Quick, name a flower….. Well, you may not have said rose, but if you were to experiment with the question you will find that, of the estimated 300,000 species of plants on earth, the rose is the first flower to pop into most minds. Roses have a long and colorful history. They have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics. According to fossil evidence, the rose is 35 million years old. But its eveidence is found in 1700 bc in work by Crete, illustrating a rose with five-pedaled pink blooms.
Discoveries of tombs in Egypt have revealed wreaths made with flowers, with roses among them. Today, there are over 30,000 varieties of roses and it has the most complicated family tree of any known flower species. Garden cultivation of roses began some 5,000 years ago, probably in China. They have been part of the human experience ever since and mentions of the flower are woven into a great many tales from the ancient world.
Greek mythology tells us that it was Aphrodite who gave the rose its name, and it was created by the goddess of flowers, Chloris. In the seventeenth century roses were in such high demand that roses and rose water were considered as legal tender. In this capacity they were used as barter in the markets as well as for any payments the common people had to make to royalty. Until the beginning of the 19th century, all roses in Europe were shades of pink or white.
Our romantic symbol of the red rose first came from China around 1800 AD. Unusual green roses arrived a few decades later. The rose is a phenomenal plant and is rightly known as the worlds favorite flower Today, roses are grown extensively in many parts of the world, especially in France, India, and the Balkans, and attar of roses is used in perfumes, cosmetics, and flavoring syrups. Rose hips, the fruits of the rose plant, are used to make tea, or as a source of Vitamin C.