The rare black rose, which attracts local and foreign tourists alike to the southeastern Turkish district of Halfeti, is set to be grown in a greenhouses as part of a new initative to save the flower from extinction.
Renowned for its unique color and smell, the black rose was endangered by changes in the ecological balance in Halfeti because of the Birecik Dam, which left parts of the district underwater.
The project, which will take place in the Şanlıurfa Organized Industrial Zone, aims to bring back Halfeti's iconic black rose and introduce it to the cut flower sector. The General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies (TAGEM), a company that produces cut roses using modern techniques, is overseeing the project.
The roses will be cultivated in greenhouses, where shading, fertilization, ventilation, irrigation, heating, cooling and humidification processes will be carried out under computer control to ensure optimal growing conditions.
TAGEM's managing director, Serhan Işıkan, told Anadolu Agency that the company valued research, development, and technology and that they have been working with universities to carry out joint projects.
Işıkan explained that the three-year project aims to completely rehabilitate the black rose and to maintain the integrity of the species.
"We want to hybridize the flower with other red and dark red roses, and apply mutation treatment to obtain a new type of black rose with superior properties to the existing species. We aim to cultivate the species in both an outdoor and indoor cut flower sector capacities."
Emphasizing that requests are already starting to pour in from local and foreign customers who have learned about the project, Işıkan said, "Our project is made up of two different parts; the first half will develop new Halfeti rose varieties through hybridization, and the second half with develop new varieties through the application of radiation."
The Halfeti rose blooms only in the spring and fall seasons. Işıkan expressed that his company is trying to change that, "Our goal through this project is to produce a new rose which blossoms black throughout the year and that can be cultivated both in outdoor parks and gardens as well as for cut flower sales."
"There is a very high demand for black roses from abroad," Işıkan added, "but we do not want to answer until we have completed the project."
He also said that the Halfeti black rose is a well-known product and that they hope to be able to bring the species to the cut flower market and complete orders soon.
The Halfeti black rose, which is also known as the "Arab bride" or "Arab beauty," first blooms red and then turns black as the summer season progresses.