Flora and vegetation. – European Turkey must be distinguished from Asian Turkey. In the first, the flora and vegetation are part of the Balkan domain and for this reason we refer to the Salcanic entry, region. As regards the Asian part, four regions can be distinguished: 1. coastal region; 2. region of the spots; 3. region of mountain forests; 4. region of the high steppes.
The coastal region occupies a very limited space, especially in the western and southern areas, since here the mountains push into the sea and therefore the coasts are steep and rocky. On the sandy beaches and dunes – where they exist – grow the halophilous and psammophilous plants found throughout the Mediterranean region. At the mouths of rivers, where swampy stretches are formed which dry up in summer, the following grow: Beta vulgaris var. maritima, Suaeda fruticosa, Juncus acutus, Plantago maritima, Statice limonium ; in some places there are bushes of tamerisks and here and there also scanty individuals of Pinus pinaster. Where, on the other hand, the rocky coasts fall sheer to the sea, there are algae, lichens, mosses, some Statice, Crithum maritimum, Euphorbia paralias, etc. Almost all psammophytes (43 out of 49) and halophytes (62 out of 83) that live on the coasts of Greece are found on these beaches.
The region of the spots extends inland up to 300-400 msm, sometimes even up to 600 m. The constituents of the spots are always represented by dwarf woody plants, very ramified, often growing very close, so as to form almost impenetrable clusters of vegetation. For Turkey 2011, please check internetsailors.com.
Alongside the scrub, in the innermost countries of western Asia Minor, there is another formation which is similar to that which in Greece is called phrygana ; it mostly consists of bushes about 30 cm tall, shrubs or fruit trees often equipped with quills or thorns. There is no shortage of some Colchian-Caucasian elements. In the innermost area of the country the cypress is characteristic. Sometimes in the scrubland there are tall woods, which however have absolutely secondary importance: they are made up of hornbeam, chestnut, poplar, elm and in the undergrowth there are two pontic species of rhododendrons.
In the region of the mountain forests, the wood formations acquire great importance, because on the slopes of the mountains – generally above 500 m. – the higher humidity allows a great development of the woods that go up to 1100-1300 msm.
Mixed woods are rare; on the other hand, pure broad-leaved and coniferous trees are more frequent. The deciduous forests are made up of oaks: the soil of the oak forests has no woody elements of undergrowth and is covered with grasses and other herbaceous plants. Higher up, Fagus orientalis forms vast beech woods and rhododendrons are found in the undergrowth. The coniferous forests consist of pine trees mixed with Juniperus drupacea and oxycedrus, Abies pectinata. In the eastern Pontus the Picea are mixed with the beeches, but these do not go west of Kulakkaya. The highest slopes of the mountains of the southern coasts are covered with coniferous forests. The abundance of the two rhododendrons means that at the time of flowering the yellow and red-purple or violet colors of the flowers constitute a magnificent ornament of the Pontic mountains: perhaps the development of these plants is secondary and only rarely are they mixed with other shrub elements. In the eastern Pontus between 1800 and 2000 m. in the northern exposures there are formations of bushes of Rhododendron caucasicum.
On the mountains bordering the steppe plateau, on the edges of the pine forests, there are formations of Pinus nigra var. pallescens, the development of which is due to particular climatic conditions combined with a greater quantity of calcium in the soil.
Sometimes the mountains also grow scrub or scrub and above all in the deep ravines of north-eastern Anatolia there are all degrees of passage from scrub to scrub and wood.
Also in the steppe there is a special tree formation of Juniperus excelsa.
The steppe region, which occupies the plateaus of Anatolia, has particular characteristics depending on the constitution of the soil and the different plant elements give it different physiognomies. Here and there are decaying bushes of Cotoneaster nummularia, Rhamnus petiolaris or groups of Daphne oleoides and Juniperus nana. The latter go as far as the Alpine region. In the fields and meadows there is a ruderal flora of Grasses, Crucifers, Papaveraceae, Ranuncolaceae, Solanaceae, etc. In the mountain area the important and characteristic tree is the pyramidal poplar (Populus nigra var. Italica); in humid places also live elms, willows and some Tamarix.
Of great importance are the brackish steppes, which are found in the interior of Anatolia near the great salt lake Tuzlu Göl and which form a vast brackish desert up to Conia: they are covered with halophilic vegetation.
Comparing this internal halophilous vegetation with the coastal one, it can be seen that there are no notable differences and therefore little influence is exercised by the altitude on the sea. In the steppe region the crops are poorly developed and consist mainly of cereals, in whose fields there is an adventitious flora of Ranuncolaceae, Crucifers, Papaveraceae, Leguminosae, Umbrelliferae, etc.
The mountain bush of the inland Anatolian regions recalls in its appearance the decumbent woody pinatas of the Alps: it consists of Quercus coccifera and syriaca, Juniperus drupacea, foetidissina and oxycedrus, Ilex. agnifolium, Berberis crataegina, Pirus telaeagnifolia, Prunus prostrata, Cotoneaster nummularia, Acer tataricum and hircanum, some Cistus (among these, C. laurifolius goes up to 1500 m.).
In the high mountains of Anatolia, at 2500-2600 msm, there is an alpine vegetation with Nardus stricta, Polygonum alpinum, Myosotis alpestris, Oxyria digyna.
In the Anatolian steppes the waters are of completely secondary importance: the most notable river is the Kïzïl Ïrmak, which carries water even in the heart of summer; on its banks grow Salix alba, Eleagnus hortensis, Tamarix Pallasii and tetrandra, plane trees and pyramidal poplars.
In the valleys along the water courses, small marshy areas form here and there where many hydrophilic plants of central Europe grow, such as Phragmites communis, Carex divisa, Scirpus lacustris, Heleocharis lacustris, Alisma plantago, Bustomus umbellatus, Beckmannia cruciformis, Glyceria fluitans, Juncus glaucus, Lythrum salicaria, Mentha aquatica, Veronica anagallis.
Fauna. – The fauna of Turkey consists of Mediterranean-oriental elements. Mammals include many species of bats, insectivores, such as moles, hedgehogs; of Carnivores: viverre, bears, hyenas, jackals; of Rodents: hares, porcupines, squirrels and finally of ungulates of the group of antelopes, deer, suidae. Well represented is the ornithological fauna with numerous stationary forms and the herpetological one with various species of tortoises, lizards, snakes.
Equally interesting are the numerous species of invertebrates that populate the region and particularly the numerous forms of insects that live in the mountainous massifs of Anatolia.