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The most famous oil-bearing rose in the world. Renowned for its delicate fragrance, this queen of roses is commercially harvested for rose oil used in perfumery and cosmetics, such as rose water. The flower petals are also edible, used to flavor food, as a garnish, and as a herbal flower tea.

Rosa Damascena typically grows to 2.2 meters tall, the stems densely armed with stout, curved prickles and stiff bristles. The roses are light to moderate pink to light red.

The Legend says that a powerful ruler in the Roman Empire fell in love with a tall, beautiful girl in Damascus. Upon his return to the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire, he dedicated to her the most beautiful flower in his garden, Rosa Damascena.

Bulgaria is the world’s most prolific producer of rose oil, and Rosa Damascena takes 60%-70% of produced oil each year.

The Bulgarian town of Kazanlak has been inhabited for thousands of years. Most historians assume that the cultivation of the “Kazanlak rose,” as Rosa Damascena, is denominated in that region. It is reported that roses have been cultivated in the area since Roman times.

It is cultivated for commercial use in an area in the vicinity of Kazanlak called The Rose Valley. The distillate from these roses is called “Bulgarian Rose Oil.”

Rosa Damascena is used in cooking as a flavoring ingredient or spice in Balkan, Persian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Rose water is often sprinkled on meat dishes, while rose powder is added to sauces.

Chicken with rose is a popular dish in Persian cuisine. Whole flowers, or petals, are also used in herbal flower tea. However, the most popular use is in the flavoring of desserts such as ice cream, jam, baklava, rice pudding, and yogurt.

Rosa Damascena symbolized beauty and love for centuries, and it was prevalent in the west during the Renaissance. It was most commonly used in desserts and still is a flavor in traditional desserts such as marzipan or turrón.

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