Incredible Okçular!

Jewel In The Crown

Brrrr! By Jove, it’s bloody cold in our corner of SW Turkey. The wind is whistling in from ‘Siberia’ and the clear skies mean there was quite a frost last night up our little valley; it is not a day to be out and about. Generally, our winters here are mild and gentle which manifests itself as a long and colourful springtime.

Flowers abound with one particular species front and centre at this time – Anemone coronaria the Crown Anemone. Walking around the area, especially if you are using the maps and guide notes in ‘Okçular Village – a Guide’ and ‘Backways and Trackways’, is a feast for the eyes with great swathes of multi-coloured anemones wherever you look.

Crown Anemones are native to the Mediterranean region and have had a special place in the various cultures for thousands of years. The Sumerians (3000BCE) named them for their god, Nea’man; the Greeks for Adonis, who died of wounds whilst hunting wild boar and was transformed into a flower stained red by his blood. In Hebrew its name is ‘Calanit’ or ‘Kalanit’, and there is even a link to my old mob, the Parachute Regiment. As the British Mandate for Palestine wound down in bloodshed and ignominy, the Paras serving there were nicknamed ‘Kalaniyot’ for their red berets.

For me, the joy of this flower lies in its profusion and the staggering range of hues of varying intensity – from purple through to palest blue; from scarlet to palest pink to pure white.

Anemone coronaria

There is also an ‘albino’ where even the stamen and stigma are white; these are not very common around here, although there are enough that I could guarantee to show you some in Kocadere Valley. That said, I’ve never seen any elsewhere.

Anemone coronaria

a beautiful white anemone, compare it with the ‘albino’ below

So, ‘Why’, I hear you ask, ‘aren’t you well wrapped up and out there admiring these jewels?’ Because, dear reader, with a flowering period of over three months I can toast my toes by the fire, read a book or write a post and wait for this bitter north wind to blow itself out.

Anemone coronaria

Then I shall wander around, find a warm, sun-dappled spot, and soak up one of the most beautiful and colourful sights in all of nature – countless wild, un-fiddled with ‘Jewel in the Crown Anemones’ set against the backdrop of Okçular’s Kocadere Valley.

'albino' Crown Anemone


Kocadere’s beautiful ‘albino’ Crown Anemone

Anemone coronaria (double) 01_1

naturally occurring double anemone

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

20 thoughts on “Jewel In The Crown

  1. Alan – it’s almost 8.30 a.m. and I have to say opening your Blog has set my tone for the day. Looking at your beautiful photographs of the Anemones has brought me so much pleasure!
    Thank you and see you both soonish hopefully.

  2. Alan, your post gives us the hope that yes, this blasted weather will finally be over some day. Yesterday, our walk was ruined when one of us fell on our fannies on the ice. Ouch! We should have been toasting our tootsies by our electric heater (alas, no fire). The photos are gorgeous. Especially love the red.

    1. Geçmiş olsen! That’s a bit ‘rrruff’ on a senior dog! The heavy frost here has ice on puddles and some of J’s plants have taken a knock.

  3. Oh my. So lovely – thanks for sharing. We have just returned, reluctantly, to Istanbul from a long weekend with many excellent hikes in the Kapadokya region. These pictures aren’t helping my wistfulness to be out of the city!

    1. . . if you like winter hikes then you’ll love it around here, especially Jan-April-early May. The orchids will be starting soon!

    1. . . we sit on the cusp betwixt Aegean and Med – have the second highest rainfall in Turkey and a really mild climate apart from 2-3 months of summer. Here the anemones usually begin early December (that said we were seeing them late November 2 years ago) and last through till March. This cold snap has set them back a bit but a couple of sunny days and they’ll be showing off again!

  4. Hi Alan,
    You’re right, it’s well below freezing down here in Fethiye too. It has given me the opportunity to catch up with my reading though. Not too many of those beautiful anemones round here but thousands of cyclamen seemingly sprouting from solid rock! Thanks for the nicely focused photos.

    1. Hello Tony, good to hear from you again. We were with an organic farmer friend today and everywhere there was standing water including troughs it was frozen solid. Interesting how far you are behind us, our cyclamen are all done and dusted!

  5. Hi Alan! What amazing photos! Beautiful! I’ve never seen the fabled fields of wild flowers in Turkey that one hears about but I certainly wld like to!
    Through your nifty little button, I have succeeded in finding the lovely Senior Dogs – many thanks!

    1. Hello Claudia, lovely to have you visit again! Finding the fields of flowers requires you to be here at the right time (bit of a ‘Dooh!’ statement, sorry). Okcular Jan-May; Erzurum in the east in June. The roadsides east from Ankara and the high meadows are a delight May-June.
      So glad you’ve found the ‘Dogs’, They are delightful folks with a great empathy for people – you’ll love reading there posts.

  6. Those are lovely! We’ve seen different anemones here in different seasons. Maybe we’re not good at telling one kind from another. We saw lots of cyclamen last time we went walking but it’s been cold here too. -2 on the back terrace last night. So we’re staying in and keeping warm where possible.

    1. Good morning! You will have A coronaria; A blanda (usually blue(ish) with slim multiple petals) higher up. Being a bit further north you may also get A pavonina which looks similar to A coronaria but with less pronounced reproductive bits – flowers May-April. Good hunting 🙂

  7. Never seen an albino or a double one before. Lovely. We always make the effort to go to Kayaköy in February when these little flowers are out. So pretty to see them in the wild.

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