Memorial Rose

Memorial_Rose_jpgRoses with their bitter-sweet paradox of sharp thorns and delicate blooms has many romantic associations.  Plants in the Rosaceae family are among the oldest flowers in cultivation and have been mentioned in poetic works since the dawn of civilization.  Every mythological belief assigned the rose as the symbolic emblem of beauty, youth and love. The white rose became the symbol of charm and innocence and the red rose of love and desire. In Greek mythology when Eros gave the rose to Harpocrates, the deity of silence, to induce him to conceal the weaknesses of the gods, the rose became the emblem of silence and secrecy.  In ancient times a rose was attached to the ceiling of council chambers as an indication that everybody present was sworn to secrecy, sub rosa–under the rose.  The rosette sometimes decorating the center of the ceiling of our rooms today is a use of this ancient symbol of secrecy. The rose became a prominent heraldic flower since the War of the Roses.  Red and white roses were adopted as emblems by the Houses of Lancaster and York, respectively.  When the war ended, establishing the House of Tudor on the English throne, the Rose of Tudor became the emblem of England and remains so today.



Rosa wichuraiana




Naturalized from east Asia




to 9 feet


July and August


New Jersey to Virginia and west to Ohio


May and June


Stems climbing or scrabling ~ Leaves oval or elliptical, compound ~ Flowers with white, rarely pink, petals ~ Rosa wichuraiana and Rosa multiflora are similar and easily confused with each other