Painting from 'Flowers' set by Daria Bagrintseva.
The rose is one of the most famous and beloved of all flowers. As William Shakespeare once wrote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Roses have been revered for centuries. Historical evidence shows they were grown in China about 5,000 years ago and they have continued to play a part in history ever since.
The rose has many meanings which vary depending on its color. However any rose can be commonly seen as a symbol of:
In addition to being one of the most popular flowers commercialized and grown today, you will often find rose tattoos on women and men as an expression of timeless beauty and other vivid meanings.
The old English rose comes from the latin rosa and is probably from Italian and Greek dialects rhodon and most likely from the Iranian root *vrda-. The rose was special to the Macedonia & the Thracian regions as well as Persia and & the Latin & Greek names most likely came from a Thraco-Phrygian source.
The rose is often associated with numerology. In art of the renaissance period, a rose with eight petals was a message of rebirth and renewal. In alchemical texts and art, a rose with seven petals was a symbol of inclusion, universal understanding and order. The association between numerology and the rose is also seen in Freemasonry where each of three roses are symbolic of a guiding principle – Love, Life and Light.
In mythology the rose is associated with Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love who was often depicted adorned with roses around her head, feet and or neck. It is also said that a rose bush grew within the pool of blood spilled from Aphrodite’s slain lover Adonis. In Christian mythology, a rose bush was also said to have grown at the site of Christ’s death.
In the Tarot the rose is considered a symbol of balance. It expresses promise, new beginnings, and hope. Its thorns represent defense, physicality, loss, thoughtlessness. In the major arcana the rose appears on the Magician, Strength, Death and Fool cards. All of these cards hold strong meanings of balance and equilibrium.
In the classical era, the rose was sacred to a number of goddesses including Isis. The ancient Greeks and Romans also identified the rose with the goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus respectively. 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 and is derived from this ancient Roman practice.
Christians in Medieval times identified the five petals of the rose with the five wounds of Christ. The rose later became associated with the Virgin Mary and was eventually adopted as a symbol of the blood of the Christian martyrs. A bouquet of red roses is used as a gift on Valentine’s Day which is a day celebrating the Christian Saint Valentinus.
In more modern times in 1986 it was named the floral emblem of the United States, and it is the provincial flower of Alberta, Canada. It is the state flower of 4 US states including: Iowa, North Dakota, Georgia, and New York.
All roses have a flower head that is round in shape and symmetrical across its face and down its vertical axis. Rose petals range in shape from a pointed cone to a rounded tear shape. Some lay flat while the edges of others curl up or under. Roses come in a vast array of colors and in a large number of varying hues within the same color. The petals can be bi-color or tri-color and bloom and appear in nearly every color save blue and black. Other Interesting rose facts:
There are over 100 species of roses.
For hundreds of years the rose has been widely recognized as a symbol of love, sympathy or sorrow.
The fruit of a rose is called a rose hip. The berry-like hip are usually red in color, but can sometimes be dark purple or black.
The sharp spikes on the stem of a rose bush are usually called “thorns”. However, these are actually technically prickles.
Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Rose Flower
Rose hips of certain species are extremely high in vitamin C. It is due to this that the hip is often made into jam, jelly, or brewed for tea. Rose hips also have minor medicinal uses such as antidepressant, aphrodisiac, and antibacterial among others. They are used in food supplements and can be pressed or filtered to make rose hip syrup. Hip seed oil is also used in skin products and makeup products.
Acrylic on canvas