Happy Valentine’s: Turkish Rose: A Review of the History, Ethnobotany, and Modern Uses of Rose Petals, Rose Oil, Rose Water, and Other Rose Products

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Rose is a common name given to the thorny shrubs and climbing vines of the genusRosain the Rosaceae family. More than 100Rosaspecies have been recorded throughout the world. Because rose is a popular garden plant, it is virtually impossible to determine the number of currently existing cultivars. TheFlora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islandsidentifies 24 Rosa species growing in this region of the world.1

Fossil records indicate that Rosa species have existed on the planet for at least 40 million years.2The earliest historical records on Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets indicate that rose became known to humans about 5,000 years ago. A clay tablet about Sargon I, King of Akkadia (2684-2630 BCE), records that the king brought rose saplings during his military campaign to the countries across the Tigris River. Because he formerly lived in the ancient city of Ur near Babylon…

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The Magic of the Understory

The Druid's Garden

A path of evergreen mountain laurel at Laurel Hill State Park. Amazing to hike through in the winter, when the understory sings!

As you may have noticed, in the last month or so I’ve been working diligently on my “Sacred Trees in the Americas” series.  The truth is, I’ve worked through most of the trees that are well known and form the overstory of most of the forests in the US East Coast.  Trees like White Pine, Oak, Hickory, Sugar Maple, Ash, Beech, and Birch are dominant trees.  And when you do research on these trees, you find a rich tradition and lore from both the Americas and the Old World.  Recently, I’ve moved my attention to lesser-known trees like Ironwood and Devil’s Walking Stick, and have covered others like Witch Hazel (distinct and different from American Hazel) and Spicebush. There is a striking difference between the first group and…

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