Roses have enchanted people of all cultures. They carry additional significance and meaning tied to their distinct colors. Roses are a popular gift, and their coloring can send the recipient a special message about the giver’s feelings.
The rose has been around for about 35 million years and cultivated for the last 5,000, according to the University of Illinois Extension program. The flower's popularity began in Asia and spread throughout the world. In Greece and Rome, the rose was associated with power and nobility. The ancient Egyptians used the flower in funeral wreaths. Though the rose was originally available only in white, pink and red, its variety grew with its popularity. In the mid-1800s, green roses were developed, to be followed in the early 1900s by yellow and orange varieties. Today, we have a wide variety of rose colors.
The most common rose colors are red, white, pink, yellow, orange and lavender. The red rose has the most well-known meaning, as it stands for love and beauty. White roses stand for innocence, purity and new beginnings. Pink roses are often used to convey admiration and appreciation, while yellow roses symbolize friendship. Orange roses represent enthusiasm and desire and are often used in a fiery romance. Lavender roses have an enchanting air about them and speak of love at first sight.
In addition to the more popular rose colors, several variations exist. The most common is the yellow rose with red tips. This rose combines the meaning of both the yellow and red rose. It symbolizes a strong friendship that is turning to a more romantic love. Other colors of roses come in several different hues with varying meanings. While the bright red rose symbolizes love, a deep red or burgundy stands more for beauty. The darkest color of rose is often referred to as black, although it is really a dark red. Black roses are used to show sorrow.
Combinations of different colors of roses can have meaning. Red and white roses together signify unity. Red and pink roses together combine the essences of passionate love and gentle romance. A bouquet comprised of red and yellow roses stands for celebration, while a bouquet of yellow roses with just a single red rose tells the recipient that you want to be more than friends.
Roses can be given in a bouquet or as a single bloom. Roses are also used frequently in wedding decor. The white rose is most traditional for weddings, though brides today often incorporate a variety of colored roses to match their wedding colors.