Floral History

March 4, 2009 at 4:25 PM (Floral Design)

History of Roses

According to fossil evidence, Roses are over 35 million years old and its 150 species have been cultivated for over 5,000 years.

In Greek times, roses were used to decorate the ceilings of meeting rooms. All that was discussed in the meetings was secret; this is where the phrase sub Rosa originates.

During the Roman period, Roses were used as perfume, confetti, and as a medicinal plant throughout the Middle East. The royalty of Rome used rose petals in bath water and carpeted the floor with roses for feasts. This demand for roses led the peasants to turn from food production to growing roses. Along with the fall of the Roman Empire, so fell the use of Roses.

Later in the 15th century, Roses were a symbol for fighting factions in England. In the “War of the Roses,” York was represented by the white rose and Lancaster was represented by the red rose. Moving forward to the 17th century, roses became so popular that roses and rose water were considered legal tender. Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, had an extensive rose garden that was the inspiration for the watercolor collection ‘Les Rose” by Pierre Joseph Redoute.

Starting in the 18th century, roses became highly cultivated in Europe and Asia. Efforts to cultivate specific types of roses, as well as hybrids, began during this time.

Currently, as a winter hardy and disease resistant plant, roses are often cultivated by hobbyists as well as commercial gardeners.


History of the Tulip

The tulip was first cultivated by Turkey in 1000 AD, and introduced to Europe and the Netherlands in the 17th century. In the 17th century, tulips were used in both gardening and as a medicinal plant; botanists soon began to hybridize tulips, which increased their popularity. This popularity led to tulipmania between 1636 and 1637. Tulips became such a commodity that the bulbs were selling for outrageous prices, some costing more than a house. The bulbs were sold through a process called Wind Trade, when the price for a bulb was set by weight before the bulb was removed from the ground. The flooding of the market led to a tulip crash following tulip mania, leading many growers to bankruptcy. Soon after, the government created trade restrictions on tulips. The popularity of tulips was due to the bright colors and frilly petals. It was only after tulip mania that a virus, infecting the frilly tulips, was discovered. The tulips sold in current times have solid and smooth petals, unlike the flared petals during tulip mania.

History of Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China. Its boiled roots were used as a cure for headaches and the petals and sprouts were eaten in salads; the leaves were brewed into tea. In the 8th century, the chrysanthemum traveled to Japan and became the seal of the emperor. The flower was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and later introduced to colonial America. Chrysanthemums were considered the “Queen of all Flowers” and are now often used in corsage’s or mum designs popular with high school football.


A History of Roses. (2009). Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from University of Illinois Extension: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/roses/history.html

Rose Farm. (n.d.). The History of Roses. Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from Rose Farm: http://www.rosefarm.com/history.php

Tulips. (n.d.). Retrieved 3 4, 2009, from Holland Travel: http://www.holland.nl/uk/holland/sights/tulips-history.html




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