A rose is a flowering shrub of the genus Rosa and the flower of this shrub. There are more than a hundred species of wild roses, all from the northern hemisphere and mostly from temperate regions. The species form a group of generally thorny shrubs or climbers, and sometimes trailing plants, reaching 2-5 m tall, rarely reaching as high as 20 m by climbing over other plants.
The leaves of most species are 5-15 cm long, pinnate, with (3-) 5-9 (-13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets usually have a serrated margin, and often a few small thorns on the underside of the stem. The vast majority of roses are deciduous, but a few (particularly in southeast Asia) are evergreen or nearly so.
The flowers have five petals (with the exception of Rosa sericea which often has only four), usually white or pink, in a few species yellow or red. The ovary is inferior, developing below the petals and sepals.
The fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure called a rose hip. The hips of most species are red, but a few (e.g. Rosa pimpinellifolia) have dark purple to black hips. Each hip comprises an outer fleshy layer, and inside containing 5-25 seeds (technically achenes) embedded in a matrix of fine, but stiff, hairs. Rose hips of some species, especially the Dog Rose (Rosa canina) and Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa), are very rich in vitamin C, among the richest sources of any plant. The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as thrushes and waxwings, which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some birds, particularly finches, also eat the seeds.
Most roses have thorns or prickles. The thorns are typically sickle-shaped hooks, which aid the rose in hanging onto other vegetation when growing over it. Some species such as Rosa rugosa and R. pimpinellifolia instead have densely packed straight spines, probably an adaptation to reduce browsing by animals, but also possibly an adaptation to trap wind-blown sand and so reduce erosion and protect their roots (both of these two species grow naturally on coastal sand dunes). Despite the presence of the thorns, roses are frequently browsed by deer. A few species of roses only have vestigial thorns that have no points.
Roses are subject to several diseases. The most serious is rose rust (Phragmidium mucronatum), a species of Rust fungus, which can defoliate the plant. More common, though less debilitating, are rose black spot, caused by the fungus Diplocarpon rosae, which makes circular black spots on the leaves in summer, and rose mildew, caused by Sphaerotheca pannosa. Roses are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Emperor Moth, Common Marbled Carpet, The Engrailed, Buff-tip and Coxcomb Prominent.
The name originates from Persian *vrda- via Greek rhodon "rose" (Aeolic wrodon).
Species of Rose
Some representative rose species (for more information, see the expanded List of Rose species).
* Rosa canina - Dog Rose, Briar Bush
Roses are one of the most popular garden shrubs and are also among the most common flowers sold by florists. Roses are of great economic importance both as a crop for florists' use and for use in perfume.
Many thousands of rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use, mostly double-flowered with many or all of the stamens mutated into additional petals. Twentieth-century rose breeders generally emphasized size and color, producing large, attractive blooms with little or no scent. Many wild and "old-fashioned" roses, by contrast, have a strong sweet scent. A few cultivars, such as the Lady Banks rose have been selected for having no thorns.
Roses thrive in in temperate climates, though certain species and cultivars can flourish in sub-tropical and even tropical climates, especially when grafted onto appropriate root-stock.
The fruit of the rose, called hips, are sometimes eaten, mainly for their vitamin C content. They are usually pressed and filtered to make rose-hip syrup, as the fine hairs surrounding the seeds are unpleasant to eat (resembling itching powder). They can also be used to make herbal tea, jam, jelly and marmalade.
There is no single system of classification for garden roses. In general, however, roses are placed in one of three main groups:
* Wild Roses - The wild roses includes the species listed above and
some of their hybrids.
* Modern Garden Roses - Classification of modern roses can be quite
confusing because many modern roses have old garden roses in their ancestry
and their form varies so much. The classifications tend to be by growth
and flowering characteristics, such as "large-flowered shrub",
"recurrent, large-flowered shrub", "cluster-flowered",
"rambler recurrent", or "ground-cover non-recurrent".
Many of the most popular modern cultivars can however be assigned to
one of these two groups:
Roses and culture
Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The rose was sacred to a number of goddesses, and is often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. Roses are so important that the word means pink or red in a variety of languages (such as Romance languages, Greek, and Polish).
The rose is the national flower of England, the provincial flower of Alberta (the wild rose), and the state flower of four US states: Iowa and North Dakota (R. arkansana), Georgia (R. laevigata), and New York (Rosa generally). Portland, Oregon counts "City of Roses" among its nicknames, and holds an annual Rose Festival.
A red rose (often held in a hand) is also a symbol of socialism or social democracy; it is also used as a symbol by the French, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Brazilian, Dutch (Partij van de Arbeid) and European socialist parties.
The rose came to symbolize the Republic of Georgia's non-violent bid for freedom during its Rose Revolution.
Roses come in a variety of hues, each with a different symbolic meaning:
* Red: love
The symbol of a rose can also refer to the red rose of Lancaster, and the white rose of York, from the Wars of the Roses period.
Roses in art
Roses are commonly portrayed by artists. The French artist Pierre-Joseph Redouté produced some of the most detailed paintings of roses.
* What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would
smell as sweet. – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet act II,
Rose perfumes are made from attar of roses or rose oil, which is a mixture of volatile essential oils obtained by steam-distilling the crushed petals of roses. The technique originated in Persia (the word Rose itself is from Persian) then spread through Arabia and India, but nowadays about 70% to 80% of production is in the Rose Valley near Kazanluk in Bulgaria, with some production in Qamsar in Iran and Germany. The Kaaba in Mecca is annually washed by the Iranian rose water from Qamsar. In Bulgaria, Iran and Germany, damask roses (Rosa damascena 'Trigintipetala') are used. In the French rose oil industry Rosa centifolia is used. The oil, pale yellow or yellow-grey in color, is sometimes called 'Rose Absolute' oil to distinguish it from diluted versions. The weight of oil extracted is about one three-thousandth to one six-thousandth of the weight of the flowers - for example, about 2,000 flowers are required to produce one gramme of oil.
The main constituents of attar of roses are the fragrant alcohols geraniol, which has the empirical formula C10H18O and the structural formula CH3.C[CH3]:CH.CH2.CH2.C[CH3]:CH.CH2OH and l-citronellol; and rose camphor, an odourless paraffin.
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