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All About Red Roses

Updated on December 18, 2016

It is difficult to figure when the first red roses appeared, but we know that the color is a genetic characteristic that flowers developed mainly to attract pollinators. The petals contain flavonoids that reflect a color when exposed to solar radiation.
Thus, the flower color is due to the pigments present in the petals, but it is also induced by soil pH and thermodynamics.
Most pollinators are bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Bees, however, seem to be more attracted by scent than by color. Both butterflies and hummingbirds, particularly like the red color.

Since 35 million years ago, we can trace the flower history among other early civilizations then China, as the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Phoenicians.These civilizations also traded them which explains their spread throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

Although there's no evidence to date red roses arising, there are so many legends, both in religion and popular culture, about their creation! Its color is also relevant throughout history, constantly observing the duality of colors, red mainly associated with blood and martyrs, and white with purity.

"Rosa gallica Pontiana", watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840)
"Rosa gallica Pontiana", watercolor by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) | Source

There are more than 900 different varieties of red roses with different shades, varying in shapes and sizes with petals from glossy to matt. Their scent also varies considerably.

It was only during the 18th century, in Europe, that true red roses were discovered, coming from China. Before that they were deep or dark pink colors at their reddest.

They have been also used as symbols throughout history like the War of the Roses, a conflict for the control of the throne of England between 1455 and 1487.

But there were other "wars of roses" in history like the 1886 campaign for governor of Tennessee (US), contested between brothers and The Nineteenth Amendment ratification, in 1920, that would give women the right to vote. Suffragists weared yellow roses and anti-suffragists weared red roses.

After May 1968 street protests in Paris, when red roses were used as a badge by the marchers, most Socialist and Social Democratic parties used them as a symbol.

More recently Georgia's peaceful revolution in November 2003 was called the Revolution of Roses because demonstrators led by Mikheil Saakashvili stormed the Parliament session with red roses in hand.

They are also present in many stories and poems over the years such as the snow-white and rose-red, whose version was immortalized by the Grimm brothers, Oscar Wilde's Nightingale and the Rose, probably inspired by a Persian legend, and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, related to the Queen of Hearts. They still appear in other remarkable literature as the Divine Comedy of Dante, through Shakespeare's work and in the poetry of Robert Burns, among many, many others.

“La Pioggia di Petali di Rose” is the rain of red petals coming down from Oculus of the Pantheon in Rome. It symbolizes the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames on the day of Pentecost and it dates back to the times of the early Christians.

The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove.

— John Boyle O'Reilly

Aleppo Red Roses

Abu Wad, with the help of his 13-year son, were the last ones to grow red roses, among other flowers, in Aleppo, while the town was devastated by war.

Everybody hopes that red roses can grow peacefully in Syria again.

25 Red Roses with Interesting Names

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Ketchup and Mustard" rose Red Devil RoseRose D. JuanLava Glow RoseWarm and FuzzyEtna RoseRosa 'Livin' Easy'Rose Home RunRose 'Betty Boop'Rose ShowbizRosa 'Wing Ding'Rose 'Knock Out'Rose 'Playboy'Rosa 'Super Hero' Rosa 'Rock 'n' Roll'Rosa 'Rainbow Sorbet'Rosa 'Hot Cocoa'Rosa 'Veteran's Honor' also known as  'Five Roses Rose' or 'Lady in Red'Rosa Red CorsairRose SympathieRosa 'Samourai' Rosa 'Pharaoh',Rosa  CocktailFlower Carpet roses Rose 'Cocorico'
"Ketchup and Mustard" rose
"Ketchup and Mustard" rose | Source
Red Devil Rose
Red Devil Rose | Source
Rose D. Juan
Rose D. Juan | Source
Lava Glow Rose
Lava Glow Rose | Source
Warm and Fuzzy
Warm and Fuzzy | Source
Etna Rose
Etna Rose | Source
Rosa 'Livin' Easy'
Rosa 'Livin' Easy' | Source
Rose Home Run
Rose Home Run | Source
Rose 'Betty Boop'
Rose 'Betty Boop' | Source
Rose Showbiz
Rose Showbiz | Source
Rosa 'Wing Ding'
Rosa 'Wing Ding' | Source
Rose 'Knock Out'
Rose 'Knock Out' | Source
Rose 'Playboy'
Rose 'Playboy' | Source
Rosa 'Super Hero'
Rosa 'Super Hero' | Source
Rosa 'Rock 'n' Roll'
Rosa 'Rock 'n' Roll' | Source
Rosa 'Rainbow Sorbet'
Rosa 'Rainbow Sorbet' | Source
Rosa 'Hot Cocoa'
Rosa 'Hot Cocoa' | Source
Rosa 'Veteran's Honor' also known as  'Five Roses Rose' or 'Lady in Red'
Rosa 'Veteran's Honor' also known as 'Five Roses Rose' or 'Lady in Red' | Source
Rosa Red Corsair
Rosa Red Corsair | Source
Rose Sympathie
Rose Sympathie | Source
Rosa 'Samourai'
Rosa 'Samourai' | Source
Rosa 'Pharaoh',
Rosa 'Pharaoh', | Source
Rosa  Cocktail
Rosa Cocktail | Source
Flower Carpet roses
Flower Carpet roses | Source
 Rose 'Cocorico'
Rose 'Cocorico' | Source


Red Rose Dates
- Each year on June 12, people in the United States celebrate National Red Rose Day
- Sant Jordi's Day (St. Georges) in Catalonia is the "dia dels enamorats" (the lovers' day), on which the enamoured are supposed to give a blood-red rose to their beloveds
- Every year on June 24, representatives of one of the oldest religious foundations in London offer the Lord Mayor a red rose on a cushion in payment of a tax originally owed by a certain Robert Knollys. He was ordered to pay this tax ad vitam eternam (for all eternity) in the fourteenth century for the crime of having created a passage between two houses that he owned on either side of Seething Lane, without council.
- Since the beginning 1949, Edgar Allan Poe grave was visited every year by a mystery man, known endearingly as the Poe Toaster, in the early hours of Poe's birthday, January 19th. He knelt down at the grave for a toast of Martel Cognac and leave a half-full bottle and three red roses.
In alchemy the Latin phrase “sub rosa” (“under the rose”) or a red rose hunging from the ceiling, indicates secrecy.
World's Tallest Red Roses
- These giant roses are grown in a special volcanic region in Ecuador where the extended sunlight hours and cool night temperatures allow these flowers to achieve heights of nearly 5-6 feet tall and feature 3-4 inch blooms
Red Roses in the sky
- Muslims say that the Cat's eye Nebula shouls have been named "Oily Red Rose Nebula" As the Quran 1,400 years ago states in Surat ar-Rahman (chapter 55), "When the sky is torn apart, so it was (like) a red rose, like ointment."
- A miniature rose was grown in space, on NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery Flight STS-95, in an ASTROCULTURE commercial plant growth chamber. Scientists wanted to see whether a rose grown in space really would smell as sweet as its terrestrial counterpart.
People that always pinned a red rose on the lapel
- Neru always had a red rose pinned to his lapel, no one knows the reason for sure, but there are a few legends about it.
- Pierre Trudeau also pinned always a red rose on his lapel. It is said that a man once inspired him telling that the red rose made him feel happy
Red Roses after dead
- Jack Benny arranged to have a single red rose sent to his wife every day after he was gone.
- Joe DiMaggio sent red roses to Marilyn Monroe's grave 3 times a week for 20 years after her death.
Blood Red Roses Music
- "Blutrote Rosen" (Blood Red Roses) was Hitler and Eva's favorite song, a little known fact that this is the song they and their Bunker friends listen to just before the entered their quarters to commit suicide
Garlands of red roses
- The History of Kentucky Derby's Garland Of Roses comes from 1896 when president of Churchill Downs, Col. Lewis Clark, adopted the rose as the race's official flower.
Black Roses
- Black roses are actually dark red roses.
- In Alice in Wonderland, the royal gardeners paint white roses red because they had used white ones by mistake, and if the Queen was to find out they should all have their heads cut off.
Four roses Bourbon
- It is said that Paul Jones, Jr., the founder of Four Roses Bourbon, sent a proposal to a beautiful woman and she replied that if her answer were “Yes,” she would wear a corsage of roses on her gown to the upcoming grand ball, what she actually did

Rose Hips

According to Arthritis Research UK, hips have anti-inflammatory properties that may be effective in relieving some symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

During World War II, when the government urged householders to grow food in victory gardens as part of the war effort, rose hips were stressed as a high-C food. At that time, there were plenty of recipes around for eating them as “dinner vegetables” and as various kinds of preserves and jams.

Rose industry

Although there are fluctuations in the most sold flowers in the world, the roses always stand between the first three ranking places dealing with billions of dollar values.

The largest producers of the common ones sold in supermarkets and on the streets are Kenya, Ethiopia, Colombia and Ecuador and there are a big amount of social and ecological issues associated with them.

  • Women are the main labor force working up to 15 hours, for starvation wages and bearing extremely precarious conditions.
  • Workers' health is severely hampered by the systematic use of pesticides, 20% of which are banned in the United States and considered carcinogenic.
  • Flower culture needs large amounts of water, which causes a big environmental impact. Lack of water is often felt, both for human consumption, and for other farmland.
  • Lack of crop alternation depletes the soil and the pesticides contaminate land and water.
  • Monoculture of the flower also endangers food as traditional crops cease to exist and has an impact on pollinators that reduce enormously.
  • In addition, we have the flowers, transport and distribution environmental impact.



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