Skip to Content

What are the two meanings of rose?

What are the two meanings of rose?

The word “rose” has two primary meanings. The first and most common meaning of rose refers to the flower known for its fragrance and beauty. Roses belong to the genus Rosa and are popular in gardens, floral arrangements, perfumes, and symbolic gifts. The second meaning of rose refers to the pinkish red color, which is named after the rose flower. This color rose is seen across nature, fashion, decor, and more. In this article, we will explore the dual meanings of the word rose – as a flower and as a color.

Rose as a Flower

Roses have a long and rich history, spanning cultures across the globe. They are one of the most iconic and beloved flowers. Here are some key facts about roses as a flower:

Botanical Information Roses belong to the genus Rosa which contains over 300 species. They are woody perennials in the family Rosaceae.
Origins Roses are native to Asia but now grown across the world. China has the longest history of cultivating roses.
Types There are many different types of roses including hybrid teas, floribundas, climbers, ramblers, and shrubs. Red roses are the most common.
Uses Roses are used ornamentally in gardens, flower arrangements, perfumes, oils, and crafts. Rose hips are edible and sometimes used to make tea, jam, soup, wine, and more.

Roses hold symbolic meaning across cultures:

– Love and romance
– Beauty and femininity
– Sacrifice and spirituality
– Politics and power

Some of the most famous rose types include:

– Hybrid Tea – Large bloom, long stem, scentless. Most sold by florists.
– Grandiflora – Clustered blooms, long stem, repeat bloomer. Often used in landscaping.
– Floribunda – Profuse clusters, shorter stem, fragrant. Used in flower beds and borders.
– Alba – White or pale blush blooms, lovely fragrance. Historically significant.
– Damask – Old European rose with pink to white blooms and intense scent. Used to make rose oil and water.
– Rosa Gallica – Wild rose of central Asia, tough and hardy with pink to purple flowers. Common in cottage gardens.
– Rugosas – Wrinkly leaves and large hips. Native to Japan and Korea. Highly scented.

The cultivation of roses is an art and science that has evolved over thousands of years. Breeders continuously work to develop new rose varieties with novel colors, forms, scents, and other traits. Roses remain one of the most beloved and versatile flowers in the world.

Rose as a Color

The second meaning of rose refers to a pinkish red color that is named after the rose flower. This distinctive color is seen across many contexts. Here are some details about rose as a color:

Hex Code #FF007F
RGB Values R:255 G:0 B:127
CMYK Values C:0 M:100 Y:50 K:0
Hue Purple-red
Tones Medium to medium-dark

Some key facts about the color rose:

– It sits between red and pink on the color wheel.
– The first recorded use of rose as a color was in the late 17th century.
– It is a tertiary color, meaning it is created by combining primary and secondary colors.
– Lighter tones are described as baby pink. Darker tones become fuchsia.
– It is a bright, intense, and energetic color. It has romantic and feminine connotations.

Here are some of the common uses and associations of the color rose:

Fashion Clothing, lingerie, lipstick
Nature Flowers, gemstones, sunsets/sunrises
Food Candy, cake icing, cocktails
Items Ribbons, paper, toys
Holidays Valentine’s Day

The color rose has cultural significance:

– Symbol of love in Western culture
– Color of women’s rights and health
– Represents energy and passion in Eastern cultures
– Used cautiously in some contexts due to feminine connotations

There are other shades of pink that are sometimes referred to as rose, such as:

– Rose pink – Lighter, less saturated
– Old rose – Muted, grayish
– Tea rose – Pale, orangey
– Rose vale – Grayish purple

But in general, the color rose specifically refers to the bright, vivid pinkish-red that matches the rose flower. It is a beautiful, romantic color that adds energy and flair.

The History of the Rose Flower and Color

Now that we’ve covered the dual meanings of rose, let’s trace how the flower and color developed their connection over time:

– Roses are believed to have first been cultivated in Asia around 5,000 years ago. China has the longest history with roses.

– Ancient Mediterranean cultures like Rome, Egypt and Greece embraced the rose, using it in medicine, perfume, food, and ornamentation.

– Roses were brought to Europe in the late 18th century. France became a leader in hybridizing roses.

– Victorian Europeans became obsessed with roses. They associated roses with love and femininity. Red roses symbolized passion.

– The color rose was established as a distinctive hue in the late 1600s. However, it was not widely used in fashion until the mid-1800s.

– The rise of industrial dyes in the 1900s allowed mass production of rose clothing, accessories, and home goods.

– Roses and the color rose peaked in the late 1980s. It was seen as a quintessential girly color.

– Today, roses remain a beloved flower. The color rose has evolved, with darker and more creative shades.

So while the rose flower predates the rose color by thousands of years, the two became indelibly connected through cultural trends and connotations over time.

Interesting Facts About Roses

Here are some additional interesting facts about roses as both a flower and color:

– There is fossil evidence that primitive rose plants existed up to 35 million years ago.

– Roses are one of the most commonly painted and photographed flowers in fine art.

– The world’s largest rose bush is located in Tombstone, Arizona. It covers over 8,000 square feet.

– In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation to make the rose America’s national floral emblem.

– Valentine’s Day accounts for over half of annual rose sales. About 250 million roses are sold for the holiday.

– The rose flower does not contain the pigment that gives it a red color. It gets it from acids inside the petals.

– Almost all cultivated roses today are hybrid roses rather than natural wild varieties.

– Rose essential oil (attar of rose) takes about 60,000 rose blossoms to produce one ounce.

– Rose scents are popular in fragrances but many “rose” perfumes actually contain synthetic chemicals instead of natural rose oil.

– The color rose was worn in the center stripes of the suffragette movement’s flags in the 1920s and 30s.

– During WWII, the color rose was banned by Nazi Germany along with other “non-patriotic” colors.

Roses have an amazing scientific, cultural, and historic legacy – one that continues to evolve and inspire. Both the flower and color maintain an unmatched popularity across the globe.


In summary, the word “rose” has two primary meanings. Most commonly, it refers to the flowering shrub prized for its beauty, scent, and symbolism. Roses have a rich botanical history spanning thousands of years. The other definition of rose is the pinkish-red color named after the flower. This color rose developed in the 17th century and had strong feminine and romantic associations in Europe and the US. The meanings of the rose blossom and rose color remain deeply intertwined through history, culture, and collective consciousness. Though distinctly different, these two facets of rose beautifully complement one another.