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The Mysterious Black Rose of Halfeti

By Andrew Burgon /
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March 5, 2014


Project Fellowship Black RoseA black rose similar to the Halfeti black rose.

The Halfeti Black Rose from Turkey looks like it came out of some murder mystery novel.

The Halfeti Black Rose conjures up in my overly indulgent imagination a threat of deadly intent or equally a dark robed heroic figure somewhat like the Scarlett Pimpernel. Elegant, intriguing and oh so mysterious. It turns out though that it’s  even be more mysterious than it looks.

What We Know About the Halfeti Black Rose

It’s an incredibly rare black rose that refuses to grow anywhere else except in the tiny Turkish village of Halfeti. Although they appear black it’s said that they are actually a very deep crimson color. We are led to believe that this is due to the unique soil conditions of the region and the pH levels of the groundwater seeping in from the Euphrates river. They bloom dark red in spring and fade to black during the summer months.

Apparently, the locals have mixed feelings about them. They’re seen as symbols of mystery, hope and passion as well as death and bad news.

By 2002, eighty percent of Halfeti district was submerged under the waters of the Birecik dam and threatened the survival of these roses. Many of the residents moved to the village of Karaotlak 10 kilometers away where a new Halfeti township was built. Many black rose trees made their home there as well.

The story continues that it wasn’t long before people noticed though that the rose trees didn’t take well to their new environment and that their numbers were declining. District officials alarmed by what was happening decided to act. They collected seeds from town residents and grew them in a greenhouse closer to the former village.

The Search for the Black Rose

The photos I saw of the Halfeti Black Rose looked photoshopped so I started out doing a search on google for videos of the famed roses. I mean, if it’s such a prima donna there must be a video somewhere of it, right? The few videos that exist only contain questionable photos of them. Interestingly, these same photos came up again and again.

Videos of Halfeti also came up and the text under them indicated that the village was famous for it’s black roses. Yet time and time again no roses appeared in these videos. Some of these videos actually had an enterprising individual promoting boating tours in Halfeti which may mean the Loch Ness monster and the Halfeti Black Rose have more in common that we thought!

On this amusing odyssey I visited places like National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, Interflora and the official site for Turkey tourism and left each one empty handed. In fact, there wasn’t one authoritative site listed in the google search results. The closest I got was someone quoting there grandma in a Turkish forum that there were dark roses in Halfeti but none of the other Turkish people talking about it had seen one! It wouldn’t surprise me if someone, somewhere, is having a good chuckle as well as making some money.

Does the black rose of Halfeti in the video below look real to you?

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