These timeless beauties are more versatile than you might think.

By Claire Harmeyer
June 04, 2020
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Roses are red, they're never blue, here are some more rose facts for you! Most people associate roses with love, but these beautiful blooms are more than a Valentine's Day cliché. Roses come in a stunning array of shapes, sizes, and shades, making them a truly diverse flower and a favorite in yards across the country. There are more than 150 types of roses that grow as shrubby plants, climbers, and groundcovers, so you can likely find space somewhere for roses in your garden (just don't forget to stop and smell them). But first, these surprising facts about roses just might give you a fresh perspective on this classic flower.

'Cecile Brunner' is a variety of climbing rose that produces light pink blooms.
| Credit: Richard Baer

1. Roses Are One of the Oldest Flowers

It's no wonder that roses have been referenced in literature and music for centuries. Archaeologists have discovered rose fossils that date back 35 million years. Even more shocking, the oldest living rose is 1,000 years old. This impressively enduring rose grows on a wall on the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany.

2. You Can Eat Roses

Who knew looking pretty in a vase wasn't the only way to use roses in the kitchen? Their petals are edible and rose water (made from soaking the petals in water) is often added to jellies or jams, or is used as flavoring in Indian and Chinese dishes. Roses also grow a berry-shaped fruit called rose hips. The fruit can be orange, red, dark purple, or even black. Rose hips are packed with vitamin C and can be used in cocktails or dried to create a refreshing tea.

3. Their Fragrance is Used in Perfumes

You know the saying: Stop and smell the roses. Well, roses weren't chosen for this phrase by chance; their lovely aroma is a popular floral scent, and is even used in many women's perfumes. Specifically, rose oil has been an important ingredient in the perfume industry for centuries. The process of extracting rose oil from flowers requires a huge amount of roses; just one gram of oil is produced from two thousand roses.

4. Each Rose Color Has a Different Meaning

If you aren't keen on the classic red rose that appears in movies and Valentine's Day cards, you're in luck; there are over 10 beautiful colors of roses, all with specific meanings. Besides red roses symbolizing love and romance, pink roses exude grace and elegance. The vibrant color of the yellow rose represents friendship and cheer. On a more somber note, white roses signify sympathy, which is why you might often see them at funerals. However, white roses can also represent purity, spirituality, and innocence. For your next congratulatory bouquet (maybe for a graduate or new hire) offer orange roses. They represent enthusiasm.

5. The Rose is the U.S. National Flower

You probably could name the U.S. national bird (hint: It's on the back of the quarter), but you might not know the national flower: The rose. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose the national flower emblem of the U.S. He even did so while standing in the famous White House Rose Garden. Various varieties of roses are also the state flower of Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

6. The Most Expensive Rose Sold for Millions of Dollars

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would have a much lower price tag. Famous rose breeder David Austin spent 15 years and $5 million breeding a rare rose variety that he called Juliet. The Juliet rose sold for $15.8 million in 2006, making it the world's most expensive rose cultivar.

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