Wednesday, July 7, 2010
A Rose By Any Other Name...
Roses perhaps more than any other flower, have been used in a variety of ways and have a colorful history.
They have been symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics. There are over 150 species in the Northern Hemisphere, from Alaska to Mexico and in northern Africa.
Cultivation of roses started in China. In the Roman period they were grown extensively in the Middle East where they were used as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume.
Roses at War?
Heard of the "War of the Roses?" What do roses have to do with war?! Well, in the 15th century, the rose was used as a symbol for the factions fighting to control England. The white rose symbolized York, and the red rose symbolized Lancaster and there ya go... "War of the Roses.
Let's move up the timeline here to the 17th. Roses were in such demand that royalty considered roses or rose water as legal tender, and they were often used as barter and for payments. Too bad we can't uses roses as payment today...they seem to be much easier to come by than actual money!
I hope you've enjoyed this peek into one of the worlds most well known flowers. Since the virtues and use of roses are so broad and many, there will be a second part to this post in a few days. We'll talk about the medicinal purposes of it and the use of it in food (and I have a surprising dish roses are supposed to add fabulous flavor to).