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Aroma, the Camel

1. The ancient Arabs loved the land, for in earth and water they saw the source of life and the greatest of God’s gifts. They were pioneers in botany. In the twelfth century an outstanding reference work, Al-Filahat by Ibn al-Awam, described more than five hundred different plants and methods of grafting, soil conditioning, and curing of diseased vines and trees.   The Arab vineyards were responsible for the future of wine industries of Europe.

2. Peach, apricot, and loquat trees were transplanted in southern Europe by Arab soldiers.

3. The hardy olive was encouraged to grow in the sandy soil of Greece, Spain, and Sicily.

5. Arab horticulture gave the world the fragrant flowers and herbs from which perfumes were extracted. Their walled gardens were for the pleasure of the senses – a pine tree standing green and aromatic in the heart of a garden scented with jasmine; a fountain or artificial pool to delight the eye amidst lavender and laurel; a special rose garden blooming in riotous color, the roots injected with saffron to produce yellow, and indingo to produce blue; vines and trees injected with perfumes in the autumn flooding the air with fragrance in the spring; a weeping willow dripping gracefully into the middle of a clear lake; arbors and pergolas constructed where streams of water could bubble through them, cooling the air and giving relief from the heat of the desert. Mimosa and wild cherry lavished color against stonewalls, and cypress grew tall, close and straight bordering alleyways to obliterate from view all that was not pleasing.

 6. Rice, Sesame, pepper, ginger, cloves, melons and shallots, as well as dates, figs, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, were introduced into European cuisine.