The Damask, Bussora or Persian Rose

The Damask, Bussora, or Persian Rose.

Vern.—Guldb, sudburg, Hind. & Bomb.; Gulippi, irojipbi, Tam.; (the flower buds=) Gulal-akali, Guz. & Mar.; Guldl, gul, guldb, Afgh.

For other vernacular names which are applied to this and the preceding species, see under R. centifolia and R. gallica—the other members of this group.
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References—Voigt, Hort. Sub. Cal., 194; Brandis, For. PL, 200: Kur*, For. PI. Burm., I., 440; Dale. & Gibs., Bomb. Fl.,3l (Suppl.); Stewart, Pb. PL, 85 • Aitchison, Cat. Pb. and Sind PL, 57 ,—Afgh. Del. Com., 62, 63,—Kuram Valley Flora, 0, S4,—Prod., Western Afghan, and N-E. Persia, 176 ; Firminger, Man. of Gardening for India, 469; Wall, Cat., 684; Pharm. Ind., 82; CShaughnessy, Bene. Dispens., 327; Dymock. Mat. Med. W. Ind., 298—301; Dymock, Warden, & Hooper, Pharmacol., I., 574-57*; Murray, PI. & Drugs, Sind, 142; Butler, Top. and Stats., Oudh and Sultanpore, 36; Dr. Jackson in Journ. Asiat. Soc, Bene. (1839); Watt, Cal. Exhib. Cat., V., 242; Drury, V. PL, 367; Bird-wood, Bomb. Pr., 192; Poyle, III. Him. Bat., 203; Piesse, Perfumery, 198; Balfour, Cyclop., HI., 439, 440; Spons' EncycL, Vol. J I., 142?; Kew Off. Guide to the Mus. of Ec. Bot., 61; Kew Off. Guide to Bot. Gardens and Arboretum, 141; GatetteersV.—Mysore & Coorg, I., 60; N.- W. P. (Bundelkhand),/.,*/ ;(Agra Dist.),1V.,Ixxi.; Ind. Forester, XIV.,368. Habitat.—Although this is the commonest Indian garden rose, its native country is absolutely unknown. At Patna, Ghazipore, Amritsar, Lahore, and several other places in India, large areas of ground have been converted into rose gardens, in which this species is the one chiefly cultivated for the manufacture of attar and rose-water from its flowers.

History.—The preparation of attar of roses and rose-water seems to have been entirely unknown to the ancients; indeed, it is not till the close of the thirteenth century that we find any mention of the latter, while the first authentic description of an essential oil only occurs in a work by Geronimo Rossi of Ravenna, who wrote about the end of the sixteenth century. In India, attar of roses is said to have been first discovered by Nur-i-Jehan Begum, A.D. 1612, on the occasion of her marriage wfth the.Emperor

Jehanghir. A canal in the palace garden was filled with rose-water in onour of the event, and the princess, observing a scum on the surface caused it to be collected, and found it to be of admirable fragrance, on which account it received the name of Atar-Jehanghiri, i.e., the perfume of Jehanghir. In English commerce attar of roses only began to be recognised in the beginning of this century. Aitchison says that " in Persia the rose is the flower of all flowers in beauty and scent, it, however, lasts too short a time, owing to the hotwinds, as they at once put an end to all its beauty. Wherever it is grown, or in however small quantity, the flowers are daily collected by the owners of each garden, and handed over to the distiller, who manufactures from them rose-water, guldb. Rosewater is a luxury which the very poorest of the Persian ladies and dandies cannot do without; in almost the smallest village it is to be procured."

Oil.—The essential Oil or Otto (attar) Op Roses, obtained by distillation of the Flowers, in many parts of India, and also imported from Persia and Turkey, is much valued by the natives both medicinally and as a perfume.

Manufacture.—The attar of roses imported to Great Britain is chiefly produced in a small tract of country on the southern side of the Balkan Mountains, but smaller quantities, which are almost entirely consumed locally, are manufactured about Cannes and Nice in the south of France, at Medinet Fayum, south-west of Cairo, and in Tunis. The whole of the attar and rose-water manufactured in India is consumed in the country.

In Bulgaria R. centifoliais the species used for making the otto, Vt attar, but the damask rose is also employed to a certain extent. These shrubs are cultivated by peasants in gardens and open fields, in which they are planted inrows as hedges 3 or 4 feet high. The best localities are those occupying southern or south-eastern slopes. Plantations in high mountainous regions generally yield less, and the oil is of a quality that easily congeals. The flowers attain perfection in April and May, and are gathered before sun
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The Damask Rose.

OIL. Manufacture.

rise; those not wanted for immediate use are spread out in cellars, but are always used for distilling the same day. The apparatus is a copper still of the simplest description, connected with a straight tin tube, cooled by being passed through a tub fed by a stream of water. The charge for a still is 25 to 50ft of roses, from which the calices are not removed. The first runnings are returned to the still; the second portion, which is received in glass flasks, is kept at a temperature not lower than I5°C. for a day or two, by which time most of the oil, bright and fluid, will have risen to the surface. From this, it is skimmed off by means of a small tin funnel having a fine orifice, and provided with a long handle. There are usually several stills together. The produce is extremely variable. According to Baur, it may be said to average 0^04 per cent. Another authority estimates the average yield as 0^037 per cent. {Pharmacographia, 264).

In India the rose principally cultivated for the manufacture of attar and rose-water, is the R. damascena. An interesting account of the methods by which rose-water and the otto are .manufactured in Ghazipore, the principal seat of the industry in India, is given by Dr. Jackson in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and is reproduced in O'Shaughnessy's Bengal Dispensatory. The following abstract has been taken from the latter work :—About 300 bighas or 150 acres of land around the station of Ghazipore are laid out in small detached fields as rose gardens. These gardens are annually let out by the zamindars who own them at about R5 per bigha for the land and R25 per bigha for the rose bushes of which there are 1,000 in each bigha. The expense of cultivation amounts to about R8-8. If the season is good 1,000 rose bushes should yield one lakh of roses, and these are sold to distillers at a price varying from R4.0 to R70 per lakh. The cultivators themselves very rarely manufacture. The rose bushes come into flower at the beginning of March and continue throughout April. In the early morning the flowers are plucked and conveyed in large bags to the distillers.

The apparatus for distilling is of the simplest description : it consists of a large copper or iron boiler well tinned, capable of holding from 8 to 12 gallons, with a large body, a rather narrow neck, and a mouth about 8 inches in diameter, on the top of which is fixed the head of the still. This is merely an old dekchi with a hole in the bottom to receive the tube or water which is well luted in with flour and water. This tube is composed of two pieces of bamboo fastened together at an acute angle and covered in their whole length with a coating of string, over which mud is luted to prevent the vapour from escaping. The lower end of the tube is carried down into a long-necked vessel or receiver, called a bhubka. This is kept in a handi of water which, as it gets hot, is changed. The end of the tube in the bhubka is padded with cloth to keep in the vapour. The boiler is let into an earthen furnace, and after being charged with the roses and a sufficient quantity of water distillation is slowly proceeded with. A boiler of the size described will hold from eight to twelve thousand roses, on these from ten to eleven seers of water will be poured, and eight seers of rose-water is distilled. This after distillation is placed in a glass carboy and exposed to the sun for several days to become ripe, after which the mouth is stopped with cotton over which a covering of moist clay is put to prevent the scent from escaping.

To procure the attar, after the rose-water has been distilled, it is placed in a large metal basin, which is covered with wetted muslin to prevent dust and insects from getting in; this vessel is then let into the ground which has been previously wetted with water and allowed to remain thus during the whole night. During the cool a little film of attar forms on the surface of the rose-water which is removed in the morning by means of a feather and placed in a small phial, and day after day, as the collection is made, it is placed for a short time in the sun, and after a sufficient quantity has been procured it is poured off clear into small phials. The first few davs' distillation does not produce such fine attar as is obtained afterwards, since it is mixed with dust and particles of dirt from the still. From one lakh of roses, it is calculated that 180 grains or one tolah of attar is produced; more may be obtained if the roses are full sized and the nights cool to allow of the congelation. The natives never remove the calices of the roses, but place the \» hole in the still, as it comes from the gardens.

The rose-water should always be twice distilled, the water procured from the first distillation being used to pour over the roses for the second.

Description & Chemical Properties. —Otto of roses, when recently extracted, has a pale greenish hue, afterwards it becomes light yellow in colour. The colour of the attar obtained varies much in different years, even in roses grown on the same ground. Emerald-green, bright yellow, and even reddish attars are often seen. Its specific gravity is 0*87 to 0*89. It solidifies at 11 to i8°C. (varying in proportion to the amount of stearoptene it contains), and its boiling point is 228-8°. Rose oil is made up of a liquid constituent containing oxygen, to which it owes its perfume, and the solid hydrocarbon, stearoptene, above mentioned, which is entirely odourless. This latter is very variable in amount, being present in largest quantity in the oil produced in a cold northern climate like that of Great Britain. The liquid portion of the rose oil has not yet been obtained entirely free 'rom stearoptene, but when most of the hydrocarbon is removed the oil is perfectly liquid at ocC., although the presence of stearoptene in small amount is shown by its solidifying into a gelatinous mass when placed in a cooling mixture. The oil thus purified is said to have a very fine and powerful odour, and when dissolved in spirit does not give rise to any crystalline separation (Flick. & Hanb., Pharmacographia; Pharmacographia Indica).

Uses.—Otto of roses is used as a Scent for ointments. Rose-water is sometimes made with it, but is not so good as that obtained by distillation. Its principal utilisation is in perfumery and the manufacture of snuff (Flick. & Hanb., Pharm.). In India rose-water and the attar are much used by the natives at their festivals and weddings. They are distributed to the guests as they arrive and sprinkled with profusion in the apartments.

Adulteration.—Much of the rose-water in India is adulterated with water before being sold. Pure otto is hardly to be obtained; it is adulterated before being shipped for India, and on arrival is mixed with sandal-wood oil. In India an adulterated otto of roses is largely prepared by the addition of sandal-wood chips to the flowers before they are distilled. The writers of the Pharmacographia Indica say they have been unable to ascertain that rose oil is in India ever adulterated with Rusa grass oil (the Geranium oil of English commerce), and that the dealers in that article do not appear to know anything of its use for this purpose in Turkey.

Trade.—FIUckiger& Handury (Pharmacog., Ed. 1874) state that "the commerce to India (in rose-water and of roses), though much declining, still exists; and in the year 1872-73, 20,100 gallons of rose-water, valued at 835,178 (£3,517), were imported into Bombay from the Persian Gulf." This information had been, it is stated, derived from The Statement of the Trade and Navigation of the Presidency of Bombay for 1872-73. The authors of the Pharmacographia Indica say: "The Indian market is supplied with dry roses from all parts of the table-land; both buds and expanded flowers arrive together, and are valued at R4i per.Surat maund of 37ift>. The buds are separated and sold for R7 per maund. The expanded flowers are worth only R3 per maund, and are purchased for the preparation of gulkand. Rose-water, to the extent of 20,000- to 30,000 gallons annually, is imported into Bombay from the Persian Gulf; two qualities are met with—yuk-atishi (once distilled) and du-atishi (twice distilled), value R4 to R44 per carboy of 20ft."

"Otto of Roses is imported from Persia and Turkey, and a small quantity is made in India."

In the Trade and Navigation returns for British India there are two, places under which, one or both of the above substances, might appear, vis., "Essential Oils " and " Perfumery." Of the former the Imports have (during the past five years) been 2,954 gallons for 1885-86, 2,622 gallons for 1886-87, 2,683 gallons for 1887-88, 2,826 gallons for 188S-89, and 2,756 gallons for 1889-90. The declared values of these imports were, for the years named, R44,8o3,R32,88i, R44.847, R46.994, and R52.886. Of the latter (Perfumery) the quantities are not shown, but the value of the imports is given as having been in 1885-86 R5,57,iii, 18&6-87 R5,58,74i, 1887-88 R3.07.407, 1888-89 R2.60.184, and 1889-90 R3.03.675. The Exports from these foreign imports to foreign countries are not very important. During the past five years the average value of the essential oils sent away from this'country came to only R 1,700 and of the perfumery R64,5oo. Of the essential oile about two-thirds came from the Straits Settlements and , China, and a little less than a third f'om the United Kingdom. It is probable, therefore, that these imports, of essential oils, do not include the attar of roses, and that that substance is entirely classed as a perfume. An examination of the sources from which the perfumes are derived reveals the fact that of the total imports in 1889-90 (83,03,675 worth), China furnished 81,84,133, Persia R69.557, the United*Kingdom Rt6,548, Turkey in Asia R 13,071, and the balance from Aden, Arabia, Ceylon, etc. Of these imports Bombay took R2.24.665 worth, Bengal R30,817, Burma 823,598, Madras R8.27I, and Sind 87,324. While it would be difficult to obtain the details of the total imports of perfumery into India, it is possible to give a statement of that section of the trade that took place with Bombay. But since it may almost be said that the imports into Bombay of rose-water constitute so large a proportion of the total for The Persian & French Roses.