The rose is an ancient flower which has had many uses throughout history. Over the centuries, the rose has been cultivated and is now both a familiar and popular addition to many summer gardens. The rose is also the classic symbol of romance; its fragrance is used as an aphrodisiac in perfumes and oils but rose oil also has additional therapeutic benefits. Roses come in many different sizes, shapes and colors.
How to Identify a Rose
The rose belongs to the Rosaceae plant family. In general, a rose can be described as “any perennial shrub or vine of the genus Rosa.” The majority of roses have five petals; the exception to this rule is the Rosa sericea, a species of rose found predominately in China, Bhutan and India, which only has four petals. Beneath the petals are the same number of sepals. Cultivated roses usually have “clusters” of petals as oppose to wild roses which have single petals.
Roses have pinnate leaves and prickles; the prickles of a rose are commonly referred to as thorns. The prickles of a rose are designed to allow the rose to attach itself to other vegetation, although some rose species have prickles which are designed to protect them from being eaten by animals.
Roses come in a variety of colors including red, pink, white, yellow and orange, although hybridization of roses has resulted in some unusual shades of rose colors. Contrary to popular belief, not all rose species are fragrant. Roses range in size from half an inch in flower diameter to seven inches in flower diameter.
The Fruit of a Rose: The Rose Hip
The fruit of a rose is referred to as a rose hip. A rose hip is shaped like a berry and is produced by open-faced rose species which are pollinated by insects. However, many modern rose hybrids do not provide the facility for pollination due to their “closed” flowers.