4 Facts You Never Knew About Roses

4 Facts You Never Knew About Roses

Celebrated for beauty as much as for scent, roses have captivated the world for centuries. But how did this “queen of flowers” come to be a universal symbol of love? Here are four facts and a brief history that connect a single flower to centuries of love and passion.

Fragrant Facts

1. Legend has it that Cleopatra once received Marc Anthony in a room carpeted in 18 inches of rose petals. She perfumed the sails of her ship with rose water so that “the very winds were lovesick”.

2. The Society of American Florists estimates that nearly 257 million roses were produced for the Valentine’s Day holiday in 2014.

3. It takes about 250 pounds of petals to make a single ounce of true rose oil.

4. There are more than 100 species and thousands of hybrids of roses in the world.

Historical Romance

Research suggests that roses have existed in nature for over 40 million years and that cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, most likely in China. During the Roman Empire, nobility established public rose gardens and used the velvety flower as confetti at celebrations. For centuries roses were appreciated primarily for their beauty and properties simply as plants. They were used in rituals, medicines, and for personal grooming.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that flowers were appreciated in Western gardens and homes for their fragrance. The Victorian Age ushered in an interest in scent, even developing floriography (the language of flowers) to communicate feelings. Roses came to indicate passion and true love.

How funny that while we have always naturally found the scent to be lovely, we associate the rose with love and so now we’ve trained ourselves to find even the scent of roses romantic. It’s a fragrant nod toward the powerful connection between memory, sense of smell and emotion.

Petal Power

Typically the darker the rose, the stronger the fragrance. Red and pink roses often smell like what we think of as true “rose”. White and yellow often smell of violets, nasturtium, and lemon. Orange roses often smell of fruits, violets, nasturtium, and clove.

Color, condition and even time of day can affect what you experience when sniffing a rose. Early morning is when scents are strongest. But just clipping the stem can change the chemical releases that we smell, so a rose that’s mildly scented outdoors may be pleasingly potent once inside a vase. Flowers release scent when they are ready to be pollinated, roses are often most powerfully scented when half open. Like many flowers, roses get their scent from oils found in the petals. Rose oil is extracted to lend the eternally celebrated scent to cosmetics, fragrances and even food.

Today, the rose is the most cultivated flower in the world and we think it’s well deserved. Stop and smell the romance of the roses with us on Pinterest. #FeelGlade