J was very kind me today (as she is most days, I hasten to add) and, with the sun shining on the dew and ‘jewels’ of light clinging to the tips of leaves and branches, she agreed to join me on one of my short staggers in the forest.
Not far from the house there lies one of Okçular’s hidden valleys. A narrow cut, carved by torrents of water that once-upon-a-time flowed from here, it remains largely undisturbed by human activity. In times past there was a working water reservoir or sarniç which has now almost disappeared back into the earth from which it was hewn. The image below will give you an inkling of what it would once have looked like.
As one walks into the valley the rock ‘walls’ rear above until the sky is little more than a blue brush stroke. The sun barely penetrates the deep shadows and that provides a near-perfect environment for one of nature’s little gems – Cyclamen alpinus (formally known as C. trochoperanthum). Although prolific in our beautiful Kocadere Valley for example it is not a widely distributed species. In its natural environment its overall distribution is confined to Muğla, Denizli and parts of NW Antalya provinces, a relatively small geographic area in SW Turkey. However, in its unnatural environment, it swarms the garden centres and gardens of northern Europe.
Its original Latin name C. trochoperanthum is, I believe, linked to the way the petals reflex only about 90* instead of 180* and then twisting slightly. This gives the flower a propeller-like or windmill-like appearance.
The flowers range in colour from purest white to deep pink/purple and, as with most cyclamen, the plants are most easily identified by the markings on their leaves – which is about all there is to see at this time of year. Mind you, give it a few weeks and they’ll be peeking out at you from under shrubs and from crevices all around this area.
So, there you have it – an invitation to wander in our forests in a few weeks time with an air of great expectation that you will be able to admire (I know you would never dream of collecting them for your garden) these retiring little beauts.
Alan in Okçular