Xarıbülbül Infusion

Ark of taste
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Xarıbülbül gülü, Qafqaz qaş səhləbi

The xarıbülbül, which also known as the nightingale flower, is a rare species of orchid (Orchis caucasica or Ophrys mammosa) that grows in particular in the Shusha region. The xarıbülbül blooms occur in April and the fruits can be found until June. It grows on slopes and in fields, next to forests and in between bushes. It is a perennial plant with a stem that reaches about 20 to 40 centimetres, which grows groups of 5 to 6 flowers. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate or oblong-elliptical, they are located at the base of the stem and are 2 to 3 centimetres wide and 5 to 10 centimetres long. The outer petals of the inflorescence are about 12 centimetres long and are light purple. The inner petals are oval-lanceolate, about 3 centimetres long, purple and veined. The petals are velvety and have a short brown bump on top, with some yellowish or yellowish green or greenish-brown spots. The petals are dark red-brown or bluish-purple. The central part is shaped like a heart or kidney and forms a small bulge.

The xarıbülbül is also used for decorative purposes and due to its importance, it is collected intensively by the population. It is a rare species included in the Red Book of the Republic of Azerbaijan. To avoid excessive harvesting, reserves were created, and the seeds are stored in seed banks, thus ensuring their reproduction and new propagation.

This wonderful and fragile flower is closely linked to the local culture and is present in many legends and myths. It is said that Fatali Shah, the shah of Persia in the eighteenth century, had a garden built for his beloved wife Agabeyim Aga, poetess and daughter of the lord of Karabakh, Ibrahimkhalil Khan. In the garden he planted all the trees and flowers that grew in his homeland, in Shusha, Karabakh. But the xarıbülbül flower never grew because it is said that it cannot grow far from the homeland. The poetess wrote a poem about this which reads:

“The homeland garden is colourful.

But there is no xarıbülbül.

Life is a cycle,

make your nightingale voice heard”

The xarıbülbül flower has become a symbol of Shusha and Karabakh in general. His image can also be found on Azerbaijani rugs.

Xarıbülbül is used as a drug in the treatment of cardiovascular disease but is also often drunk as an infusion.

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Spices, wild herbs and condiments

Tea and infusions

Nominated by:Aydan Jafarova