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About the Rose
from the
All-American Rose


The first fossil records of the rose date back 35 million years. In 3000 B.C., in what is now Iraq, the Sumerians created the first written record of the rose. Sappho, in her 600 B.C. "Ode to the Rose," referred to this beauty as the queen of flowers, a reference still popular today.

Jumping ahead to the 16th century, colonists brought the rose to North America, making it the longest cultivated European plant in this country. In 1798, Empress Josephine acquired her palace at Malmaison and created the most remarkable rose garden ever planted. It included every variety known at the time (about 250).

Walking on Sunshine

2010 All-American Rose Selection Winner
Walking on Sunshine

"Modern" rose hybrids date back to 1867, and by 1920 hybrid teas dominated the market. Today, shrub roses are increasingly popular as they provide the season long color roses are known for, while being very easy to grow.

All-America Rose Selections formed in 1938 to test new rose varieties to determine which, if any, could be recommended to the public.

One of the most popular roses of all time, "Peace," was smuggled to the United States from occupied France in 1945.

As our nation's flower, the rose stands for many things.


Fragrance is probably the single most common trait people identify with a perfect rose. From spicy to fruity to musky, a rose's scent is hard to resist. When was the last time you didn't stop to smell the roses?

The best time to smell roses is mid-morning when the sun has just reached the garden. The rose fragrance will be most intense when the bloom is 1/4 to 2/3 open.

2010 winner Dick Clark

2010 All-American Rose Selection Winner
Dick Clark

Symbolism & Color

Color is definitely a personal preference. And while the red rose may be the first to come to mind, a rainbow of colors exists. The chart below matches some of the most popular rose colors with the sentiments they express.

Color Symbolism
Red Love, respect
Deep Pink Gratitude, appreciation
Light Pink Admiration, sympathy
White Reverence, humility
Yellow Joy, gladness
Orange Enthusiasm, desire
Red and Yellow Gaiety, joviality
Yellow Sociability, friendship

Valentine's Day Index

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