It’s no surprise that June would be one of Rio Roses’ favorite months: It’s National Rose Month! For centuries, roses have been a symbol of love, beauty, war and even politics. In fact, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed a resolution declaring the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States, saying: “More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity.”
To honor the rose, here are some facts about the flower that is near and dear to our hearts:
- The largest rose ever was bred in California, pink in hue and measuring 33 inches in diameter. The world’s largest rosebush is a white Lady Banksia in Tombstone, Arizona, spreading over an arbor that covers 9,000 square feet.
- The world’s oldest living rose is located in Germany. Known as the rose of Hildensheim or the thousand-year rose, it grows on the wall of the town’s cathedral and its presence has been documented since A.D. 815. The cathedral was hit by Allied bombers during World War II, and although the building was completely destroyed, the roots of the rosebush somehow survived and she blossomed among the ruins again.
- The world’s most expensive rose is the Juliet Rose, a 2006 variety created by famed rose breeder David Austin. Breeding the rose took a total of 15 years and cost 5 million dollars.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the tallest rose bush is a Bewitched hybrid tea rose grown in La Puente, California, which achieved a height of 18 feet, 8 inches.
- One of the world’s largest private collections of roses is located in the hills of Tuscany. The Carla Fineschi Rose Garden in Cavriglia boasts more than 6,500 varieties.
- What might sometimes be named a “black rose” is actually an exceptionally dark red rose. A good example is the rose grown in Halfeti, Turkey: it appears pitch-black to the naked eye but is in fact a deep crimson.
- There are countless myths and legends in which the rose appears; moreover, in almost every country in the Northern Hemisphere we find examples of it on coins, coats of arms, flags, banners, seals, paintings, and artistic collectibles.
- The rose is one of the only three flowers mentioned in the Bible. The others are lilies and camphire (henna).
- Ancient Romans used roses as room decorations, and sometimes wore the flower as a necklace. It was also believed in Roman circles that anything said sub rosa or “under the rose” was deemed to be top secret.
- Roses can live for a very long time: Rose fossils discovered in Colorado date back 35 million years.
- In 2002, a miniature rose named “Overnight Sensation” was taken into space to assist in studies that aimed to show the effects of low gravity on the smell of roses. The study also aimed at learning how to improve the fragrances of a number of consumer products.