Interesting facts about roses
Table of Contents
- Written by Holly Hughes on February 20, 2022
The universal symbol of love, roses are one of the most beloved and well known of all the flowers. And yet, for a flower that is everywhere and that so much is written about – there are over 4,000 songs out there mentioning the flower and it is one of only three flowers mentioned in the Bible – how much do we actually know about this ubiquitous shrub?
It’s time to not just smell the roses, it’s time to dig deep and find out all about roses. Read on for some fascinating trivia about roses you’ll be shocked by!
What are roses?
On the off chance someone reading this has no idea what flower we’re talking about, here’s a quick roses’ description to get you up to speed.
A rose is a thorny flowering plant that most commonly grows red, yellow, white, or pink flowers. A perennial plant in the Rosaceae family, its flowers are sweet-smelling and fragrant.
While these shrubs were originally wild, they have been widely cultivated for centuries resulting in over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars of the plant. This variety is evident in the many different faces and iterations of roses.
Plants can vary in size from miniature, compact blooms to climbers that can extend to a height of seven meters. In fact, the largest rose bush on record reached a staggering 23 feet.
What is special about rose flowers?
One of the indisputable facts about roses that is evident in every corner of the world, is that they are a universal symbol of love. From passionate romantic love to the faithfulness of friendship, every shade of this flower represents a different form of love from maternal to platonic to, of course, the romantic desire and intensity of lovers.
It is this rich symbolism that is one of the reasons roses are so special. However, their value in our lives extends far beyond their ability to portray love. As we will find out, there are many more important things to these robust, heaven-scented blossoms. Buckle in for five fun facts about roses!
A flower as old as time
One of the most interesting facts about roses is just how long they’ve been in existence. They are one of the oldest flowers, with fossils discovered by archeologists dating back as far as35 million years ago.
Not only have they been around for millennia, roses are also the oldest species of plant to be cultivated specifically for decorative purposes, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
There are documents from AD 50 that imply that enormous plantations and greenhouses of the flowers were grown in Ancient Rome to guarantee year-round access to the flowers. This is because extracts of the plant were used as ingredients for cooking, in medicines and as ornamentation in cultural events and apparel.
In fact, information about rose usage in Ancient Rome tells us that they were used prolifically to decorate all manner of things – from people to furniture and buildings, while petals were scattered to create whole carpets and walkways of the flowers.
Roses can live for a very long time
Given this ancient history of the plant and its ability to endure for centuries, perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that a rosebush has a very long lifespan. What is fascinating however, is just how resilient this plant can be.
The oldest living rose on record is a phenomenal 1,000 years old. While this in itself is impressive, this particular bush’s history about how and what it survived is even more incredible, having been one of the casualties of the Second World War.
Growing on the wall of a cathedral in Hildesheim, Germany, this rosebush’s existence had been documented there since AD 815. Its presence was something of a local legend and considered a symbol of the city’s prosperity. Then, in 1945, Hildesheim was bombed and the cathedral destroyed. The rosebush however, survived. Beneath the destruction, the roots remained intact and soon after, the bush was once again flourishing from the ruins.
Perhaps this is why roses are synonymous with the everlasting devotion of love. Because, just as true love never dies, these flowers too will always survive any hardship – even the challenges of war.
Rose oil is a valuable commodity
As we all know, one of the most valuable characteristics of these plants is their scent. As far back as Ancient Greece and Rome, people were using the fragrance of the flowers to make perfume – a tradition that continues today as rose scent remains one of the primary elements in some of the most famous and successful perfumes.
What is most interesting about the continued use of rose oil in perfumes, cooking, and other scented products, is just how intense the extraction process is. The plant gets its scent from tiny, microscopic perfume glands on their petals. To extract one gram of this oil scent, two thousand flowers are needed for pressing! That’s a lot of flowers!
The National Flower of the United States
With such an illustrious and resilient history, is it any wonder that, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose to be the official emblem of the United States? He symbolically made the announcement while standing in the White House Rose Garden.
As well as being a national symbol, different varieties of the flower are also the official state flowers of several states in America including New York, North Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, and Washington, D.C.
The most expensive rose sold for millions of dollars
After 15 years of careful and expensive cultivation, David Austin created an apricot-colored hybrid rose he named Rose Juliet. Having spent $5 million in its creation – making it the most expensive flower ever developed – Austin then sold Rose Juliet for $15.8 million in 2006, making it the most expensive cultivar in history.
There you have it! Five fun and interesting facts about roses and even further reasons to love this beautiful, hopeful, and precious flower. Treat yourself or a loved one to a sumptuous bouquet and revel in the long history that has brought these flowers through empires, world wars and now to your kitchen table!
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