Essential Description: Belonging to the Kfūf family of plants, its leaf resembles that of potentilla reptins, grown in gardens and near water, and is divided into two types: masculine and feminine.
The masculine does not produce fruit, but the feminine does. They are known by the names Shahdānij and Shahdānī respectively (meaning Sultan of Love). It is soaked and macerated much like flax, to produce ropes and cloth. Known to the general population of the Maghreb as Qinab. It is grown in great quantities in the region of Meknes.
One of our great trees, it comes in many varieties, it is sometimes called ‘al-Arez’ and this refers to both the masculine and feminine of these trees, all of which have a frilled leaf, some of which bare fruit and others don’t. Amongst those that bare fruit, there are big fruit and smaller ones, and amongst those with bigger fruit there are those like the ceder. And in this variety can be made a black paste because of its fatty nature, which is suitable to use in a lamp to bring soft light to the beginning of the day, just like beeswax or oil. It has many names, including ‘Baqam al-Quraysh’ and in Shaam, ‘Qantuandas’, and of this variety there is also the ‘Regina’. The cypress tree is also related to the pine.
Divided into a number of different species, of which there are wild and cultivated varieties. We will turn our attention to the cultivated varieties. They come in many types: big, small, round, long, white and red, and they are well known so we will not spend long describing them.
It comes in many types, related to the cotton plant, but generally any plant which has long woody branches extending into a bush. It has short sharp crooked thorns resembling the beaks of birds. Its leaf resembles that of the rose. It has a delicate blossom that appears in the first part of spring. This is followed by fruit resembling warts in the size of olives, arranged like seeds attached to one another like blackcurrants. It’s colour is initially red. When ripe, it is black and sweet.
Amongst the varieties of great trees with pointed leaves, with many types: sweet and bitter. Of the sweet variety there is one with a longer fruit and one with a shorter, some being very dark-bodied and thick, and others red, others very yellow, and they are known to people of all regions, and some of its varieties fall when crimson. Amongst them is the ‘Shaahibloot’ which is also ‘al-qastal’, all of which came to us as imports from Andalusia into the Andalusian quarter of Fes.
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.