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Roses are Red and Pink and...

Updated on August 9, 2015

A Rose by any other Name

What about Roses?

I meant this as a Valentine’s hub. However, I was not able to finish it on time for Valentine’s Day so I’m turning it into a flower and color hub instead.

No other flower can rival the rose as the symbol of love and passion. Even the color and the number of roses given, have their own special meanings. Why so? Let’s find out.

A Bit of Myth and History

The rose as a symbol of love has both mythological and historical origins and it is no longer clear where one aspect ends and the other begins.

The Greeks and Romans believe that the rose is the symbol of their goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus respectively.

According to the myth, roses appeared on earth as Aphrodite/Venus emerged from the sea. This supposedly shows that just like the gods, the earth is also capable of producing a thing of perfect beauty. Boticelli depicts this in his famous painting, the “Birth of Venus”, which shows roses surrounding Venus as she emerged from the sea.

Birth of Venus photo from:
Birth of Venus photo from:

Another myth tells that the rose originally had no thorns. However, one day, Cupid or Eros (the god of love), was stung by a bee while he was enjoying the scent of the rose. Annoyed, he punished the flower by shooting arrows to the stem, thus the rose developed thorns. Notice that rose is an anagram of Eros.

Meanwhile, history tells that during the Victorian times, suitors gave roses to the ladies they are courting as a symbol of their love. This is especially true for the red rose. A single rose supposedly stands for “I love you, and only you”, while a dozen roses means “be my steady or my girl”. In addition, there is a beautiful Roman tradition wherein married couples are crowned with red roses.

Rose hips photo from:
Rose hips photo from:

The Other Meaning of Roses Around the World

Aside from being a symbol of love, the rose also has other meanings.

a) To Christians

Among Christians, the rose is associated with the Virgin Mary. It also symbolizes the blood of Christian martyrs as well as the five wounds of Christ. Furthermore, the word "rosary" comes from rosarium, a Latin word that means “rose garden” or “garland of roses”.

According to a Christian legend, a monk made a garland of 150 roses every day as an offering to the Virgin Mary. When he could not get enough roses, he substituted the rose garland with 150 prayers. Because of his piety, a “beautiful glowing woman” gave him a rosary with 150 beads. The first rosaries are supposedly made from rose hips, the fruits of roses.

b) In Rome

In ancient Rome, a wild rose on the door of a room indicates that top secret or confidential matters are being discussed. Thus, the rose on the door in ancient Rome is as good a reminder as an “off limits” sign at present times.

By the way, the term “sub rosa” or “under the rose” means to keep a secret. Romans therefore painted roses on the ceiling of their banquet halls to remind everyone that whatever are said under the influence of wine or sub vino must remain as sub rosa.

A rose is also carved on the wooden door of confessionals in Catholic churches to indicate the secrecy of the place.

In present times, the term sub rosa also means “confidential” or “off the record”.

Twin roses
Twin roses
Abstract Rose
Abstract Rose

c) In England

The secrecy meaning of the rose is also used in England.

During the 16th century, servants and tavern workers wore roses behind their ears to indicate that whatever they hear will not be shared with others.

A rose is also a usual component in the coat of arms of many families in medieval England. A well-known example is the War of the Roses between the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster. These two families fought to gain control of the English crown.

d) In France

The former empress of France, Empress Josephine, loved roses. It is said that botanists were hired to create the most perfect roses for her. These roses covered her Paris estate.

e) In Germany

Secrecy is also the name of the game when it comes to roses in Germany. Dining rooms at homes and in public places are usually adorned with roses to signal to diners that they can speak freely as they enjoy their food.

f) In the USA and Other Parts of the World

The rose as the flower to give during Valentine ’s Day is popularized in the USA and other parts of the world. The meanings of the various colors of roses also gained popularity the same way.

A Rose is for Loving

It is but natural that a red rose is the symbol of love. Why? Because red is a warm color. It is fiery, hot, vibrant, and stimulating. It is eyecatching and draws attention. This is the reason why photographers always carry something red so that they can use it to catch attention in an otherwise drab or dreary scene.

Red is also the color of blood. It means life. When you are in love, you are alive, interested and passionate.

Physiologically and psychologically, red makes your heartbeat and breathing go faster. The same thing happens when you are in love. Didn’t you catch your breath and feel the thud of your heart when you saw your crush walking down the street towards you?

Color therapists say that red is a color both of passion and pain. That’s what love is too, full of passion and pain, right? And that’s what a rose is too - it makes you passionate but can hurt you with its thorns.

Oh la la... as the saying goes; love is what makes the world go round. And love is a rose and a rose is love as can be seen in the quotes below.

The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.

– Unknown

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose, that's newly sprung in June; Oh, my love is like the melody, that's sweetly played in tune.

- Robert Burns

What the Rose's Color Means

  • Red - True love, romance and passion
  • Blue - Mystery, attaining the impossible
  • White - Eternal love, silence or innocence, wistfulness, virtue,purity, secrecy, reverence and humility
  • Black - Death, hatred, farewell, rejuvenation or rebirth
  • Yellow - Friendship, or dying love (or platonic love) or jealousy, infidelity, or apology
  • Pink - Grace
  • Dark pink - Gratitude
  • Light pink - Desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy
  • Burgandy - unconscious Beauty
  • Coral or orange - Desire, passion
  • Lavender (violet) - Love at first sight
  • Red and White together - Unity
  • Red and Yellow together - Joy, happiness, and excitement
  • Thornless - Love at first sight

Info from:

There Must Be Something about a Rose

There must be something about a rose that makes lovers swoon and singers sing and writers write and ... oh the list goes on but here are a few examples:

a) Some Phrases with Roses

... Everything's coming up roses.

... Every rose has its thorn.

... Pin a rose on your nose

... Take time to smell the roses.

b) Two songs with Roses

“Some people say that love is a rose

Maybe they've hit it right on the nose”

Yes, maybe they’ve hit it right on the nose indeed: when it’s a red rose.

- Then It’s Love by Don Williams

The days of wine and roses laugh and run away like a child at play

Through a meadow land toward a closing door

A door marked "nevermore" that wasn't there before

- The Days of Wine and Roses by Andy Williams

c) Some quotes with Roses

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. - William Shakespeare

The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose. - Kahlil Gibran

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted. - Henri Matisse

. . . One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. . . . It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important. . . . You become responsible for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose. . . .” The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This quote from The Little Prince inspired the song "L'important C'est La Rose" by Gilbert Becaud.

The following You Tube video is from this site:

yellow rose, the original photo
yellow rose, the original photo
manipulated green rose
manipulated green rose
manipulated blue rose
manipulated blue rose
manipulated black rose
manipulated black rose

Roses Are Red and Pink and Any Other Color You Can Think Of

When you say "rose", the color red or pink immediately comes to mind, right? In fact, the word “rose” can mean either the flower or the color or both. Thus, the idiom “rose colored glasses” means to believe something is much better than it actually is.

Roses are naturally red or pink or white. Nowadays however, you can have any color of rose you like... peach, yellow, lilac, or even green, blue or black.

The first 3 colors (peach, yellow, lilac) have become almost as common as red, pink and white roses. Meanwhile, a green rose is considered exotic but is still naturally occurring. The last two colors (blue and black) however are still rare but can be had. How is that possible? Well, there are actually three ways to do it:

1) by the expensive way of genetic manipulation;

2) by the cheaper way of using dyes; and

3) by color manipulation with a photo editor. This is of course possible if all you need is a picture of the rose.

You can see this manipulation in the photos at the right.

Aha, doesn’t that diminish the beauty and mystery of a rose then? Maybe yes, maybe no, it’s really up to you. For me, I adhere to what Gertrude Stein said... “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”.

If you like roses, check out this hub by another hubber.



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    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Simplicity4All,

      Thank you very much!

      If you want to link you simply have to edit your hub, copy my url and paste it somewhere in your hub. Save it and now you have a link. I will do it here for your hub so we can link to each other.

      Thanks again!

      God bless!

    • Simplicity4All profile image


      9 years ago from Rhode Island, USA

      this is beautiful! I love how you included the myth and origins and the pictures you chose were great Id love to link them although Im not sure how?

    • samsons1 profile image


      10 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up and beautiful! Well written and informative. Really enjoyed this, especially the beautiful pix.


    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello SwiftlyClean/Sharon - It's nice to see you!

      Oh, you got a green thumb too? That's wonderful!

      Yes, nothing beats having fresh flowers, especially roses on display at home. They really give a lift to the overall ambiance of any home.

      I enjoyed your hub about the rose, that's why I directed you here.

      Thank you very much for coming by.

      God bless you too!

    • SwiftlyClean profile image


      11 years ago from Texas

      Hello jill of alltrades,You left me your hub link on Roses and here I am.It is very nice and I enjoyed reading it.Roses will win everytime I love all my plants and my green tumb.But roses have my heart.I guess yours as well....:)There is nothing like fresh roses in display in my home everyday.They say living life!

      Thanks for reading my hub(Place A Rose Carefuly)

      God Bless!

      Sharon Smith

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi DeBorrah,

      You make me so happy with your beautiful words. I am blushing right now.

      Thank you very much for being so inspiring.

      God bless!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      Elder DeBorrah K Ogans 

      11 years ago

      Jill of allTrades, Absolutely Beautiful! Very informative! Beautiful illustrations as always! The Lord has gifted you as well with a photographic eye! You capture things in a way that makes one really see the beauty by the way the light shines and reflects on it. These photos you have selected to share relfect your gift to see the beauty in the natural...

      Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi reymos - It's good to see you again!

      Yes, roses are really so beautiful and amazing.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is really an interesting hub. Im fortunate to visit some of the parks in Northern Ireland and most of them have dedicated section for roses... It is amazing to know that there are a variety of roses, not only by colors but also its origin.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Cris - It's great to see you!

      Thank you very much for the wonderful comment! You are right, the rose is timeless so I was not really so disappointed that I missed my target date.

      Thanks for the link. You know, I was actually debating with myself which video to include - The Rose by Bette Midler or L'important C'est La Rose by Gilbert Becaud. As you saw, the latter won. I did not want to include both because I thought that my hub is a little long already.

      Thanks again, my friend!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      11 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      My friend, I agree wit everybody - what a lovely lovely hub! A befitting tribute, an ode actually, to the most beloved flower of them all. I enjoyed reading all the trivia and facts you presented - I could just imagine the research this took hence, missing the targetted date of posting. But your subject is timeless so no worries.

      And of course this reminded me of this song

      Thanks for sharing! :D

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi anglnwu - You always say the nicest things! Thank you ever so much! Your visit is always a pleasure!

      All the best!

    • anglnwu profile image


      11 years ago

      Such a lovely hub, filled with interesting details. Love the quotes and the history that goes with it. But still, the most stunning aspects of this hub are your snapshots of roses--captivating the enigma of roses, with all the nuances of love. Thanks for sharing--i love roses too!

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Amber - Thank you very much for your beautiful comment! Your visit is very much appreciated. Hope to see you again.

      Take care!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 

      11 years ago

      All this and they smell so beautiful as well. A well written and researched hub. Thanks. Amber

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Francia- it's good to see you here!

      Thank you very much for such appreciation. Your kind words make me happy. You are welcome! I really enjoyed writing this hub, so the pleasure is mine.

    • franciaonline profile image


      11 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! Wow! Gill, what a beautiful and well-done hub this is! It's not surprising that you got a lot of appreciative and thankful comments. More than my enjoyment of your writing and the added learning about roses that I got, I feasted on the photos of the roses! Thanks for writing this hub.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi James - that's something new! I'm always the one learning from your hubs. Thank you very much. I'm happy that you enjoyed this. Your words are simply heartwarming!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      11 years ago from Chicago

      I certainly received an education about roses today. Thank you very much. I hadn't thought there was so much I didn't know. I enjoyed it very much and as always your photographs are impeccable.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi tim-tim - Thank you very much! And welcome. It's really nice to see you again.

      Hey, beautiful avatar!

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 

      11 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Beautiful! Thanks for a bit of history and everything else.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi there tonymac - thank you very much!

      You have made me very happy with your comment. Yes, I did spend a lot of time in this hub. It took me a while to complete it and be happy with the results.

      It's really nice of you to visit!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello dohn - good to see you!

      Yes, a frat is definitely one group where "sub rosa" is practiced. The same is true with sororities, the female counterpart of frats. I still remember how secretive some friends were while in college.

      Thank you very much for your inspiring comment! I am glad that you learn something from my hubs.

      All the best!


    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      11 years ago from South Africa

      A lovely Hub on a lovely subject. Thanks, Jill, for putting so much into this Hub. It is really great - just like the wonderful flowers that are its subject!

      Love and peace


    • dohn121 profile image


      11 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      "A rose by any other name..."

      Awesome and beautiful hub, Jill. I learned the term "Sub Rosa" in college from my fraternity no less. For all intents and purposes, the rose is the my fraternity's flower. We have a song of serenade in which we sing to our beloved who would be deemed a "rose" in our eyes, as she is the most beautiful and precious of all. I learn so much from your hubs. Thank you!


    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi there Tony - good to see you my friend!

      Thank you very much for being always so supportive and appreciative of my works. You are cool man!

      Yes, Gilbert Becaud's original rendition of the song is really cool! He has later versions too but I enjoyed this version the best. We even have our own version of the song here in the Philippines.

      All the best!

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Coffeesnob - I always look forward to your visit. Why? Because you make me happy with your comments.

      That's a great idea - "my love is a fiery secret"! However, the person concerned has to know that a "rose" also means a "secret". You know, I did not know this too until I researched about the rose.

    • tony0724 profile image


      11 years ago from san diego calif

      Jill that was so cool ! I had no Idea about the history of the rose and you presented it in such an interesting manner.

      The video with Gilbert Becaud was totally cool too !And I wioll always enjoy a rose in its natural color that God gave it. Jill as usual fine work here.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Shalini - It's nice to see you again. Thank you very much for the visit and the heartwarming comment. You always say the nicest things! Thank you very much!

      God bless!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Jill, this hub was beautiful, informative and fun. I loved learning some of the facts about roses. Adds a twist the the stanza, "my love is a red red rose" - would that possibly be likened to saying my love is a fiery secret? Wow - this was excellent

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      11 years ago from India

      What an informative and beautiful hub, Jill - but then, I guess we all know just what wonderful hubs we can expect from you :) I love roses and I loved the history - and the pictures of course, are amazing!

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Brenda - great to see you again! Thank you very much for dropping by.

      Being a poet, I'm sure you have your share of poems about roses. Right?

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello D.A.L. - Your visit and comment have made me very happy. Thank you very much! You are an inspiration!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      i also loved the pictures, roses are indeed beautiful. Thanks for this hub

    • D.A.L. profile image


      11 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Jill, really enjoyed reading this hub which you have conveyed in your usual style of writing. The pictures are fantastic.

      Thank you.

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Green Lotus - Thanks very much for your kind words. You are very supportive of my endeavors.

      I used to have a few varieties of roses myself. Most of the pictures I used here are from my garden. However, they all died when they got submerged during the flood that hit us last year. Now I have to start my collection all over again.

      Wow, you can also smell the roses? Amazing! What a vivid imagery! Thank you!

      God bless!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Ann - Thanks very much for the visit and wonderful comment.

      God bless

    • jill of alltrades profile imageAUTHOR

      jill of alltrades 

      11 years ago from Philippines

      Hello hypnodude - It's nice to see you again! Thank you for being the first to visit and comment.

      I am happy that you like this hub and found some interesting information. I really appreciate your effort to rate this up and to stumble it. Thank you very much!

      All the best!

    • Green Lotus profile image


      11 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Another beautiful Hub Jill with exquisite photographs. I love roses and a few varieties grow in my garden, my favorite being the Yellow Lady Banks rose which is thornless, but can get massive! I also love all the antique roses because unlike the modern tea roses, they have a heavy fragrance. I think you're hub smells nice too.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      11 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub Jill...And here I just thought they were another plant! LOL

    • hypnodude profile image


      11 years ago from Italy

      Very interesting jill, especially the history part. I like this hub very much and it shows how much effort you put in it. I didn't know about the secrecy meaning either. Well done, rated up and stumbled. :)


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