Monday, 22 March 2010

PLANT: Aristolochia guichardii at Tlos, Turkey

March 25, 2009:
Species within the genus Aristolochia, are amongst the most striking and bizarre flowering plants in Europe due there large, often curved tubular flowers. This is the reason why they are referred to as 'Dutchman's Pipes'. A few members of the genus occur in southern Europe but Turkey is a particularly important centre of distribution for the non-tropical members of the genus.

Aristolochia guichardii (above and below)

Its corolla tube possesses long tapering eglandular hairs both on the outside and within

It is locally frequent in southern Turkey on limestones soils. Being a low-growing plant it avoids strong competition and is often found in light scrub where it sprawls amongst the sparse vegetation. The flowers are not always readily apparent as they can occur low down on the plant and so be concealed by the leaves.

Here at Tlos, famous for its ancient earthworks, there were several populations already well into flower in late March.

Open species-rich limestone slopes, the typical habitat of A. guichardii at Tlos

Aristolochia lycica:
Two days earlier. at another site in Turkey near Göcek, there was a single plant of the scarce Aristolochia lycica (below) growing in light coniferous woodland. Unfortunately, this wasn't in flower but could be identified by its unusual leaf shape.

Habitat of A. lycica amongst conifers at Göcek.

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