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The high Lycian Taurus – run by Greentours & ViraNatura for the AGS

The diversity of the flora found in the highest ridges of the Lycian Taurus beggars belief. One mountain alone has as many species of plants as the whole of the UK! The wonderful bright blue hedgehogs of Asyneuma junceum dot dry ridgetops among Pedicularis cadmea, Muscari bourgaei and mats of Androsace villosa. By snow patches we’ll find the stars of Merendera attica, Eranthis hyemalis, Scilla bifolia as well as colchicums and gageas. Leaders: Ian Green & Chris Gardner
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The terrain gives us clues as to why there are so many species. The Lycian Taurus is a series of high ridges rucked up like a rug on a stone floor as the African plate pushes northwards under the Anatolian plate. The ridges reach around 2500m above sea level or more and each is separated by wide inter-montane basins, wide enough to effectively separate populations. These are east-west aligned and so the north and south facing slopes develop very different floras.

Then there’s the deep river canyons super-imposed on the landscape cutting through the ridges offering never-ending new niches. And finally there’s the geology, everywhere is either limestone or serpentinite, those two super- breeders of botanical diversity.

Among a plethora of diminutive alpines are a large number of truly beautiful plants. The wonderful bright blue hedgehogs of Asyneuma junceum dot dry ridgetops among Pedicularis cadmea, Muscari bourgaei and mats of Androsace villosa. By snow patches we’ll find the stars of Merendera attica, Eranthis hyemalis, Scilla bifolia and Cochicums and Gageas. The tessellated bells of Fritillaria whitallii emerge from the base of cliffs plastered in all manner of lovely plants including some gorgeous cushion Brassicaceae and the sky-blue Omphalodes luciliae. Mats of Saponaria pumilio grow amongst tufts of Papaver pilosum and huge clumps of purple Aubretias. There’s elegant Asynuemamichauxoides, lovely mats of Lotus aegeus, any number of pretty little peas including furry Ebenus boissieri. Of course in Turkey there’s never a shortage of pretty knapweeds and cornflowers, here Cyanus bourgaei and Centaurea kotschyi.

Screes are a special feature of these mountains and are not always steep! There are many obligate scree dwellers here including such beauties as Lamium cymbalrifolium and Hesperis kotschyii, as well as Viola crassifolia, Ricotia davisii and the lovely Ranunculus brevifolius.

Roads and tracks can take us very near the tops of these mountains but nonetheless this is tour for those that wish to hike a bit more.

For more information visit Viranatura 

For more information visit Greentours