Roses, roots, and thorns


The letters in the word, “rose” can be rearranged to spell “Eros.” How appropriate

that one of the most beautiful flowers has the letters who form the Greek “God of

Love.” The Peace rose was named 50 or more years ago. It is a pale yellow-tinged

rose with pink tipped petals.  Thorns can also help you to reach another letter

combination: “sore.” You may be sore from the needle-like thorns or you may be

sore, filled with heartache. While the rose still gives us light and lovely radiance

in its flowering.


In the 15th century, Henry VI declared a War of Roses. How sad and upsetting to

label anything that is filled with death and killing, with the word, rose, in its title.


In Medieval times, a white rose suspended from the ceiling of a room meant there

would be ‘secrets’ shared or imparted. It designated conversations which must be

totally private. The term, “subrosa,”  means “confidential.”


Roses have been found much longer ago than Medieval times. There were drawings

of flowers on cave walls. Particularly, historically discovered on cave walls, was

a five-petaled “rose” drawing found in Crete during the period of 1450 B.C.


Traveling even farther back in time, roses have been discovered by archaeologists,

in fossilized form. The rocks have been preserved and photographed have come

from the beginning of Earth’s plant life, possibly the oldest ‘flower’ ever. This is

dating back 30 million years ago. One could almost, truthfully, exclaim that roses

have been around forever.


In 76 A.D., the Roman writer named, Pliny, included 30 different remedies and

medicines derived from roses. Roses were used in ancient times for healing wounds,

treating insomnia (rose tea), stomach disorders and “toothaches.” Rose petals also

helped to cover the awful smell of death or illness. By scattering rose petals around

enclosed spaces, you could tolerate the odor of diseases, including the Plague.




In the Talmud, it is written only pink roses were allowed to bloom in Jerusalem.

The city’s name means, “Paradise,” which makes sense the pink roses be there

to fill the air with their aromatic, floral scent. Visually and using senses of all kinds,

to be immersed in Paradise. This is how some gardeners feel in their gardens.


The 13th century rose was brought back to Europe, from the Holy Land crusaders.

This is considered “the Old European” traditional rose. Another ‘root’ history of

the rose is it may have come form Italian travelers, from the Gulf of Salerno. The

trail of the rose, also has possibilities with the Roman Emperors cultivating them

after bringing them back from their Middle East travels.


The Chinese have incorporated roses in their artistry and have been given credit

for those beautiful “tea roses,” since they have for 1000’s of years compared the

scent to the aroma of the hearty tea leaves.


Explorers of the 1800’s, also have been considered ones who brought the first

seedlings of roses from Asia. These explorers brought these to Europe, which

then American settlers brought seeds of all kinds of plants, including seedlings

of roses to our continent. While traveling across the ocean, in 1692, explorers

discovered roses prevented sea-sickness.


The belief of the rose as an aphrodisiac is more than just a romantic novel’s

idea. The appearance of this belief goes back centuries using rose hips as

part of a mood enhancer. The rose hips are also known to have Vitamin

C which is considered a natural way to help prevent depression. It is also

considered to be a way to prevent ‘apathy’ and ‘resignation,’ in books of

old folklore and medicinal texts.


Marie Antoinette’s good friend, Pierre Joseph-Redoute, was a wonderful painter

and artist, along with being one who enjoyed gardening. One of his famous rose

paintings is hung in one of the French Art museums. The artist is known for his

botanical paintings, which have become made into prints for decorating homes,

along with the Palace. In France, roses are included in 12th century cathedral

stained glass windows.


In the story, “Sleeping Beauty,” the rose vines with their thorny protection make

it very difficult for the Prince to wake Beauty from her sleep. The vines grow and

surround the castle while she is deep in slumber.


Withering roses mean that love is transitory and love can fade. There are many

ways the flower is used as a metaphor  in books, poetry and stories. Blue roses

come from a gene from a blue petunia injected into a white rose. I think you may

remember in the play, “The Glass Menagerie,” the brother calls the invalid sister,

“Blue Roses,” which indicate the possibility that she has pleurisy.  Australia was

the country given credit for having the clever horticulturalists and scientists who

managed to ‘create’ this blue rose. Symbolism of the rose would take many pages

of writing, along with intensive research.


When Carl Jung analyzed a rose depicted in a church stained-glass window with a

magical circle surrounding the rose, he described it in quite mythological terms.

Jung said the rose symbolized,

“Our mortal yearnings for Union with the Cosmos.”


Dreamers sometimes are accused of looking through “rose colored glasses,” which at

times, sometimes I prefer them.


The expression, “second hand rose,” may have its roots from the days when Henry II’s

mistress (who would have been considered ‘second class’ or less worthy of his time,

since the wife was given preferential treatment) died an early death. Poor Rosamunda.


Tough times or parts of our life that are challenging make our lives, “No bed of roses.”


“Rosy” cheeks may depict a ‘picture of good health,’ as the children in the Campbell

Soup advertisements display round, rosy cheeks  while they entice us to warm up with

their product.


The oldest living rose bush is the size of a tree. This may be found by a cathedral in

Hildesheim, Germany. There is a historic document which provides proof of it dating

back to possibly 815 A.D. It is considered, “The Thousand Year Old Rose Tree.”

The story or legend of the Lower Saxony, Germany tree, is that during WWII, the

bush caught on fire from Allied bombs. The root system was removed, undamaged.

It is still flourishing and flowering in Hildesheim, Germany.


From the history of roses through the ages, it seems that they are meant to continue

to grow against all odds. While we are meant to benefit not only from their beauty and

romance, but admire their longevity and endurance. The Peace rose radiates its power

of Hope to us all. The rose holds a special place in our lives and it is amazing to learn

from its very existence.

Roses have flourished from the beginning of time and will continue to do so,

until the Earth stops spinning.

~reocochran 2014











38 responses »

  1. Your expansive description of the rose’s place in our world is amazing. There is something mystical about this particular bloom that makes it more significant, more special, some might even say more beautiful than the vast array of other flower types. Roses are more than their stunning visual appearance. Their scent is equally stunning. Wouldn’t you say the scent of the rose is the closest thing to heavenly that nature can provide? – Mike

    • Mike, thanks so much for this wonderful and special comment about my post. I was a little light-hearted yesterday, was ready to post this very article I researched and added my thoughts about roses on. All I did was go to look up “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” which took me off on a wild goose chase and tangent. By the time I got done, I had to wait a day, think of a more somber title and hope someone would enjoy this post, too.
      Your description of roses is so true, their beauty and scent are so sweet. They are part of many paintings, gardens and church stained glass windows. They are “royal” and “heavenly.” Thanks, Mike!

  2. i remember when I was going to get married to my now husband, the priest was so offended that we wanted to get married in front of a rose bush (We asked for another priest, BTW) I think all she saw were the thorns, not the blooms. The one who married us was really nice and we got married in November at night anyway. Roses have always had a double meaning!

    • Roses do have a special memory and double meaning for you two love birds, Hollis. I still chuckle when I think about his “Pie-O-meter,” or his way to analyze our personalities by the pies we choose to eat! He is quite clever, especially since he chose to marry my good friend, You! (I admit I have forgotten his term for his ability to discern our personalities by our pie choices!)

    • They seem so fragile and gentle, in appearance, but as you say, they seem to last through the fire and all our different ways we challenge them. Roses are ‘survivors,’ what a great thought, Beth!

  3. I love that Rose is an anagram of Eros, I never noticed that before. And I love rose colored glasses. And a cup of tea on a cold morning. Perhaps rose hip tea. 😉 Another great cultural vignette, Robin. Hugs, Brenda

    • This is so wonderful how you captured the fun and special parts of the blog. I am like you, interested in the way it became “Eros.” Glad it was a new thought to pass on to you, Brenda! I enjoy a cup of the Rose (black pekoe) tea with its special little figurine, inside every box. I have met people who have over 50 of these little animals or creatures. Have you a few of them? I have not tried rose hip tea, but read how this one woman, on the attachment Jules sent in her comments, recommended her children use their teeth to peel the ‘meat’ of the rose hip without capturing the seeds in their mouths. Wow!
      I appreciate this ‘another great cultural vignette’ description, Brenda VERY MUCH! Hugs, Robin

      • I enjoyed your rose post very much! Jules comment is very cool. I have also never heard of eating part of the rose hip. I like the way tea with rose hips smells. Yum. 🙂 Hugs, Brenda

    • First of all, I look at what I wish to write about. As in the words I have given definitions and fun word plays, I looked at the word, “rose.” Then, I discovered “Eros” and “sore.” This started me in the direction of thorns and love. I do a little research, then come up with some of the other ways ‘roses’ are so interesting, Colleen! I don’t know all this stuff, just a little to get me started! I think my warehouse job while it keeps my body active, my brain goes loopy, unless I have a subject in mind. I pack up six hampers in about 15-20 minutes, which repeats until my nine hour day is finished…. Just giving you my explanation, smiles!

  4. A most enjoyable read Robin – more than anything else I am impressed with your ability to stay on track despite the www trying its best to lead you astray!

    There is a beautiful apocryphal story of Old Eastern European origin that tells after God made Adam and saw he was lonely he fashioned a most beautiful woman from the sun-filled air and the essence of star light and wrapped her about with the scent of roses.. Adam looked on her and said “Lord she is not like me, she is too good” So the Lord made another companion for Adam. There is more – but there you see you have roses before the creation of Eve. 🙂

    • Pauline, this is a precious and beautiful story you shared with all of us here. I appreciate this so much! I had not heard it before and treasure this, since I do feel that the Bible story is special to me. The Garden of Eden had roses, it helps us to understand the beginning of the story, but God decided to change the scent or the way she was made, so she would not be ‘too good’ for Adam. Wonderful and I like the use of apocryphal in a sentence. It is an interesting and less used word. Wow, I am impressed with your vocabulary and so thankful you stuck with me to read this post. I was more focused, I admit… smiles!

    • You may call my posts anything you wish, just keep on visiting, my friend! I will definitely be less serious tomorrow. All about people calling in sick and their sad excuses, too! (You may laugh at least a couple of them!) “Jung Love’ deserves a little silly laugh or some kind of Sat. Night Live skit!! Funny, ha ha, Mark!

  5. Beautiful exploration here, Robin. I am a huge lover of rose flavor in beverages and desserts. Yum! When my daughter was a student at the University of Oklahoma, we used to go to an Asian restaurant that had the best boba teas. I used to get the pink one with the rose flavor!

    • I have heard of ‘bubble’ teas, is this similar, Luanne? They have tapioca in them so they look like they have bubbles… I have not tried “boba” teas. I am so glad you recommend the flavor of rose tea, also enjoying the pink tint to the beverage! I will have to look up Asian restaurants in our area, since I have had only green tea or had ‘suki,’ to drink. It is saying I am misspelling ‘suki.’ I appreciate your saying it is a beautiful exploration. I almost cut out a few of my rose references, but let them remain, although the red rosy cheeks of children could have been described without the Campbell’s Soup reference. Smiles and thanks for your comments, Luanne!

      • Yes, tapioca and bubbles are the same thing as boba, I’m sure. They are black round balls of tapioca. And then the pink beautiful smelling and tasting beveral with a little tiny rose set on top!

    • It is funny, since you have to go on different posts, not all this information was in the general ‘Wikipedia’ location. I am amazed they were around in ancient times, in fossils and caves, too. This was very interesting to me, Jill. So glad roses are among your favorite flowers, too. Thanks for this, Jill. It is nice to know it was not ‘boring!’

  6. What a great theory on roses. I am reminded of a famous nursery rhyme, ” Rosy cheeks, dimple chin, curly hair, very fair…. ” This nursery rhyme is all time hit with kids. Thanks for updating us.

    • I have not heard this famous nursery rhyme, so this is a special addition to my post, S n S! I am glad you found this post interesting and you are welcome for the updates! smiles!

  7. Thanks so much for all of the Rosy information.
    Just be careful if you do choose to eat rose hips off the bush –
    as I read the hairs on the seed in the hip are not good for human consumption.

    Hugs, Jules

    • The location you sent me to, included children learning to use their teeth to pull the meat off of the rose hips. I found this very interesting and will try it next summer on one of the rose plants my girlfriend grows. My Mom was very good at growing roses, Jules. I never wished to grow them, but always enjoyed them in gift bouquets or smelling them on a neighbor’s plant. There is a big garden of roses in front of a nearby church, I tend to take photos of the roses, to put as my wallpaper on my phone, in the summer months. Thanks again, for the link, Jules! Hugs, Robin

      • Just be really careful – don’t get sick trying to eat the rose hips. Look a tad bit more on how to use it. Scrape out the seeds and dry the hip. I think that’s what I read. But I’m sure you can find more info.

    • Oh, smiling at this nice response! I am always happy when I read your little tales, some of them have fairies and others flowers, so I know you enjoy roses. Now, I will picture you in your garden, taking care of your roses and being more respectful of the thorns, too. smiles!

    • I am glad you found this one educational but mainly I like to make people happy and entertained. I agree, prices for flowers, especially roses go up around that time of year! Smiles!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s