Included here is the arid and semi-arid parts of central Anatolia including the Anatolian Plateau. Surrounding mountains give the region a bowl-like configuration – a feature that has helped to keep the area isolated.

Central Anatolian Achillea wilhelmsii-Artemisia santonicum Salt Steppe

Salt steppe vegetation dominated by Acillea wilhelmsii and Artemisia santonicum can be found on salty soils around Tuz and Seyfe lakes at altitudes ranging from 960-1000 m. Other characteristic species include Allium pseudoflavum, A. scabriflorum, Anthemis fumariifolia, Krascheninnikovia ceratoides, Reaumuria alternifolia and the endemic Acantholimon halophilum (Plumbaginaceae), Alyssum blepharocarpum (Brassicaceae) and Verbascum helianthemoides (Scrophulariaceae).

Central Anatolian Saltmarsh

Central Anatolia has many lakes and several of these are surrounded by saltmarsh including Tuz Lake (Konya-Ankara-Aksaray), Seyfe Lake (Kirsehir) and Yay Lake (Sultansazligi, Kayseri). These halophytic communities support some of the highest levels of endemism of any habitat in the BioProvince especially Tuz Lake. Studies at Yay Lake and other sites show that these saltmarshes can usually be divided into three zones – an inner zone usually dominated by Salicornia europaea where salt levels are at a maximum, a middle zone often dominated by Salsol macera where there are intermediate levels of salinity and an outer zone sometimes dominated by the endemic Petrosimonia nigdeensis (Chenopodiaceae). Apart from the common saltmarsh plant Halocnemum strobilaceum the inner zone supports few other species but there are no endemic taxa. Vegetation cover varies from 10-80% depending on salinity, and its width can vary from narrow zones where there are relatively steep slopes to zones extending for kilometers with very gradual slopes. Further studies at Tuz Lake and Seyfe Lake, for example, shows that the middle zone can be divided into two physiognomic types. In areas where surface water is not available Chenopodiaceae and Plumbaginaceae dominate with many succulent dwarf shrubs and small herbaceous species. The most common of these are Frankenia hirsuta, Halimione verrucifera, Puccinellia convoluta and the endemic Lepidium caespitosa (Brassicaceae), Limonium iconicum (Plumbaginaceae) and Salsola stenoptera (Chenopodiaceae). In fact, up to 21% of this flora is endemic. Where standing water occasionally occurs Poaceae and Juncaceae mainly dominate with tall herbaceous species, such as Inula aucherana, Juncus heldreichianus, J. maritima and the endemic Elymus elongata subsp. salsus (Poaceae) and Puccinellia convoluta subsp. anatolica (Poaceae) being prominent. Endemism here can be as high as 32%. The outer zone, which can be described as salty steppe (see above), is transitional between halophytic and glycophytic (non-halophytic) communities. One of the main species is Artemisia santonicum, while other common species include Achillea wilhelmsii, Alhagi pseudalhagi, Apera intermedia, Noaea mucronata and Peganum harmala. Endemism in this zone ranges from 17-23%. 


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