Fine for plucking peony nears $10,000
The General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks has announced a fine of 80,465 Turkish Liras ($9,500) against individuals who pluck peonies, a variety of flowers declared as the symbol of the southern province of Antalya.
If peonies are plucked from their natural habitat for commercial use by a company, then the fine will be tripled.
Also found in some central and eastern Anatolian provinces, peonies are mainly found in Turkey’s Beydağları Mountains.
Some trekking groups especially organize trips to the Hisarçandır Ekizce’s hilly region to photograph these rare flowers that blossom in April.
“Peonies bud out in March and blossom in April. We come to the upland to photograph the beauty,” Ömer Faruk Gülşen, the head of Lykia Mountains Trekking Group, told Demirören News Agency on May 14.
“There is a peony society in Belgium. Every April, we send them photos, and they exhibit our Antalya peony on their website,” he added.
Nusret Yakışıklı is another head of a trekking group who is in favor of the measures taken to protect this endemic flower.
“As far as we know, an old quarry in the region will be reopened. If this is true, then I am sorry for Antalya and these plants,” said Yakışıklı, the founder of the Path Group.
“We are not against the quarries, but it will damage the habitat,” he added.
According to a classical myth, peony was named after an ancient doctor named Paeon, who brought the flower from China. The fame of the flower rapidly spread after Homer cured Pluto, the ruler of the underworld, with a peony.
However, it took centuries for peonies to meet the gardens of Europe as the first peony was planted in England in the 18th century after a British ambassador brought it from China.