The Mythology of Flowers – Roses

Throughout history, ancient myths, stories, and fables have all contributed to the perceived meanings of our favourite flowers, and led to them being associated with many customs in various cultures around the world.Many cultures associate flowers with the life cycle, including birth and death. From blooming buds symbolising birth and awakening, to certain colours symbolising death and mourning, there is a flower to suit every occasion, cultural event, or ceremony.

We unknowingly have carried many stories and customs surrounding popular flower types into the present with us, learning from previous generations that a particular bloom is appropriate for certain occasions, or that some flowers are more suited to a role in our beauty products, cake decorations, or gifts, than others.

For the ancient Romans, the rose signified beauty and was associated with goddesses, most famously; Venus and Aphrodite known as the goddesses of love, beauty, and desire. It was also seen as evocative of death and rebirth and often planted on graves.

You don’t have to look far to find mention of roses in literature, poetry, and music, or spot them in art, home wares, or fashion. Stories have contributed to roses being seen universally as the flower of love and desire, and used commonly to celebrate anniversaries, weddings, and romantic love.

However, the type of love symbolised comes down to the colour of the rose.

Red roses symbolise deep romantic love and endless devotion, whilst pink is perfect for a new love.
White is often used in bridal bouquets as they signify purity, whilst yellow is thought to represent friendship or to send ‘get well’ wishes.
Orange roses are bursting with passion and energy and can convey intense longing and passion.
Soft and delicate, lavender roses express whimsy and enchantment. While darker shades of purple are intrinsically linked to royalty and majesty, the softer shades are more appropriate for expressing sentiments such as ‘love at first sight’.

The rose is also flower for June and the national flower of the United States.