Roses are already pretty amazing, but here are a florist’s dozen of things about them that might surprise you.
- There are more than 100 species of roses. All but one wild species have five petals; only Rosa sericea has four.
- George Washington was the first U.S. rose breeder, naming one new variety “Mary Washington” after his mother.
- Roses were probably first cultivated along the Caspian Sea in Persia.
- Roses were sacred in ancient Egypt, and they were dedicated to Isis, goddess of Earth.
- A fossil imprint of a rose, found in Florissant, Colorado, is believed to be 35 million years old.
- The oldest known rose has been growing on the wall at the Cathedral of Hildesheim, Germany since 815 A.D.
- The first patent issued in the United States for a plant was for Henry Bosenberg’s “climbing or trailing rose.”
- On October 11, 1492, a crew member in Christopher Columbus’s expedition picked a rose branch from the Saragasso Sea, giving the group the encouragement needed to continue their search for the New World, landing on a small island the next day.
- The largest rose ever bred had a pink bloom that measured 33 inches in diameter. The world’s largest rose bush is in Tombstone, Arizona, and it spreads 8,000 square feet over an arbor, providing enough shade for 150 people.
- On October 7, 1986, then President Ronald Reagan signed a bill naming the rose as the national floral emblem of the U.S.
- Netherlands is the largest exporter of roses, exporting more than 9 million roses every day.
- Rose hips, the fruit of the rose bush, are full of Vitamin C, making them a popular ingredient in teas, jellies and jams.
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