I have been wondering for weeks what this flower was and the answer came from someone right in the home where I’m living. Talgat frequently goes to the mountains to collect herbs and roots to make tea and such. Today I thought to show him my blog and ask him what the plant in the picture was. I also told him I see it on the way to Shimkent. Now, I want you to realize I am having this conversation in Kazakh or broken Kazakh to be more exact, but he understood me and was able to tell me it was Safflower. I confirmed this by looking it up on the internet and low and behold the picture matched what I was seeing in the fields. I was so excited.
I also learned a lot more about the plant. The website said it’s origin is from the Mediterranean, but also talked about it’s Turkish roots. Sometimes it is referred to the weaker or lesser saffron. According to the web it does not have value as a spice to add flavor but in countries like Azerbaijan it is used for it’s ability to add color to the meal. The flowers are also used to dye textiles. We know it as an oil. Saffower oil contains triglycerides of the doubly unsaturated linoleic acid (70%) and triple unsaturated linolinic acid (10%) and high levels of Vitamin E and iodine making it highly desired by health conscious people.
Well, this may be far more than you ever wanted to know about Safflower, but I am delighted to know what it is. One of the reasons I didn’t want to leave Virginia was I knew the plant, bug and wildlife around me. I knew what snakes I could pick up, what flowers and plant life I valued and what bugs to beware of. It is fun to learn new things here. Sometimes it is a challenge with the language barrier but that also gives me more motivation to learn the language.
Have a beautiful day, dear friends. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty around where ever you are at the moment. In essence take the time to smell the roses, to enjoy the quiet moments, to tell those people in your lives who you treasure just how much you do treasure them.
My love to you all,