Family: Rosaceae

Synonyms: Rosa moschata, Rosa recurve, Rosa lindleyi, Rosa, pubescens Rosa gladulifera.

Common Name: Musk Rose, Kunja, Himalayan musk rose

Local Name: Kujja(कुज्जा)

             Kujja is a large deciduous perennial shrub of Western Himalaya. It is frequently seen growing in well drained sunny habitats and slopes in forest, wastelands, roadsides, marginal land, shrubberies and slopes of hills upto an altitude of 2000 m.

A kujja shrub growing along roadside

 Kujja is well known to everyone living or travelling to Western Himalaya due to its eye-catching appearance and refreshing sight.  Elegant foliage and yellowish white flowers of kujja growing in forests and roadsides attract every viewers attention during full bloom period and provide soothing effect to their eyes. Bloom in kujja starts from summer season and end in rainy season with little variation in different altitude of Western Himalaya.. Kujja usually shows extra bloom with white flowers in large clusters, which provide aesthetic value to the mountain dwellers and tourists.

Kujja can be cultivated in garden and along roadsides for its ornamental value. It can also be grown as a live fence to demarcate boundaries and to exclude stray animals and other livestock from agricultural land.

Eye- catching view of kujja bloom

Young leaves, tender stem of new spring growth, flower petals, fruits and seeds of kujja, all are edible and eaten by the inhabitants of Western Himalaya either as raw and cooked. Fruit pulp is edible both raw and cooked, but a very thin layer of pulp is there for eating. A special care is needed to remove seed hair before eating or cooking the pulp. Leaves, stem flowers and seeds are also cooked in a variety of ways to exploit their medicinal and nutrient value.

Local people harvest kujja from wild habitat for their local use as a source of food, medicine and material. Kujja flowers are mainly used in the preparations of rose water and squash. Flower petals decoction along with sugar is employed as coolant and stem and branches employed to prepare walking sticks.

Kujja Plant:

 Plant is large, perennial climbing shrubs 3-10 m tall, stem with recurved prickles.

Leaves impairpinnate, 5-13 cm long; leaflets 5-9, elliptic- oblong or oblong- lanceolate, serrate, glabrous above, softly pubescent beneath.

 Flowers white, fragrant, in many- flowered terminal corymbs; peduncles and pedicles pubescent, not quickly or bristly. Petals 5, obovate. Styles united.

Close up of kujja flower bloom

 Fruits globose or ovoid, dark- brown, 8-14 mm long.

 Seed many.

Kujja can provide edible plant parts, leaves,stem flowers, fruits and seeds from spring season to autumn season.

Edible Uses:

As stated above almost all the parts of flowers except roots are edible either raw or cooked. Tender stem of spring growth are eaten raw by children. Leaves and stem are also cooked as vegetable along with potato. Flower petals are used to prepare rose water, squash and cooked as a KACHRU a local dish. Fruit pulp is eaten raw and also cooked to prepare jam. Seeds are dried and ground into flour. This flour can be added to wheat flour or  to other foods as a supplement for harnessing medicinal and nutritive value.

Vegetable:

Ingredients:

Tender shoot tips of new spring growth and small leaves of kujja, 1 kg; mustard oil, 2 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed ¼ table spoon; turmeric powder, 1/4 table spoon; red chillies, 2-3; chopped onions 2-4; chopped potatoes, 2-3; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste ½ table spoon and salt according to taste.

Method:

Sauté chopped potatoes in hot mustard oil with spices listed above in a sequence.Cook for 5 minutes and add chopped shoot tip and leaves of kujja. Cook till they are soft and garnish with chopped fresh coriander leaves and garam masala before serving.

Flower KACHRU:

Ingredients:

For preparing 1/2 kg flower Kachru ingredients one will need 1/2 kg besan (black gram flour) or corn flour,1 cup fresh coriander leaves (chopped), 3-5 green chillies, ½ table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 medium sized chopped onions and salt according to taste.

Method:

Mix flower petals, besan and other spices well to make paste. Heat some oil on a flat cooking pan and spread paste on it. Heat for 15-20 minutes occasionally turning it to other side and kachru will be ready. Serve hot with tomato sauce or some other ketchup.

Squash or refreshing summer drink:

Flower petals are cooked to extract aquash and boiled petal left behind can be further used to prepare gulkand as a by-product.

Ingredients:

Kujja flower petals,1 kg; sugar, 2kg; fennel powder, 1tea spoon; cardamom powder,1 tea spoon. lemon juice, 2-3 table spoon, emulsion of any flavour.

Method:

Boil finely ringed flower petal in water along with sugar till sugar melt and absorb completely. Keep stirring it in slow flame for 15 to 20 minutes till it become viscous. Now sieve it in a large container and let it cool down. For having better flavor and color, one can mix to it emulsion of any flavor. After mixing it well place sherbet in glass bottles. This sherbet can be used for one year by diluting it with water in summer as a cool refreshing drink.

Boiled flower petal can be placed  in full sunlight after putting in a a ceramic jar and can be used as  gulkand.

Fruit Jam:

Ingredients:

Kujja fruits pulp ,1 kg; sugar, 500 g; fennel powder, 1tea spoon; cardamom powder,1 tea spoon, honey or lemon juice 4-5 table spoon.

Method:

Fruit Jam:

Boil fruit hip pulp of kujja in water till they are soft and let them cool down. Mesh them in a mixer grinder and transfer into a saucepan, Add to it sugar, fennel powder, cardamom powder and lemon juice. Keep stirring this mixture in slow flame till sugar completely melt and absorb. Stop heating when preparation become viscous. Now let it cool down and put it into a ceramic jar. This gulkand can be used from six month to one year.

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal Uses:

The plant is said to bilious affections and the root, called rajatarini, is said to be beneficial in eye problems1.

Other Uses:

Flower petals are employed to extract homemade rosewater, which is further used in parfumary.

Plant is cultivated as a live fence to demarcate boundaries and exclude livestock from their private land.

Stem and branches of kujja are used to prepare walking stick.

Kujja can be grown in garden as a ornamental plant.

References:

  1. Kirtikar KR, Basu BD. (1935); Indian Medicinal Plants, Vol. 1-4. Lalit Mohan Basu, Allahabad.

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