Plant: Rose
Botanical Name: Rosa from Greek word rodon, meaning red.

Synonyms, Country Names:

Symbolic: There is no flower so often mentioned by William Shakespeare as the rose (at least 70 times) and he would probably consider it the queen of flowers, for it was so deemed in his time. In Two Noble Kinsmen: "Of all flowers methinks a rose is best." Rose is simply the emblem of all that is loveliest and brightest and most beautiful upon earth, yet always with the underlying sentiment that even the brightest has its dark side, as the rose has its thorns. It is the national emblem of England.


Cultivation: Prefers well drained, rather neutral (6.5) soil and six hours of full sun each day. Pruning best done in spring.(?) Prune back to live wood, always close to a bud. If you wish to enhance the health and fragrance of roses, companion plant them with chives, onions or garlic. The sulfur secretions of these plants enhance rose vigor and fragrance. Parsley plants love roses too.

The Useful Plant: Rose water strengthens the heart. Rose hips are high in vitamin C. In World War II oranges could not be imported into Britain. Volunteers picked hundreds of pounds of rose hips for syrup as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. The vitamin C content is ten times more in the north of Scotland than roses in southern England. Helps stomach and lung disorders, infertility and used in skin care. Rose oils are good for stretch marks and wrinkles. It takes 10,000 lbs. of flowers to produce one pound of rose oil by steam distillation. Dew on roses made the best and most expensive cosmetics. Alaskan natives insert rose thorns into warts and after two or three days, the wart disappears.
Great tea: rose hips, orange slices, cinnamon and cloves. The hairs surrounding seeds can irritate intestinal linings when eaten in excess. The hairy covering was once used to medicinally rid system of roundworms. It is said to be responsible for an "itchy bottom" condition when too much is consumed. Strain rose hip tea when seeds are left intact.

Folklore: In feudal times in England tenants were sometimes allowed to pay a symbolic rent with roses. Rosary beads were first made from a paste of pulverized rose petals. A Scottish superstition says it is bad luck for a bride to carry red roses in her bridal bouquet but it is considered good luck for the father of the bride to give his daughter a bouquet of red roses. Rose petals were used as mattress fillings. Cleopatra had rose petal beds for her guests to lie upon, hence the term "a bed of roses."
The expression "sub rosa" originated in Rome...signifies silence. When roses are suspended above a table or engraved on the ceiling, this indicates the confidentiality of all conversations engaged in "sub rosa."
In Greek folklore when Adonis was wounded his blood turned roses red. Roses likely originated in Asia 60 million years ago. The oldest known fossil rose found in Florissant, Colorado is 40 million years old.

Personal: Monica Van Zale
Colorado Shakespeare Gardens
February 2013