Roses - Flower Facts, Symbolic Meanings and a Poem of Love

The beauty of roses
The beauty of roses | Source

Beautiful Flowers

Roses are beautiful flowers that have long been a symbol of love. They belong to the genus Rosa, which exists in both wild and cultivated forms. A wonderful variety of cultivated roses exist today. Flowers of many different colors are available. Some produce an enchanting fragrance to add to their attraction.

Roses have been admired by humans since ancient times. They are useful plants as well as being ornamental. An aromatic and flavorful oil can be extracted from their petals. This oil has culinary and cosmetic uses and may have health benefits as well. Rose water captures the essence of the flowers in a more dilute form but is still valuable.

Over the years, roses have come to symbolize more than love. Each of the main flower colors is associated with a particular symbolic meaning. For people interested in giving a gift of flowers, these meanings may be significant.

Dark pink flowers
Dark pink flowers | Source

Fossil evidence suggests that the first wild roses appeared at least 35 million years ago. Cultivation of the flowers is thought to have begun about 5000 years ago and most likely started in China.

A History Highlight - Roses in Ancient Rome

Roses were very popular in Ancient Rome. Their petals were strewn on the floor as a carpet during celebrations. They were also used as confetti, for perfume and cosmetics, and for medicinal purposes.

The modern term "sub rosa", which means "under the rose", is used to describe a secret or confidential meeting. It's believed to have originated from the Ancent Roman habit of hanging a rose over a table where people were having a private discussion.

Light pink flowers
Light pink flowers | Source

The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses took place in fifteenth century England. They involved a series of fights between two rival groups, or houses, who were competing for the throne. The symbol of the House of Lancaster was a red rose while the symbol of the House of York was a white one.

After many years of conflict, Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster married Elizabeth of York, uniting the two factions and ending the wars, although not all of the fighting. Henry took the throne of England and was known as Henry Vll. The symbols of the two roses were merged to create the Tudor rose, which is still the emblem of England.

A cultivar of Rosa gallica officinalis, often known as "Rosa mundi"
A cultivar of Rosa gallica officinalis, often known as "Rosa mundi" | Source

Josephine Bonaparte and the Château de Malmaison

Another highlight in the history of roses has a connection to Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte's wife Josephine established a large collection of roses in a house near Paris that she bought in 1799. The house was named Château de Malmaison. Josephine and her husband both lived in the house, but it was Josephine who worked to turn the grounds into "the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe".

The amazing garden eventually contained many exotic plants and animals, including a famous rose garden with about 250 different types of roses. The animals were allowed to wander freely through the grounds. At various times the animal collection included zebras, kangaroos, ostriches, emus, black swans, llamas, gazelles and even a seal. Today the house, or castle, is maintained as a museum.

A yellow rose
A yellow rose | Source

Types of Roses

There are many types of roses in existence today, which adds to the joy for admirers of the flowers. The blossoms vary in color, appearance, fragrance and blooming frequency. Some popular types are described below.

Hybrid Tea - has the typical flower that most people think of when they hear the word "rose" or when they go to a florist to buy roses as a gift; in general, the flower is a single bloom borne on a long stem

Polyantha - has small flowers borne in thick clusters

Floribunda - created by a cross between hydrid tea roses and polyantha roses; generally has small flowers borne in clusters; the bush and flowers tend to be larger than those of polyantha roses

Grandiflora - created by a cross between hybrid tea roses and floribunda roses; the flowers are generally large and may be borne in clusters or singly on a long stem

Climbing - climb and drape attractively over trellises, fences and walls

Miniature - has very small blossoms and can be grown in tight places such as containers, rock gardens and borders

Old Garden - those that were known before 1867, which was the year in which the first hybrid tea rose was created

Beautiful Flowers for a Garden

Single and Double Roses

Cultivated roses may have single or double petals. The single roses have one row of four to eight petals that spread outwards, revealing the stamens and pistil in the middle of the flower. These flowers resemble the wild roses with their five petals. Double roses have more than one row of petals. The petals may be so numerous in some flowers that they hide the reproductive structures in the center of the flower.

Rosa rubiginosa is a single rose.
Rosa rubiginosa is a single rose. | Source

Fragrance and Oil

Rose petals are used to make an oil, which is sometimes known as attar of roses, and a product called rose water. The oil and the water are used to flavor foods and provide a delightful aroma to perfumes and cosmetics. The petals themselves may be valued for their lovely scent or taste.

Rose oil may also have health benefits, including the ability to act as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance. In some countries, extracting the oil from rose petals is a major industry. Flowers that are especially aromatic are chosen for this extraction.

The fruits of roses are known as hips. The hips are edible and taste like apples. Some people use rose hips to make jelly, jam or tea. The seeds in the hips contain an oil that is used by the cosmetics industry.

Not all roses are strongly scented, but they are all beautiful. Today there are many different varieties available in flower stores or nurseries. Breeding and growing roses is done by both professionals and by hobbyists. The flowers are loved by many people.

A multicolored flower
A multicolored flower | Source

Rose Colors and their Symbolic Meanings

A rose color can have a different meaning for different people. Often people like a color simply because it's beautiful. It's fun to look at the traditional meanings of the colors, though.

  • Red - romantic love
  • Pink - gratitude and appreciation
  • Orange - desire and passion
  • Yellow - friendship
  • Lavender - enchantment or love at first sight
  • White - innocence or purity of love

Today, red roses are a frequent symbol of true love and are a traditional Valentine's Day gift. In the past, white roses have been used to symbolize love. Even today, the white flowers are often referred to as "bridal roses" and are used at weddings. They're also used to express love for a deceased person at a funeral.

A lovely cluster of flowers
A lovely cluster of flowers | Source

Black, Blue and Green Roses

Cultivated roses have a gorgeous array of colors. There are no black or blue roses, however. Breeders are trying hard to create them, but the colors are proving to be elusive.

Although no truly black rose exists, some dark red or deep purple ones may come close to being black in appearance. (The photos of pure black roses seen on some websites are photoshopped.) Similarly, no truly blue rose exists, although some mauve or lavender ones may look almost blue.

A green rose does exist (Rosa chinensis viridiflora). The rows of green "petals" of the flower are actually sepals, however. The flower has no stamens or stigma, doesn't produce seeds and is propagated by cuttings.

This green rose has sepals but no petals.
This green rose has sepals but no petals. | Source

In most flowers, the sepals are green, leaf-like structures found directly underneath the flower. They protect the flower bud before it opens.

The Color of Roses - A Poll

What is your favorite rose color?

  • Red
  • Dark pink
  • Light pink
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Lavender
  • White
  • Multi-colored
See results without voting
Beautiful blossoms
Beautiful blossoms | Source

Even fictional characters may appreciate the beautiful rose and its message of love and gratitude.

Persuasion to Love - A Poem

I walked into the garden of my mind,
the place where children played
and flowers bloomed,
and tried to bring the past into the now,
to fill the crowded void with love and joy
and find the family that we were.

I needed those from life before,
to see my mother's loving smile,
my father young and vigorous,
my sister innocent and kind.

They could not come to comfort me
nor change reality.
They could not help the outer world,
the wilderness of time.

I woke from painful reverie
to face the lonely scene.
A landscape alien and sad,
unruly plants usurping land that once was home
with greedy growth obscuring what was known,
and thorns projecting animosity.

The house demolished, garden lost,
Now Nature was in charge,
guarding spoils jealously
with secrets all her own.

I yearned to find an artifact,
or outline on the ground,
a solid memory,
a remnant of my younger life
and the home that used to be.

I pushed my way through prickled stems
that tore into my skin
and searched with care and diligence.
I would not let them win.

Hours passed, and still no sign,
as though home had never been,
until I saw a tiny fleck of pink
shining through my tears.

I wiped my eyes, yet color stayed.
I reached out to the source
and saw in wonderment and hope
a little garden rose.

My mother's rose bed
on this spot,
a survivor from the past,
a hidden gem of loveliness,
resilient and brave.

I moved towards the glorious form
anticipation strong,
greeted by a scented breeze
released in gratitude.
"Remember me," the whisper said
entwining with my thoughts,
desire and love in equal parts,
connection at its best.

I kissed the rose with gentleness,
returning love in kind,
then cleared a space around the flower
to make a habitat,
hidden by the taller plants
and protected by their thorns.

I photographed the beauty seen,
new memories forming fast,
then stayed beside her peacefully,
communing with the past.
Eventually I had to leave
as darkness filled the air
and wished the rose sweet happiness,
a future safe and long.

My journey home was bittersweet,
but hopeful now, at last.
The tedium of life perhaps
pierced through by sunny days
My camera full of images
would help the memories stay,
but better still, by far,
the image in my mind.

© 2013 Linda Crampton

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50 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I wish I had the time and patience it takes to grow roses properly.

Did you write that poem? Beautiful and if you did, great job!

bill


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Bill. Yes, I wrote the poem. It felt good to publish more poetry on HubPages! I've been away from it for too long. Thanks for the visit.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Stunningly beautiful hub here with all of the lovely roses and history too. I voted for the yellow rose, but when I saw that white rose with the orange center, I really loved that one! Your photography is amazing too.

Bravo on that poem! Wow, superb writing there. If you have been away from poetry, I am sure you are back and hope you continue writing such beautiful pieces.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much, Faith! I appreciate your lovely comment a great deal. Thank you very much for the vote and the share, too. If I voted in my own poll I would find the choice difficult, since I love all the rose colors. I think I would vote for the light pink rose, though, since this is (marginally) my favorite!


Naomi's Banner profile image

Naomi's Banner 3 years ago from United States

Absolutely lovely! I enjoyed the wisdom and also the poetry! Wonderful job ! Voted up and beautiful.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Beautiful poem! Great hub, too. I love the background information you wrote about rose. I wish to have more roses in my garden in the future. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up and pinned to my beautiful flowers. Have a nice day Alicia!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the votes, Naomi's Banner! I appreciate them both.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the comment, the vote and the pin, Thelma. I hope you have a great day!


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend thanks for this wonderful informative article, i can almost smell the roses in these beautiful photos, loved the awesome poem as well.

Vote up and more !!! Sharing !


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for your comment, Tom! Thank you very much for the votes and the share as well. I appreciate all your support.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Awesome hub, Alicia, chock-full of floral information and your imaginative poetry. Thank you, m'dear, for this treat. Voted up!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the lovely comment, drbj! I appreciate it very much. Thanks for the vote, too!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

AliciaC,

Wow, what didn't you include here? This is excellent, useful and interesting! If I told you that I never stopped to realize there were actually wild roses, you can only imagine how informative this hub was for me! :D ... What a history behind the rose and look how strong it's popularity is today.

I loved the poem as well; that was beautiful.... very talented in many areas!

Voted up and others ~ Sharing too!

Cat


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

This was beautiful! My grandma, who I currently live with, runs a flower shop (95 years old and still going) and this hub reminded me of the hard work to keep her babies going! I loved the pictures and the poem! Voted it up!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the kind comment, the votes and the share, Cat! It's very nice to meet you.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

How wonderful for your grandma to run a business at the age of 95, writinglover! Thank you for the comment and the vote. It's nice to meet you, too!


writinglover profile image

writinglover 3 years ago from Lost...In Poetry

Charmed! :D


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Thank you! The pleasure is all mine :-)


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

Now how can a Rose not love a beautiful hub about roses? This is just lovely and your poem is spectacular! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up)

-Rose


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the lovely comment and the vote, Rose! I appreciate your visit.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

@AliciaC i really did enjoy article! I would guess that roses are seen as love and sometimes for when someone passes because of how they have been portrayed throughout history, in books, and in movies. I love the detail in your article. I like how you give us a history behind roses and how you speak of the benefits of rose oil. Voted up and pinned !


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

I've never seen a two-toned rose before, it's really uniquely beautiful! I also love your pictures, the video (like walking through a lovely and lush rose garden), and your poem... if only my environment is as beautiful as yours I could have written a poem too. Thanks for sharing. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the pin, torrilynn!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I love the two-toned roses, too! Thank you for the visit and comment. vibesites.


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Wonderful hub that I enjoyed reading, Alicia. The history of rose's meaning and symbolism in culture was quite interesting as it is your poem! Voted and pinned!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Elias! I appreciate the vote and the pin, as well as the comment.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Excellent historical info on the rose, topped off by a great poem. Long live the rose.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Deb. I appreciate your comment about the hub and the poem!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Roses are beautiful and such an interesting insight to the Symbols of Love and Flowers of Beauty, voted up, and awesome!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, DDE. I appreciate the votes!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

What an excellent hub about roses! All flowers are beautiful, but roses take the cake. During a visit to a perfume factory in Cairo, I was amazed to hear that Egypt are the, or one of the, biggest exporters of rose oil, and some other flowers as well.

Beautiful, well-written hub, thank you, Alicia. Oh, and the pictures of roses are just too beautiful for words.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the visit and the lovely comment, Martie. Thanks for sharing the interesting information about the production of rose oil in Egypt, too. Your visit to Cairo must have been very interesting!


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

Excellent hub and love the poem and the beautiful pictures. Pinned and voted up


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, Sue, as well as for the vote and the pin!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Holy Cow, that is just awesome! I can so relate to your poem. I love poetry but SO have to be inspired to do so. This is so pretty, and I can tell that in one way or another, you were inspired to write it. Voted way ups and shared!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, the vote and the share, Rebecca! Yes, I was inspired to write the poem. It was written after I had been thinking about a particular situation in my life. The poem is fictional, but there are a few elements that are close to reality sprinkled within the fiction!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

This is truly beautiful and I vote up and share. I have two mini roses and have taken many photos of each and each one as beautiful as the last.

Here's to so many more and enjoy your day.

Eddy.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Eddy! I appreciate the vote and the share. Roses are beautiful flowers. Like you, I love to photograph them.

I hope you have a great day as well!


VioletteRose profile image

VioletteRose 2 years ago from Chicago

I love most of the flowers, and roses are among my most favourite flowers. Your pictures are all so pretty, thanks for sharing :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, VioletteRose. I appreciate your visit. I love roses, too!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 21 months ago

Love the beautiful flowers!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, poetryman6969.


vasantha  T k profile image

vasantha T k 19 months ago from Bangalore

Beautiful roses , enjoyed the different colours of Roses. It's lovely.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, vasantha T k.


Diana Abrahamson profile image

Diana Abrahamson 19 months ago from t Francis Bay

Love your rose hub. They are so rewarding to grow in the garden. Also love the subtle scent of my white ones!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Diana. Thanks for the comment. I love roses of all colours! They are such beautiful flowers.


Diana Abrahamson profile image

Diana Abrahamson 19 months ago from t Francis Bay

Hi Alicia..my mum and grandmother had roses in their gardens..always made an impression on me!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi again, Diana. My parents didn't grow roses very often when I was a child, but some of my relatives did. I've always loved the flowers. They are so beautiful.


bluebird profile image

bluebird 15 months ago

I was so moved by your poetry here and so identified with it, the past cannot be forgotten. A beautiful piece with a very lovely ending. Roses are everyone's favorite or so I would think. Wonderful feel to it all that warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing this with us. Great job with words and the pictures and video are certainly lovely in sight, thought and mind.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for such a kind and lovely comment, bluebird. I appreciate it a great deal. I agree - there are some aspects of the past that cannot and must not be forgotten. That was the feeling that triggered me to write the poem.

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    Linda Crampton (AliciaC)1,248 Followers
    426 Articles

    Linda Crampton is a teacher who enjoys reading and creative writing. Her favourite genres are classic literature, fantasy, myth and poetry.



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