A tree of the region of North Africa, known to come in female and male varieties, (the male variety can be found in this book under the name ‘al-Julnar’) and the female comes in many varieties, amongst which there is a sweet variety, acidic and bitter, watery and juicy, and it has many names amongst the people of Fes, depending on its many varieties, amongst them: the ‘sultan’, which is the highest quality of them, then the ‘safri’, then ‘kalkhi’ and ‘maimuna’, whose fruit is the best, then the ‘aDhmi’ which is the rarest and most sought after.
A great long-living tree, coming in two types, wild and cultivated. The cultivated tree is much bigger, and its fruit is bigger than the wild fruit but they are both well known. The wild tree is known as ‘zabuj’ and the oil that is made from it is said to be the greatest of all oils and herbs, and for whoever presses its oil, it should bring good fortune.
Wild and cultivated coming in many varieties, the cultivated is artichoke, and under the wild variety there is the cardoon, which is well-known cooked with meat and both the stems and the heads of the plant are eaten. There is also the ‘badhward’ thistle (which can be found under ‘B’ in this book) and also ‘afzan’, which grows prolifically in tlmaght, near the town of Sale and tafaghit, known by the people of Fes as tafgha. There is also ‘ilk al-shuk’ but the most well known by the Moroccan people is kharshuf, mentioned first, which is used in cooking.
From the basil family and related to oregano and pennyroyal. It has a leaf like that of oregano except that it is longer, with lines along it and a rough texture. They are arranged in groups of four and have a well-known scent.
A fruit from a tree belonging to the Moraceae family, coming in many varieties, of which there are white, black and red. The white type is made up of multiple varieties and types, amongst which there is ‘wadnaksi’ which is featured in the sunna of the Prophet twice, and it is the finest and best of the fig species.
“It is recounted that Solomon – peace be upon him – was given by God a different tree every day in his Sanctuary, and when he saw it he would ask: “What is your name? What are your useful qualities? How do you harm?””
On a cold, February day, in an ancient courtyard behind the Qarwaeen University, I found Hadiqat al-Azhar. The corners of its pages golden with age and smelling distinctly of earth, its presence was foreboding and heavy with expectation.