A rose is a rose is a rose!
Shakespeare’s rose, I prefer to call it that way because when I was asked to describe the fragrance of rose some years ago, the first thing that came to my mind was why on the earth he was enchanted by the flower that is so damn overrated these days? On Valentine’s Day, it sells hotter than hot cakes, and when it comes to love, nothing just seems to beat this classy flower! Well, what is the mystery? What’s so big deal about roses after all?
Rose, or Rosa, belongs to the family, Rosaceae. With over 100 of species and more than thousands of cultivars, the plant is quite versatile. It can grow as shrub or even climber. The thorns or prickles are not found in some cross-bred varieties. Rose is mainly a native to Asia and also found in some parts of northwestern Africa, Europe and North America. The flowers are showy but their medicinal value has scientific backing too. The thorns of rose are actually made of outgrowth of the outer tissue of the stem and thus, technically are prickles while true thorns found in other floral species are the outgrowth of the stem itself.
The fruit of the flower is called rose hip. The petals in the flowers are usually so tightly arranged that they pollination doesn’t become a possibility. These are eaten by birds and insects for their rich taste, which drop the seeds and cause dispersion. The color of rose hip varies from species to species. For instance, rugosa rose and dog rose’s rose hip are the richest source of vitamin C and hence attract a wide range of bird species and waxwings.
The fragrance of Rose:
The strong and pleasant fragrance is what makes rose the most sought-after flower. Yes, the looks should be given their due credit but the fragrance of rose is heavenly, beyond this world! And what makes it elusive that it is not consistent with the roses coming from one plant or even the same branch. It keeps changing. You might find that the fragrance coming from one rose is rich and heady while you can barely smell it in the other.
Since you were a kid, you are being reminded to stop and smell the roses, every time you need to calm down and regain composure but there is no fragrance left in the roses anymore! All thanks to the excessive cross breeding and modern breeding technologies! While the organic and natural is being tossed out of the window to fulfill the demands of fresh flower bouquets or wedding decoration, we have to compensate this with its soothing and ethereal fragrance over prolonged freshness and bright color, which was way more than what we bargained for!
However, researchers at the University of Lyon have found the enzyme, RhNUDX1 responsible for the fragrance of roses. The enzyme can be genetically engineered to the new breed and we can once again bask in the heady fragrance of roses!
- Rose attar and rose perfumes are much in trend in Arabia and India.
- The rose oil is extracted from crushed rose petals by distilling them and used in cooking and medicines. The distillation process is said to be originated in Persia. The quantity of crushed petals needs to be much more than the amount of oil, which needs to be obtained. For instance, one needs at least two thousand rose flowers to produce mere one gram of rose oil.
- Rainbow roses are actually dyed artificially using colored water.
- Rose tea is herbal infusion known to soothe and calm.
- Pierre-Joseph Redouté is known for his paintings of roses.
- Similarly, Henri Fantin-Latour was also known for his rose paintings. One of the rose varieties, ‘Fantin-Latour’ is named after him in his honor.