Romance seeps in effortlessly, when we spot a red rose in its full youth. But did you know that the deeply captivating flower that flirts with your emotions in just one look has 35 million-year-old history? Yes, if fossil evidence is to be believed, rose is that old. The undying symbolism it holds for love and passion was sacred to a number of goddesses including Isis, Aphrodite, and Venus, which also explains its importance on Valentine’s Day. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite – Goddess of Love, is believed to have given life to rose from her tears and the blood of her lover, Adonis. It is also used as a symbol of Virgin Mary.
A symbol of beauty and opulence, rose has been significant to the important women in history too. Cleopatra had her living quarters filled with the petals of roses so that when Marc Antony met her, he would long remember her for such opulence and be reminded of her every time he smelt a rose.
Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, established an extensive collection of roses at Chateau de Malmaison in the 1800s. This garden became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute’s work as a botanical illustrator. In 1824, he completed his watercolor collection "Les Rose," which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.
In Rome, a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where secret or confidential matters were discussed. The phrase sub rosa or "under the rose" means to keep a secret derived from this ancient Roman practice.
Few facts about rose that you did not know:
The world’s oldest living rose bush is thought to be 1000 years old. Today, it continues to bloom on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.
Juliet, world’s most expensive rose is not red – Introduced 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.
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.
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.
All rose species have 5 petals, except for the Rosa Sericea, which has 4 petals.