There are over 100 species and thousands of cultivars of roses. They vary in color, shape and size and all but one rose species have 5 petals.
Here are a dozen interesting facts about roses.
1. Black roses are an illusion of the mind
There are no roses that are black in color, although there are a few species of roses that come close. The Turkish Halfeti rose, also known as “The Black Rose of Turkey”, is an extremely rare breed that appears pitch-black to the eye, but in fact is a dark reddish-crimson color.
2. The world’s first blue rose
For years breeders have crossed different colors of roses in an effort to create what seemed the impossible, a blue rose. Rose petals lack the enzyme needed to create a blue pigment and breeders always failed. However, in 2009, applying genetic engineering resulted in the world’s first blue rose.
3. The world’s most expensive rose
Introduced to the world in 2006 by famed rose breeder David Austin, the Juliet rose took 15 years and £3 million (about $5 million) to breed. It is the world’s most expensive rose cultivar.
4. Roses can grow very tall
The tallest rose bush on record is over 23 feet (7 metres) tall.
5. The largest rosebush in the world
The world’s largest rosebush is of the Lady Banksia variety. The rosebush’s canopy measures 8,500 square feet (around 790 square meters), its trunk has a circumference of around 12 feet (3.6 metres), and it comprises of over 200,000 blooms.
6. Roses can live a very long time
Roses are mentioned throughout history and rose fossils date back 35 million years.
Roses also live a very long time. The large rose bush that covers the wall of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany has done so for over 1000 years.
7. Roses are mentioned many times in the Bible
Only 3 flowers are mentioned by name in the Bible and the rose is one of them.
The camphire (henna), the lily and the rose are the flowers that are mentioned by name in the Bible. Roses and lilies are mentioned many times in the Bible.
8. First rose in space
In 2002, the miniature rose, named the “Overnight Scentsation”, journeyed to space to aid in studies regarding the effects of low gravity on the smell of the rose, and to learn how to improve the fragrances of many consumer products.
9. Roses are edible
Roses can be added to salads and used in desserts and cakes.
Rose Petals and rose hips are also made into jam, jelly and marmalade.
Rose syrup is sometimes used to make marshmallows and is used in rose-flavored ice cream.
Rose water (flavored water made by steeping rose petals in water) is sometimes used in baklava, gumdrops and nougat
10. Roses are a great source of Vitamin C
The rose hip (the fruit of the rose plant) contains high amounts of vitamin C as well as trace amounts of vitamin A and B. Rose hip is considered one of the richest plant sources of vitamin C.
11. Roses are a valuable source of income for some countries
54% of the land in Ecuador is filled with roses. Nearly a quarter of all roses sold in the United States come from Ecuador. (Almost 80% of the 4 billion cut flower stems – including roses – purchased annually in the United States come from Ecuador and Columbia.) From here, 200 million rose stems are sent to the United States for the Valentine’s Day celebration. Roses are big business in South America, employing more than a quarter of a million people.
About 60% of all cut flowers bought in France are roses. 600 million roses are sold annually in France; about 10 roses per person per year. 200 million roses are grown in France, the rest are imported.
30% of Europe’s cut flower imports are from Kenya, and most of those are roses. The bigger rose farms each employ some 5 000 workers.
In Zambia over 80% of cultivated land is dominated with rose cultivation. Roses comprise 95% of all Zambia’s flower exports.
You’ll notice that those rose-growing countries mentioned are near the equator in areas where water is fairly ample. Roses are thirsty plants; up to 3.4 gallons (13 litres) is needed to bring one rose flower to blossom.
12. All rose species have 5 petals, except 1
All rose species have 5 petals, except for the Rosa Sericea, which has 4 petals.
The Rosa Sericea is native to the Himalayas, generally found growing at altitudes of around 1,2 – 2,4 miles (2 – 4 km). This breed of rose was introduced to Europe only in the 19th century.
The word rose comes from French, from which the word comes from the Latin rosa. When used in endearment, rosa means “love”.
A red rose is a symbol of love and passion, a pink rose a symbol of happiness and yellow rose a symbol of friendship. See Meaning of flowers.
Original article by Eamon Fennelly of Capital Garden Services, Dublin, Ireland.