The world’s most popular plants, roses, please the eye with their striking beauty and fill the garden with their delicate aroma. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, with each of them symbolizing a certain thing and suitable for a certain occasion. Many know that red roses represent passion, but few can say something about the plant’s role in our culture and history.
Keep reading to learn the most surprising things about the rose.
The rose is the oldest plant cultivated as a decoration
It’s stated in Guinness World Records. Ancient Romans grew the flower all year round in large quantities, using it in cooking, medicine, and ornamentation. Asians grew rose gardens 5,000 years ago, but we still don’t know why.
Moreover, it’s one of the 3 plants mentioned in the holy texts of the Bible. The other two sacred flowers are the true lily and the camphire. Christians believe that the five petals of the rose symbolize the wounds Jesus got through the crucifixion, and the red color represents his sacrificial blood.
Roses are surprisingly long-living
The oldest living rose is more than 1,000 years old! It’s growing outside the Hildesheim cathedral, a German medieval cathedral. The first document mentioning this legendary bush dates back to 815 AD. The cathedral was ruined in 1945, but the plant’s roots survived and the rose bloomed again, becoming a symbol of hope for people. There is a legend that promises the city prosperity until the bush dies.
What about modern roses? It’s difficult to estimate its average life span, as the rose is extremely picky in terms of growing conditions and can die prematurely even in the hands of an experienced gardener. Moreover, there are a few hundred species and a countless number of cultivars, including genetically engineered ones, which complicates this question. According to rose exhibitors, bushes live around 10 years, but their plants often suffer from overfeeding for the sake of lusher blooms. Many experienced gardeners are known to grow the same bush for 30 to 50 years.
It’s an important plant in US history
We’ve chosen 3 most interesting events that prove the rose to play an important role in US history. George Washington, a Founding Father and the first US President, was the first cultivator of roses in the country. He also bred a new species and named it after his mother. ‘Mary Washington’ is a beautiful pale-pink rose with a delicate scent that is still popular among gardeners. In 1865, a French nursery bred a wonderful bright-pink rose and named it ‘Souvenir du Président Lincoln’ to celebrate the outstanding President. And finally, in 1986, the rose became the national plant of the United States. Ronald Reagan declared this in the well-known White House Rose Garden.
Rose flowers are edible
More than an impractical decoration, the rose is a common ingredient in some dishes. Its petals are used to make delicious and healthy salads and jams. Although all roses are edible, Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, and Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ have the sweetest flavors. Moreover, the plants bear fruit called rose hips that contain more vitamin C than lemons, so they are often included in herbal teas.
If you want to try your hand at making rose jam, you’ll need flowers grown without pesticides. Unfortunately, floral shops don’t sell such plants, so the optimal way to get safe ingredients is by growing roses yourself.
There are no black roses
The rose is an all-purpose plant suitable for any occasion, as it comes in a variety of colors and shades. However, there are no natural black or blue pigments in it. Many breeders are striving to get one of them, but even the ‘black rose’ of Halfeti, a Turkish village, is actually dark red.
However, there is a miraculous species that changes its color throughout the blooming season. Rose ‘Chameleon,’ also known as ‘Pur Caprice,’ produces goldish-yellow flowers. Then the margins of the petals turn red. Mature flowers fade, and their petals become white with green edges. Isn’t it more amazing than just a black-colored flower?
Rose Oil is highly expensive and yet irreplaceable
It’s a well-known fact that rose oil is common. 46% of men’s perfumes and 98% of women’s fragrances contain it, even if you can’t feel the true rose smell. According to perfumers, rose oil is the perfect base for any fragrance. It’s actually easier to hide the rose scent than to reveal it.
What’s more surprising is that rose oil is more expensive than gold or platinum. You need 6.6 pounds (3 kg) of rose petals to make 0.04 ounces (1 g) of rose oil, that’s why it costs so much. By the way, rose water, a by-product of rose oil extraction, is also a valuable material used in fragrances, cosmetics, and cooking.
There’s a rose festival
This colorful and authentic event was established in 1903 to celebrate the role of the Rosa Damascena—the Bulgarian oil-bearing rose. The Rose Valley, located in the country, produces 50% of the world’s rose oil. The festival starts at the beginning of June and lasts for 3 weeks.
Kazanlak and nearby settlements hold various fascinating concerts, workshops, and rituals, attracting guests from all over the world every year. The Rose Queen coronation, rose-picking ritual, and parade are probably the most spectacular events of the festival.