Sidr Tree

Ark of taste
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السدر

The Sidr tree is long-lived, with a maximum age ranging from 300 to 400 years. It is dense, with falling leaves and widespread distribution. Its height varies depending on the region, and some can grow to over 20 meters, with branches reaching 12 to 15 meters. Its leaves are broad, oval-shaped, short, and green in color, with a thick cuticle. The fruit is cherry-like, measuring between 2 to 5 centimeters. It has a smooth and shiny texture. When unripe, it is light green in color and is firm with a slightly sweet and acidic taste. After full maturity, the fruit turns purplish-black, and it becomes soft, sweet, and juicy. It contains 3 to 4 seeds. The tree also has small flowers known as “Sidr flowers” with a color ranging between white and yellow. The flowers form in the axils of the leaves, with a number ranging from 10 to 15 flowers. The tree itself, with its leaves and fruits, has a distinct light fragrance, like the aroma of herbs such as henna.

Ever since the past, the leaves of the Sidr tree are still dried by exposing them to the sun for about four days. The dried leaves are then ground and mixed with water to create a green-colored solution used for bathing. It is also used in the same way for washing the deceased, a traditional prophetic practice used for its beneficial properties and pleasant scent that lingers on the body.

The fruit is traditionally consumed raw and fresh, like apples. It is highly beneficial, and in the past, it was specifically given to pregnant women for its numerous benefits. It was also considered a staple food for caravans, travelers, and nomads who took advantage of the tree by sleeping under its shade during their journeys.
Bees feed on the flowers to produce Sidr honey. In the past, the thin tree bark was used to prepare a drink to relieve pain and reduce fever by boiling it and then straining it. The wood of the Sidr tree was used for firewood and in constructing dwellings because it is very strong. Among its medicinal benefits, recent research has shown that consuming Sidr fruit helps reduce symptoms of constipation in adults, such as bloating, stomach pain, and difficulty in bowel movements.

The Sidr tree is a wild, long-lived tree that is found in nature and is commonly found in Makkah and Madinah valleys. Nowadays, some people plant it in private farms and gardens to benefit from its shade and produce, to prevent soil erosion, and to use it as windbreaks. Apart from its intolerance to low temperatures, the Sidr tree has deep roots and can withstand high temperatures and harsh environmental conditions. They thrive in sandy soil, indicating their tolerance to drought. Generally, they grow in hot and moderate areas and in various types of soil as long as the groundwater level is not too high. While the leaves of the Sidr tree can be used at any time, the fruiting season is typically between April and June when they are manually handpicked. In the wild, Sidr trees rely on groundwater for irrigation. However, cultivated trees in private farms and gardens are watered manually approximately once a week throughout the year.

In the customs and traditions of ancient tribes, the Sidr tree was considered property of the community and the cutting or harming of the Sidr tree was strictly prohibited and they would protect it from any harm or damage. It was a sacred tree mentioned four times in the Quran, including in Surah An-Najm, verses 14-16. The verse signifies the blessing of the Sidr tree, as Allah (God) has mentioned it in the highest levels of Paradise, near the Throne of the Most Merciful. Additionally, the mention of the Sidr tree in the hadith (the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him)) is evidence of its use in washing the deceased during funeral rites.

The hadith emphasizes the use of water and Sidr (likely referring to the leaves or extract of the Sidr tree) in the ritual washing of the deceased. It also instructs not to cover the head of the deceased, as they will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection.

In nature, the biggest problem the Sidr tree faces is water scarcity. Sometimes, due to neglect, the tree can be attacked by pests such as the palm tree borer, which can cause the death of the tree if no treatment is given. In addition to these problems, the new generations are unaware of the value of the Sidr tree and are not interested in knowing its traditional uses.

The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia.
In collaboration with Azka Farms, Saudi Arabia.

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Territory

StateSaudi Arabia
Region

Al Madinah

Production area:Area of Wadi Al –Dawasir

Other info

Categories

Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Mutasem AbuZnada and Turky Al-gahtani