(Hayward, 2004)

Figure 1: Appearance of Damask Rose (Hayward, 2004)

Scientific Name:
There are many different species of roses. The genus name for the Damask Rose is Rosa and the specie is Damascena (Hayward, 2004). The Damask Rose is a hybrid of Rosa Gallica and Rosa Phoenicia ("Bulgarian rose otto," ).

Description of Appearance:
The Damask Rose is found in small bushes which are one to two meters tall. Their stems have prickly, curved thorns with five pinnate (found on each side of the stem opposite each other) leaves. The flower has 30 petals (Hayward, 2004) ranging from light pink to magenta in colour as shown in Figure1.

Figure 2: Where Damask Rose is Grown (Winter, 2008)

Where is it Grown?
For the Damask Rose to grow and flourish at its best, it has to have a moderate temperature and a humid climate. It is grown on altitudes of 2000m (Hayward, 2004) where lots of water and good top soil is found. ("Bulgarian rose otto," ) It is grown in the Kazanlik valley in Bulgaria (Figure 2), found in Isparta, Turkey and was later brought by the Turkish people to Taif, Saudi Arabia (Hayward, 2004).

The newly bloomed roses are picked by the people who work in the rose gardens in Taif, Saudi Arabia. This is done during late April to the middle of June (Hayward, 2004). The rose bushes are cut every year and only left to be about one to two meters in height so that the roses are easy to pick. Once the roses are planted, they continue to grow in the same place for many years. They are usually fertilized by animal manure. The roses are picked before the sun rises to ensure that the essential oils for rose water are not lost by the suns heat. The outer most petals, are the thickest and contain the most fragrance. The roses are cut right below the calyx, the green covering just below the flower ("Bulgarian rose otto," ).

Other Products Made From Damask Rose:
- Rose water
- Rose oil
- Perfumes (eg. Chanel No. 5)

Production of Rose Water:

Figure 3: Production of Rose Water. Pictures from (Hayward, 2004)

Beneficial Impacts:

Rose water is used for many different purposes. It replaces chemically manufactured toners and cleansers. Instead of using several creams that contain harmful chemicals, you can use natural rose water to help reduce wrinkles, tighten pores and lighten scars. It suits people with dry and oily skin. It is especially useful to those people who want to get rid of acne scars or sunburns. Rose water is also used to flavour sweets in the Middle East. It could be used as an alternative ingredient for vanilla extract (Johnson, 2009). Those men and women who suffer from hair loss can use rose water to increase blood flow to the scalp and promote hair growth. In addition, rose water can be used to relieve eye irritations. It's soft fragrance can be used as an aroma therapy to help relieve stress, relax, and stay fresh. Rose water helps keep the environment less polluted because it is a chemical free product. Other skin care products use harsh chemicals that pollute our sewage systems. Instead of using regular water that comes from our taps to clean our face we can use rose water which is a lot better for our skin. It is more beneficial than water because it has natural antibacterial properties and contains minerals that balance the skin’s pH level immediately ("Rose water," 2007).

Figure 5: What a cane borer did to a rose stem (Belendez, 2010)

Figure 4: Rose plant diseased with blackspot (Roth)

Harmful Impacts:
The product rose water is not harmful to the society and environment, but the cost of maintaining the roses itself may become expensive because a lot of roses are needed just to produce a bottle of rose water. Timing is of essence, because these roses can be picked only at the time of dawn at their first bloom, in order to preserve their fragrance. Roses tend to attract a lot of diseases like blackspot (Figure 4), mildew and rust (Roth). They are prone to insect infestations like earwigs, inchworms and cane borers ("Rose pests," ) (Figure 5). So maintaining the raw material, that is the rose itself, may become expensive.


Rose water is a distilled by-product of the Damask Rose’s petals. Rose water is all natural and can be used for skin care, cooking, eye infections, and aroma therapy. It has a soothing fragrance and has healing properties that can be useful to people with dry and sensitive skin, as well as those with oily skin. As you can see rose water is beneficial to the society and there are no known harmful impacts caused by it, which gives you all the more reason to use it.

Interesting Facts:
Figure 6: Cleopatra in her ship. (Grant)

- The world's oldest living rose is 1000 years old. It can be found in the courtyard of the
Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. This rose even survived the 1945 (Hayes, 2010) bomb attacks.
- The Rose is the known as the Queen of Flowers (Grant).
- The sails of Cleopatra's ship (Figure 6) were soaked in rose water and her bedroom floors were covered
with rose petals. That is how she made Mark Antony (Grant) fall in love with her.
- In Baghdad ("Rose water," 2007) when the mosque was built, rose water was mixed with the bricks
so that when the sun's heat fell on them a pleasant fragrance would be released.

How to Make Your Own Rose Water:
If you are interested in learning how to make your own rose water, visit the link below.


Johnson, P. (2009). Rose. Montreal, QC: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Belendez, K. (2010, July 20). An overview of rose pests. Retrieved from http://scvrs.homestead.com/rosepests.html
Grant, A. (n.d.). Therapeutic benefits of roses. Retrieved from http://www.rosemagazine.com/pages/therapeutic.asp
Roth, I. (n.d.). Blackspot. Retrieved from http://www.rosemagazine.com/articles02/pages/blackspot.asp
Winter, E. (2008, December 13). Middle east. Retrieved from https://resourcesforhistoryteachers.wikispaces.com/WA.2+Use+a+map+key+to+locate+countries+and+major+cities+in+the+Middle+East.+%28G,+E%29

Foret, R. (Producer). (2009, November 27). [Video Podcast]. How to Make Rose Water. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJKbqxj3PJg

Bulgarian rose otto. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.quinessence.com/bulgarian_rose_oil.htm
Grant, A. (n.d.). Lure of the temptress. Retrieved from http://www.rosemagazine.com/pages/lure.asp
Hayes, H. (2010, July 30). Hildesheim cathedral. Retrieved from http://www.sacred-destinations.com/germany/hildesheim-cathedral
Hayward, M.R. (2004). The roses of taif. Retrieved from http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200408/the.roses.of.taif-.compilation..htm
Rose pests. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.rosemagazine.com/pages/pests.asp
Rose water. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.rose-works.com/Rose-Water.html
Roth, I. (n.d.). Rose diseases. Retrieved from http://www.rosemagazine.com/articles02/pages/rosediseases.asp