Mythological Trees

Sweetgum, one of the oldest trees in the world, is found only on the southwestern Anatolia and Rhodes Island. It is also known as “günlük tree” in Turkey. The sweetgum tree, which grows in wet environments, forms pure and mixed forests especially between Fethiye and Marmaris in Turkey. Sweetgum resin has a medicinal and aromatic use since ancient times. It is said that Cleopatra owes her beauty secrets to this tree. Cleopatra used sweetgum oil for perfume, care and healing purposes.

While the medicinal aromatic sweetgum oil was used as medicine by Hippocrates, the ancient Egyptians used it for embalming. Amphoras extracted from sunken Phoenician ships and filled with sweetgum oil show that sweetgum oil occupies an important place in the Mediterranean trade in the past. Latin scientific name of sweetgum is Liquidambar orientalis.The Arabic word “amber” means “odorous”.

A tree that was so famous in ancient times took its place in Greek mythology. Clytie and Leucothoe are two beautiful sisters. Although countless handsome young men walk around, they fall in love with the Sun God Apollo, who warms them all day long. But Apollo is only interested in Leucothoe. One night he enters the girls ‘room in the guise of the girls’ mother. After the others leave, Apollo shows Leucothoe his true self. Apollo spends the night with him. Noticing these two lovers, Clytie becomes jealous and tells her father Orchamus. His father is so angry that he buries Leucothoe alive. Apollo finds out too late. When he arrived, Leucothoe was already dead. Apollo can’t bring back his lover to life whatever he does. He transforms it into a sweetgum tree, a healing and odorous tree, with all his divine power. Since that day laural tree heals all wounds and gives beauty secrets to young girls.

Sweetgum tree can be seen in the city and hotel landscapes in Antalya.