The Biology of a Rose

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Roses are one of the most popular flowers around the world. While most rose plants descend from European and Asian rose families, in 1986, Congress made the rose the national floral emblem of the United States. With various sizes and colors to choose from, certain roses have come to have specific meanings. A red rose is a symbol of love, while yellow roses signify friendship. Some roses are even named after celebrities, world leaders, and scientists. From the Agatha Christie rose to a Ronald Reagan rose, there are lots of different varieties. Roses are ornamental plants that add an aesthetic appeal to any garden; however, they also serve several other purposes. They can also be cut and transformed into a floral bouquet. Some roses are even used to create the perfect perfume. And it might be hard to believe, but some parts of the rose are pressed into oils, mashed into jelly, or brewed as part of a tea! Could you imagine walking out to the garden and grabbing a snack of roses?

Despite looking different, all roses have the same general anatomy. The anatomy of a rose is made up of many parts all working together to produce a thriving plant. Before a rose blooms, the sepals serve to protect the bud. As the flower blooms, the sepals move back to provide enough space. Once the rose has bloomed, its petals become evident. Petals are just one way that people can distinguish one rose from another. Right in the middle of the petals lies the stigma, a lump that looks like it is covered in a yellow powder. It is here that the rose accepts pollination. The stigma sits on top of the style, where a small opening allows the pollen to move down into the rose's ovaries. Unlike other flowers, the rose has multiple ovaries. The scientific classification of a rose places it in the Plantae kingdom and groups it with vascular plants, seed plants, and flowering plants all the way down to the Rosaceae, or the rose family. The specific genus is called Rosa L. From there, roses are broken up into various species.

Roses have been around for quite a while. Scientists have found fossils that suggest that roses are around 35 million years old. That means that even the dinosaurs were able to stop and smell the roses! As time passed, more variations of roses have been discovered, and some plant-lovers even enjoy creating hybrid roses from the seed of one rose and the pollen of another. A group of rose breeders in Canada have even achieved an entire line of roses they call the Explorer series. Each one is named for a different Canadian explorer.

Planting roses takes time and dedication and starts with finding just the right location. It is important to take into consideration the area's weather and overall environment. Certain roses will thrive in certain locations. Just like other flowers, roses need a combination of sunlight, soil, water, and fertilizer. Because the seeds usually drop down in the fall, roses need a couple of months of cold in order to get the process started. This is called stratification. When the weather begins to warm up, seedlings sprout. Different species of roses grow at different rates, so it is possible to see some seedlings as early as eight weeks while others could take several months before making an appearance. It takes some patience to grow a rose from a seed, but the final results are well worth the wait. One rose even had the opportunity to grow in space!

Roses come in all shapes and sizes. The smallest variations are called micro-miniature roses, and they only stand a little more than a foot tall. When the blooms are fully opened, they are about the size of a dime. The largest roses fall into the category of "grandiflora." They stand about six feet tall and have large flowers on each stem. In addition to growing individually, some roses can climb as they grow, reaching more than 12 feet tall, while others grow in a shrub or a bush.

Because of these variations, it can be difficult to come up with an exact number of rose species. However, most people agree that there are around 100 species. With multiple uses and a wide range of aesthetics, it's no surprise that roses are held in such high regard around the world. From adding a pop of color to the outdoor landscape to brightening up someone's day, the rose delivers with beautiful colors, soft petals, and, in some cases, a fresh fragrance.

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