Few plants have enjoyed such reverence and popularity across human cultures as the rose, long
appreciated for its beauty, flavor, and fragrance.
Western cultivation of roses dates back millennia to ancient Persia. In ancient Rome, roses were
exalted and grown in great quantities.
During the Dark Ages, cultivation dropped off until Arab cultures reintroduced roses to Europe.
By the 13
century, the French rose,
, helped Provence become the center of a
perfume industry that exists to this day.
At the end of the 18
century, the introduction of repeat-blooming roses from China gave a boost
to ornamental rose cultivation. Breeders produced new hybrids, catching the eye of Joséphine,
wife of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Joséphine became a major benefactor of roses, and
their popularity spread from France across Europe and other continents.
Here in the United States, the rose was selected as our official national floral emblem in 1986.