The Rose is the Queen of Flowers
The Rose is considered the Queen of Flowers
Throughout the ages the rose has been considered the queen of flowers, perhaps because of its exquisite scent, and more has been written, particularly in poetry, than any other flower.
The rose belongs to the genus, or group, Rosa of the family Rosaceae and the original species have been found in most parts of the northern hemisphere with some believed to be native to Britain. The most important of these are the dog rose, so named because its thorns are the shape of a dog's tooth; the Burnet rose, which has a vast quantity of prickles or spines on its stems; and the sweet-brier, with scented leaves. All three flower in June or July and the blooms have five petals. The dog rose and the sweet-brier are to be found in hedgerows throughout the country, whilst the Burnet rose is more common on moorlands.
Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Species, cultivars and hybrids are all widely grown for their beauty and often are fragrant. Roses have acquired cultural significance in many societies. Rose plants range in size from compact, miniature roses, to climbers that can reach seven metres in height.
Roses usually climb or trail over trees or banks, but in poor moorland and sandy soils they grow as small prickly shrubs. All roses produce seed pods known as hips. In a true species the seed on falling to the ground produces a plant exactly like the parent, but over the centuries variations of the original plants have somehow been produced and these are known as hybrids of the species. It is thought that this may have come about by bees carrying pollen from one plant to another and thus cross-fertilising them, or through changes in the climate. Modern roses are the result of this natural fertilisation and of the fact that during the last two centuries rose specialists have deliberately cross fertilised the varieties.
Roses are a popular crop for both domestic and commercial cut flowers. Generally they are harvested and cut when in bud, and held in refrigerated conditions until ready for display at their point of sale. In temperate climates, cut roses are often grown in glasshouses, and in warmer countries they may also be grown under cover in order to ensure that the flowers are not damaged by weather and that pest and disease control can be carried out effectively. Significant quantities are grown in some tropical countries, and these are shipped by air to markets across the world.
Roses are a favoured subject in art and appear in portraits, illustrations, on stamps, as ornaments or as architectural elements. The Luxembourg-born Belgian artist and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redoute is known for his detailed watercolours of flowers, particularly roses. Henri Fantin-Latour was also a prolific painter of still life, particularly flowers including roses. The rose 'Fantin-Latour' was named after the artist. Other impressionists including Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir have paintings of roses among their works.
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