ENDEMIC PLANTS AND EFFECT ON HONEY QUALITY

Honey is an extremely important and even miraculous food source that has attracted great attention as both food and medicine throughout the history of civilization. Well, do you know that different plants have a different effect on the taste, color and content of honey? If you've noticed honey names like wildflower, clover, or orange blossom on honey labels; you may have asked yourself this question. The answer to the question is of course yes. The kinds of flowers and especially the endemic plants visited by bees have distinctive features and can create serious differences in the quality of honey. In this article, we talk about the importance of plants for bees, what an endemic plant means, its importance in the formation of honey content and the black honey that comes to your table from endemic plants in Mount Ida.


The Importance Plants for Bees: Monofloral and Polyfloral honeys


If you have had the chance to try different honeys, you have noticed that each one has different flavors. The main reason for this is that flowering plants from which bees collect nectar and pollen have different taste profiles. When bees feed mainly on one type of plant, the honey they produce is called "monofloral" and produces a more consistent taste profile. “Polifloral” honey, on the other hand, is a type of honey that is produced from many plant species and therefore contains different aromas depending on the variety of nectar it contains.


Nectar sources that produce the most attractive and quality honey for bees; blackberry blossoms, fruit and citrus trees, flowering shrubs, clover and other wildflowers, as well as secretions on oak trees or pines. Due to the different pollen sizes of honey produced from flowering plants, the irregularity of molecular attraction may cause crystallization in cold weather. Secretion honey, on the other hand, is the honey produced by bees by collecting the secretions of trees or insects on it, not from flower pollen. They are darker in color than flower honey and can be stored for a long time without crystallization.


What is an Endemic Plant?


Plant species that live in a certain region and do not spread in other areas of the earth are called endemic plants, and this event is called endemism. The area of ​​an endemic species may be a continent, region or locality. For example, African endemics, Mount Ida endemics, Eastern Black Sea endemics. In other words, endemic areas can be mentioned at the continental scale, as well as narrower endemic areas. For this reason, the field of endemic species may concern narrow areas as well as very large areas.


Most of the plants spreading on the earth have undergone a development and change process depending on the geological development process of the earth. Until today; There have been changes in the surface forms and climatic zones, especially in the distribution of land and seas. For this reason, it is possible to explain the distribution areas of similar plant species seen in areas far from each other, not with today's geographical conditions, but according to the geographical conditions of the period when the distribution area occurred. Climate changes during geological periods also had a significant impact on the richness of vegetation and endemism in some areas.


The number of endemic plants in Turkey is around 3649 and their ratio to all plants grown in country is 31.82%. When the number of endemic plants in Turkey is compared with European countries, this rate is quite high. The old lands of Anatolia, especially the Mount Ida massif (old mass), are special areas that attract attention in terms of endemism. Approximately 800 plant taxa naturally grow in Kaz Mountains and 86 of them are endemic to Turkey. 31 of these endemic species are local endemics spreading only in Mount Ida. Some of them attract attention with their flamboyant colorful flowers, which open in early spring and some in autumn, with their elegant stance and pleasant scent.


Endemic Plants in Kaz Mountains


Mount Ida which is the region that produces the most oxygen in the world after the Alps, is floristically located between two regions. Thanks to being the intersection point of different floristic regions, it is home to extremely unique and diverse plants. It is a region that attracts the attention of all countries of the world due to its climate and its rare flora, and it is a region that is agreed to be protected. The importance of these unique plants is great in the medicinal content of black honey produced in the region. Some endemic plants of Mount Ida:

  • Fir of Mount Ida is located on the mountain slopes. Its leaves and cones are a source of healing.

  • You can see centaury of Mount Ida blooming on the rocks at the beginning of summer and the beginning of autumn.

  • Wild Garlic grows on rocky slopes. The most important feature is that it delays tissue aging.

  • You can see Hünkar Begendi in Mount Ida between May and June.

  • Cornflower can be seen in bloom on the slopes of Mount Ida in July and September.

  • Crocus of Mount Ida is flowers of different colors that bloom in April and May. They live at an altitude of 1250-1300 meters.

  • Flax blooms in June and July. It grows in rocky areas.

  • Foxglove also grows in the Mount Ida, it is a medicinally valuable plant.

  • Yogurt Grass is used by local people for many health problems.


Endemic Plants and Quality of Honey


Honey varieties; They differ greatly in color, water, sugar, minerals, depending on the flower source from which they are produced. Honey produced from Chestnut, Oak, Linden and endemic plants of the region in Mount Ida is known as "dark honey". Thanks to the bioactive compounds in its content, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, amino acids and proteins, which give this honey its dark color, its antioxidant capacity is much higher than its counterparts. There is a significant increase in the quality of honey due to its richer content compared to other honeys.


Studies have shown that dark honeys; shows that it contains less water and more nutrients than honey with a lighter color. The color of honey, which varies according to its botanical origin and the weather conditions of the place where the plants are grown is in dark tones meaning that its mineral content (for example, potassium, manganese, iron, sodium, etc.) is higher than other light-colored honeys.


Dark honey, known for its powerful medicinal properties; It is a natural alternative to medical drugs in the treatment of ailments such as cough, flu, infections, skin problems and low immunity. It is also much more effective than its counterparts in combating free radicals responsible for triggering diseases such as the aging process, cancer, hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes.

So the next time someone offers you Dark Honey, don't rush to judge its taste. Accept it with pleasure and consume it even if you don't like the taste. It's likely to contain some really healthy stuff!



References

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Avcı, M. (2005). Çeşitlilik ve endemizm açısından Türkiye’nin bitki örtüsü", İstanbul Üniversitesi Edebiyat Fakültesi Coğrafya Bölümü Coğrafya Dergisi, 13 (27-55).

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