The Rose- A Brief History

RosesRose, the world’s most loved flower, has a long and eventful past. Of the about 150 known species of rose, most are considered native to Asia. Carbon dating carried out on the oldest rose fossils place the rose to be some 35 million years old. Roses were first introduced in the garden by the Chinese, roughly 5000 years ago.

Of the origin of roses, there are many tales. According to Greek mythology the rose was created by Chloris, the goddess of flowers and named by Aphrodite. Then, there’s the Hindu lore that speaks of an argument between Brahma, creator of the world and Vishnu, protector of the world, regarding the most beautiful flower in existence. While Vishnu favored the rose, Brahma opined that the lotus was the prettiest. Brahma, however, had never seen rose. One look at the rose proved to be enough to change his mind. Pleased, Brahma used rose petals to create a bride for Vishnu and named her Lakshmi.

At one point during the age of the Romans, the popularity of the rose became a bane for the poor. While the wealthy relaxed in lavish baths filled with rose water and walked on carpets made of rose petals, the peasants were forced into cultivating roses instead of food crops. In the 15th century England, the 2 major fractions conflicting to gain power both picked the rose as their symbol. While the red rose symbolized Lancaster, the white rose represented York. The conflict is referred to in the history books as the War of the roses.

Garden roses were introduced in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. Most of the introduced varieties were repeated bloomers and caught the eye of hybridizers, paving the way for the advent of varieties with new colors, like the orange rose and improved hardiness. The modern world knows of over 30,000 different varieties of the rose. This number, as also, the magical appeal of the rose is bound to grow!

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