What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 2
The most popular gift to give your sweetheart on St. Valentine's Day is a rose. What other gift could express without words the love and romance one feels? The history of the rose is long and colorful and began with fossil evidence some 35 million years ago. The cultivation of this much beloved flower began 5000 years ago in Asia. Today, there are over 30,000 varieties of roses.
And, did you know the rose has a language all of its own? During the Victorian era, it was customary to convey messages by the color of the flower, and that practice still continues today.
The Language of Roses
Red Roses - Love, Beauty, Passion, Courage and Respect
Pink Roses - Friendship or Sweetheart
White Roses - True love, Purity, Innocence, Honor
Yellow Roses - Friendship, Joy, Gladness, could also mean jealousy
Orange Roses - Enthusiasm and Desire
Peach Roses - Appreciation, Sincerity, Gratitude
Coral Roses - Desire
Lavendar Roses - Love at first sight, Enchantment, Wonder and Impossibility
Blue Roses - Unattainable, Impossible, Mystery
Black Roses - Farewell
Combining different color roses in a bouquet may also change the meaning you're trying to send. Here are some combinations and their meanings:
Red and Yellow - Happiness and Celebrations
Red and White - Bonding and Harmony
Yellow and Orange - Passion
White and Yellow - Harmony
And here are some other things to consider about roses and their meanings:
Red Rosebud - Purity and Loveliness
White Rosebud - Symbolic of Girlhood
Thorn-less Rose - Love at first sight
Red Roses in Bloom - Gratitude
One Rose in full bloom with 2 buds - Secrecy
Leaves of a Rose Bush - Hope
Even the number of roses have special meaning and significance:
A single rose of any color means life-long devotion
2 Roses - entwined together indicates a marriage proposal
3 Roses - stand for 3 words, "I love you"
6 Roses - speaks of the need to be cherished
11 Roses - you are cherished and treasured
13 Roses - indicates a secret admirer
15 Roses - asks for forgiveness
20 Roses - indicates an interest in you
21 Roses - means I'm committed to you
24 Roses - you are being thought of during every 24 hours of the day
40 Roses - genuine love
50 Roses - love that has never been regretted
99 Roses - love forever
100 Roses - total devotion, two loving souls united till death or till a hundred years
101 Roses - you're my one and only
108 Roses - Will you marry me?
365 Roses - love every single day, love that has remained constant throughout the year
999 Roses - love will last till the end of time
1001 Roses - faithful love that will live on forever
Not all the colors we have for roses today can be found in nature. Some colors are genetically manipulated in a laboratory where botanists create hybrid roses. One such flower is the Black Rose. There are many meanings for black roses, such as black magic, death, sadness, farewell, and the ending of a relationship. Roses with a deep, dark, blood-red color are also referred to as a black rose. This color represents elegance and sophistication, the erotic and shadowy side of human nature. It also indicates a new beginning, a journey into unexplored territory. Also, courage and resistance, death to old habits and joy for the birth of a new era.
The meaning behind the color truly depends on the sender. But, for the black rose, in particular, I have a feeling those reading this might think of vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, demons and other mystical creatures that reside in the darker side of our garden.