Red roses are synonymous with love, and have been for centuries. But there’s an interesting story behind the tales of starry-eyed lovers and their proclamations of everlasting romance. The red rose it seems, has as much to do with our eyes and nose as it has to do with affairs of the heart.
First, let’s take a look at the flower that started it all: the beauteous and aromatic rose. Roses can be traced back 35 million years according to fossil evidence. Roses were growing wild in many places as diverse as Persia and in what is now Colorado in the United States. As early as the 11th century BCE the Chinese were cultivating flowers of all sorts. In fact, China has incredible biodiversity and boasts 93 species and 144 varieties of roses that are native to its habitats. China became the dominant breeder and purveyor of roses until around 300 years ago, when Europe took the lead in cultivation and breeding. Continue reading