Today more than any other day of the year, roses take center stage. Pink petals will be arranged, bouqets delivered, vases filled with sweet-scented flowers and long stems. While Valentine’s Day is not exclusively a celebration of roses, there’s no denying these lovely plants are ubiquitous on and around February 14th. And whether or not you have a Valentine to share them with, it’s hard not to appreciate their beauty.
Why are roses the designated flower of love and passion? There’s a unique and fascinating history surrounding these fragrant plants. Check out our round-up of the most interesting facts about roses. Impress friends and your love with your knowledge of plants and history! You’ll never look at a bouquet or roses in quite the same way again.
1. The flower of love.
Romance and roses have a long, interwined history. In Greek and Roman mythology, the rose was the symbol of the goddesses of love, Venus and Aphrodite. It’s remained a prominent figure in literature and poetry on love, from Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde. Even fairy tales, such as the Grimm brothers’ Beauty and the Beast, remind us of the strong association between love and roses.
2. Roman obsession.
In Ancient Rome, Romans carpeted their banquet halls with petals, and it’s said that Emperor Nero dazzled guests by showering them with roses. The story goes that the Emperor’s rose extravaganza went a little overboard: guests nearly suffocated in a dense cloud of falling petals.
3. Everlasting love.
The oldest known rose plant is still thriving after roughly 1,200 years. Even a World War II bombing couldn’t destroy this bush, though it flattened the cathedral beside it in Hildesheim, Germany. The roots remained intact below the rubble, and shortly after, the roses re-appeared.