14 Juni 2010

Understanding Rose Botany

By: Sharon Falsetto

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.

Rose hips are, in general, red in color although some rose hips may be black or dark purple. Rose hips have many medicinal and culinary uses including as a source of vitamin C, use in aromatherapy, use in wine, use in jams and as a herbal tea.

Types of Roses

There are approximately 100 species of roses, which are generally classified into several major categories (with thousands of varieties within the classes). In addition to wild roses, garden roses are usually classified as follows:

  • old garden roses – includes china, tea, alba, centifolia, damask, gallica, moss, bourbon and noisette roses
  • modern garden roses – includes hybrid tea,grandiflora, floribunda, polyantha, miniature and pernetiana roses
  • climbing roses
  • landscape roses.

The Extraction of Rose Oil

Rose oil, for therapeutic and perfumery purposes, is produced by two major species of roses – centifolia and damascena. Rose is an expensive oil to produce as thousands of rose petals are needed to extract a minute quantity of pure rose oil; therefore, it is frequently adulterated by suppliers. Rose oil is used in aromatherapy to aid depression, stress, insomnia, female reproductive problems and in skin care.

Rose in Botany

Today, the rose is one of the most popular garden flowers. However, a rose is not just a rose. There are many species, types, colors and sizes of roses; in addition, roses have many uses and benefits. It is perhaps for these reasons that roses are as popular in modern day culture as they were in ancient civilizations.

Source: http://botany.suite101.com/article.cfm/understanding-rose-botany

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