Roses are ornamental flowers with a rich history. The rose is used for perfume and is popular as a cut flower. They are used as common imagery for literature and songs and have been used as inspiration for poets, artists and architects.

1. The Rose

The rose is commonly used as a cut flower or as an ingredient in perfume. These flowers originate in Asia, although some come from the United States and Europe. There are many different varieties of roses. They vary in colour and size and are very popular throughout the world.

2. Roses in Perfume

The rose is often used as an ingredient in perfume. The petals of the flower are distilled to produce an attar or oil. The aromatic oil is then used as perfume. Rose water, a product of the distilling process, is often used for scented cosmetics.

3. The Rose In Medicine and Food

Many countries use rose products as medicine or food. Rose water is often used in the Middle East and Asia as an ingredient in cooking. Rose syrup, made from the petals, is often used for marshmallows and scones in Western countries.

In medicine, rose hips are a useful source of vitamin C.  The hips or fruit of the rose are made into tea to be taken orally. Some parts of roses have been used to relieve stomach problems and cancer.

4. The Rose in Iconography

The rose is traditionally the flower of love. The flowers have been used since ancient times to represent love and passion. In Greek and Roman mythology, the rose was used as a symbol of Venus and Aphrodite, the goddesses of love.

In Christian iconography, the rose is often associated with Christian martyrs. Its five petals are often said to represent the five wounds of Christ.

5. The Rose In Literature and Song

The rose is a popular image in literature. It has been used since the middle ages to represent love. Shakespeare coined the common phrase, ‘a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.’

The flowers have been used by poets such as Yeats and Robbie Burns. The rose is also a feature of the sad story of the ‘Nightingale and the Rose’ by Oscar Wilde.

6. The Rose As the Symbol of England

England has traditionally been represented by the rose. It is considered the country’s national flower. The origin of this has been traced to Henry the Seventh who adopted the red rose as the symbol of the House of Lancaster. The wars of the roses, with Lancaster represented by the red rose and York represented by the white, was a major historical period in English history.

The rose has many uses. It has been used as a symbol of love and its imagery pervades literature, song and art. The rose has practical uses as an ingredient in cookery, and as medicine. It is a beautiful flower with a sensuous scent and delicate petals. It will long remain a beautiful part of world culture.