PHOENIX SPP. AND OTHER ORNAMENTAL PALMS IN TURKEY: THE THREAT FROM RED PALM WEEVIL AND RED PALM SCALE INSECTS
Phoenix theophrasti is the only palm species native to Turkey and it exists in small numbers in only a few locations along the Mediterranean Coast. Other Phoenix species and other palms are mainly grown in Turkey for environmental and ornamental purposes in house gardens, public gardens, parks and as street plantings. The common usage of palms in landscaping highlights their economic importance for the country, especially in coastal tourism areas. Date palms grown in Turkey produce fruits which are small in size, of low nutritional value and with little sugar content due to insufficiently warm temperatures to ripen fruit. Adult date palm trees were imported into the country, mainly from Egypt, until 2005, when imports ceased to prevent further introduction of red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, which has become a serious threat to Phoenix and other palms. The other major insect problem is red palm scale insect Phoenicococcus marlatti. Measures are being taken to control these two pests. The limiting of palm imports has stimulated seed propagation of palms within Turkey.