systems disrupt urban drainage and sewerage systems and degrade river banks. Its leaves have a very high carbon content, which damages water quality and freshwater fish habitats when they fall into streams and rivers. The camphor content of the leaf litter helps prevent other plants from germinating successfully. The seeds are attractive to birds and pass intact through the digestive system, ensuring rapid distribution

 Propagate by seed. USDA Hardiness Zone 9B to 11. Camphor trees grow in full sun to partial shade. They tolerate clay, loam, sand, slightly alkaline to acidic soils, and drought. It can take moderate frost, without suffering. We have seen some, in Yalova and İstanbul.

In landscaping terms, they can be planted soliter or in groups as shade trees. Large trees are very like to ficus trees, superior for them, they can be grown in colder climates.  They also can be planted as avenue trees in both sides of the streets.

Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree Cinnamomum camphora. Camphor has been used for many centuries as a culinary spice, a component of incense, and as a medicine. Camphor is also a insect repellent and a flea-killing substance. Today, Camphor is widely used in cooking (mainly for dessert dishes) in India. It is widely available at Indian grocery stores and is labeled as "Edible Camphor".

The resin or gum of karpura that is, the deposits in the oil cells is used for the medicinal purpose. It is useful both, internally as well as externally. Externally, the karpura oil is used for massage in rheumatic disorders, arthritis, myalgia. The swab dipped in its oil, is placed topically, to relieve the dental pain. Karpura is used in many market preparations of various balms, dental and ophthalmic preparations. Internally, karpura is used in various diseases. As it is diaphoretic, emollient, thermogenic, skin and cardiac stimulant, antiseptic, calmative, expectorant and aphrodisiac, it is used in vast range of diseases, in small quantitie.



PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT March 2010

In this article we introduce you to a plant we have been trying for years to raise at the Palm Centre, a highly decorative plant which resembles a palm: Curculigo capitulata or Molineria capitulata, commonly known as Palm Grass.  It is not to be confused with Palm-leafed Grass, Seteria palmefolia, which we shall write about in a separate article in the future.

There are around 20 types of Curculigo which grow naturally in tropical and sub-tropical regions.  They are long-lived plants, growing from rhizomes without any main stem or trunk.

With leaves that can reach 100cm in length this plant grows from a rhizome and lives for many years.  It hails from Indonesia, tropical Asia and Australia.  Despite its tropical origins, it can be grown outside and will withstand light frosts.  Even if such a frost results in it losing its leaves, the rhizome is protected in the soil and, as soon as the weather warms up, the plant will start to grow again.

Its leaves are thin, long and lance-shaped some 2-6cm wide and up to 100cm long. The leaves resemble those of young palms, in particular those of young specimens of the Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffianum).  The dark green leaves feature noticeable long, straight stripes and sparse hairs.

The plant does not have a trunk, the leaves grow straight out from the ground.  Flowers on very short stems are also produced at the base of the plant, and sometimes are almost completely hidden by the leaves.  The flowers are star shaped, yellow and open in the summer months.

Over time the rhizomes of the Palm Grass will multiply and propagation is either by separation of these rhizomes or from seed.

In the wild Curculigo capitulata is one of the plants that grows on the floor of the rain forest, preferring partial shade, humus-rich soil and a damp atmosphere.  In landscape terms in the milder areas of our region, it will grow in shade as an edging plant for paths, or under trees and can even be used to create a feature group.  It is also useful as a container plant for indoor or outdoor use in shade.


PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT February 2010

Cistus or Rock Roses are found in the wild in Turkey, the Canary Islands, Southern Europe and Northern Africa where they grow in stony or rocky environments.  They are a group of around 20 species, all evergreen, and members of the Cistaceae family.  All Cistus feature leaves that grow in pairs on opposite sides of a twig.  The flowers are deep pink or white and have 5 petals.  In generally the flowers only last for one day and open from the end of spring through to the end of the summer.

Five species of Rock Roses are found in Turkiye. White flowered varieties include: Cistus laurifolius, Cistus salviifolius, Cistus monspeliensis (which is only found in Karaburun near Izmir).

A pink flowered variety is found in this country along the southern coast, where it can be seen in the pine forests.  This is Cistus creticus, common Turkish name ‘Laden’ which is often found in Muğla growing alongside the white flowering Cistus salviifolius.

Cistus laurifolius grows near the coast sometimes in deep shade and can withstand the hardest frosts.  As well as being found near to the Mediterranean, it is widespread throughout the Aegean region, in Thrace and even into central Anatolia where it can be found in the mountains around Kızılcahamam and Afyon.  The lowest temperature recorded in Afyon is -270C, which this plant survives, an indication of its hardiness.  At such low temperatures the leaves may turn brown but the plant does not die.

It can grow to a height of 1.5 – 2m.  A flower stem will produce between 3 – 8 flowers and the white flowers have yellow centres.

It isn’t very fussy about soil types, although it does prefer light soil.  It can withstand drought.  It will grow in full sun or under trees.  Propagation is from seed sown in the spring, or from cuttings or root division during the summer.  It should not be pruned hard, indeed too much pruning can kill the plant.

Cistus creticus – Laden: is a true Mediterranean plant.  It is a bit smaller than Cistus laurifolius only reaching a height of about 1 metre.  Each flower stem produces 3 – 5 pinkish-purple flowers again with yellow centres.  From Crete to the eastern Mediterranean it is found near to the shoreline.  In terms of propagation and care it is exactly like the other cistuses.

In landscaping terms the rock roses come into their own, when you are creating a natural, Mediterranean plant garden.  They can be planted in small or large groups in the open or beneath trees.  They can also be used in large rock gardens, and look good planted in a single row to edge a path.  Cistus laurifolius is particularly a good choice for the places with heavy winters.

PEYZAJDA 4. BOYUT January 2010

In 2009 we introduced to you Agave Victoria regina, Agave geminiflora and Agave attenuate.  We start 2010 with another agave which is not well known in this country: Agave desmettiana.

As we have stated previously, the agaves comprise up to 250 varieties of plant and are found in the wild in Mexico, the USA and Central America.  All varieties share thick, meaty, succulent-type leaves which are produced in the form of rosettes.  Most agaves are monocarps – they flower once and then die.  There are over 125 types of agave in Mexico and one of these is Agave desmettiana which has the softest, most elegant leaves of all the agaves.

It’s homeland is Mexico where it is not found in the east of the country.  All of the Agave desmettiana which now grow throughout western USA and Europe originate from the Sartorius Gardens located in El Mirador in Veracruz province.

Mature leaves of this plant form a rosette 60 – 90cm in diameter.  The leaves are wide and soft, harder at the narrow point where they join the trunk of the plant.  The leaves grow upwards and their upper stages take on a spout-like shape within which is a small trough in which water collects.  Leaves can be a range of different greens in colour, from a bright green to a more bluey green.  Most specimens have smooth sided leaves but sometimes a plant will exhibit slightly serrated edges.  The leaves are 50 – 80cm long and width varies from 8 – 20cm.

When Agave desmettiana are planted in the ground they will generally flower 8 – 10 years later.  The flower stem is 250 – 300cm in height with some 20 – 25 side branches.  The flowers are pale green in colour.  After flowering some plants develop aerial bulbs that called bulbils.

This plant is propagated from seed, from bulbs if they are formed, or by splitting off new plants growing from the original.  It does need much water.  Unlike other agaves it doesn’t like full sun.  It thrives in desert-like conditions in part or full shade.  At the same time it will stand the sun in Mediterranean, but will also be happy in the shade.  It can withstand frost down to -40C, lower temperatures kill the plant.

Agave desmettiana is used in landscaping in the same way as Agave attenuata: in groups, as edging for a patio, or as a specimen plant or in small groups within a rock garden.   It is an ideal succulent for temperate areas with its soft, thorn-free leaves.