Taifi rose is a deciduous, perennial shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family. It has a height of 2-2.5 meters. The stems are cylindrical, straight, and has many branches. Its leaves are compound and consist of seven to nine opposite leaflets and one terminal leaflet. The leaves are oval and broad and their margins are serrated. It is observed at the junction of the main petiole with the stem of the membranous earring.
This plant is one of the light-hearted plants. According to climate conditions, its height and the amount of essence is varying, but the essence of this product is between 0.15% to 0.30%, so it is considered one of the best product in the region. The best temperature for more flowering is 26℃. Temperatures higher than 38℃ reduce the quality and quantity of flower production. Since the soil of the Al-Hada and Al-Shafa regions are the best soil in terms of ventilation and organic matter, this plant grows and develops perfectly. The best pH for its growth is between 5.6 to 7.
This plant is generally propagated by cuttings and the best time to produce cuttings is in December. The cuttings are produced from one-year old bunches with a length of 80cm to 100cm and are cultivated directly in main ground, but some farmers are producing the Taifi rose seedling under the green houses at early stage. This plant is irrigated alternately every five days until month of April. The harvesting season begins with the beginning of summer, specifically on the twentieth of March, and lasts between 35 and 45 days. The beginning of the harvest varies every year, from 10 to 15 days. The rose tree reaches its peak production in the third week from the beginning of production, and it begins to blossom a year after planting it. One plant can produce an average of fifty roses. The production of one bottle of rose perfume requires about 12,000 roses.
This is the only one of the old industries in Taif that has preserved its existence, having been passed down from parents and grandparents.
Rose farmers market it in the form of different products which are either manufactured in factories available in the region or through outsourcing from outside factories, or others in laboratories within their farms using the old traditional method that extract its water and perfume.
The Taifi rose is an accompaniment to some dishes, and because of its pleasant aroma, it is used in seasonings that are added to meat, chicken, and rice dishes. It is also used in making jams for its delicious flavor. Also, a little rosewater can be added to tea and drinking water, so it improves the taste.
The benefits of the Taifi rose are many as it strengthens the heart and teeth, and if it is combined with honey or sugar, it can help settle one’s stomach. Rosewater is refreshing and pleasant, not to mention that it can help to alleviate headaches and allergies. It also has a good flavor if it is added to drinking water or rose leaves are added to tea.
The history of cultivation and using of rose flower goes back to 2700 BCE, and later was brought to Europe and Africa.
Historical evidence shows that 1,400 years ago, after the Arab Muslim’s army attack on the Persian Empire for the development of Islam, rosewater was presented as a gift to the leader of Muslim armies, and later, this plant was renamed in the Persian region to Gul-e- Mohammadi in honor of the name of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the Prophet of Islam. Over time, after realizing the importance of this plant during the Caliphate of Usman bin Affan in 579-656, it was transferred to Arab countries, especially in Saudi Arabia. So since the Taif climate conditions are suitable for rose flower cultivation, it became a common product among them. However, some evidence is clarified that the cultivation of this plant was introduced from Persia during the reign of Sultan Salim I, in 1517 in Taif. However, the rose probably arrived in this land in the second half of the fourteenth century, brought by Turkish traders. In fact, the seeds of the Taifi rose are similar to those of the varieties that can be found in Turkey, Bulgaria, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, or India.
Al-Hada, which is located between Taif and Makkah, is the most famous area for rose cultivation and is the best of all, followed by Wadi Muharram, Wadi Al-Ghadirin, then Al-Shafa, Al-Aqilah, the county of Al-Tuwairq, and Al-Duhaya. Others come from the slopes overlooking Tihama from the west and south of Taif, especially in the county of Al-Aila, and Rabi`, and Maysan in Al-Harith, and Bani Malik and Thaqif.
The Tantora Festival, a cultural event held every year in the ancient city of AlUla, celebrates the traditions linked to the cultivation and processing of Taif roses with decorations throughout the province, markets and exhibitions, live shows, and performances of various kinds. Furthermore, about 500 million roses are produced, from which 12,000 roses are cooked independently and produce about 25 liters of rosewater. 40,000 tons of rosewater are produced annually. This a product that is affected by global warming and irresponsible harvesting (for example, using the roots as toothbrushes) that are related to the traditions of specific regions and culture.
Lack of rainwater in the area and the absence of groundwater causes problems, as agriculture depends on rain, and roses will not grow if it does not rain. Furthermore, weather fluctuations and frost waves experienced recently in the area destroy the rose crops. Urban expansion in the region and the use of agricultural land for construction have caused some farmers to stop planting roses, and are considering new projects. Globalization and people moving away from traditional practices is another factor for which this product is at risk of extinction.
The selection of the products is supported by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with Azka Foods, Saudi ArabiaBack to the archive >