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Stop and smell the roses

 

June is National Rose Month

For the past 30 years and counting, June has been the National Rose Month in the United States.

 

For centuries, roses have inspired love and brought beauty to those who have received them.

In fact, the rose's rich heritage dates back thousands of years. If floral orders are

a reliable measure of popularity, the rose is America's favorite flower.

 

This beloved bloom is as rich in history as it is in fragrance and beauty.

This month's trivia page presents a few interesting facts about the rose,

with one question for each day of the month.  Should make

for some rosy conversation this month!

 

 

Answers appear when you hover over the rose by each question... but NO FAIR PEEKING!

Answers are also given at the end of the questions, in case someone pickled roses for a bouquet!

 

Popularity through the ages!

 

1. People have been passionate about roses since the beginning of time. In fact, it is said that the floors of ___________'s palace were carpeted with delicate rose petals.

A) Cleopatra

B) Solomon

C) Queen of Sheba

D) Napoleon

1. A) Cleopatra - It is said that Cleopatra knew full well the seductive power of roses. When she entertained Mark Antony on her barge, Cleopatra made sure he was surrounded by the fragrance and extravagance of the flower. Being an extravagant person, Cleopatra had the banquet tables scattered with roses, the floors covered 18 inches deep in petals, the couches lined with rose-filled mattresses, and rose-filled net bags were used as cushions for the two lovers. And speaking of extravagance… the governor of Sicily Cornelius (106 – 43 B.C.) was known for his luxurious living  - he used to tour the country  sitting on cushions that were stuffed with roses, wore wreaths of roses on his head and around his neck and had a fine-mesh linen bag filled with roses tied under his nose !!!  And a Roman Emperor called Nero spent approx. $225,000 in 50 AD to have thousands of rose blooms strewn on the beach in a city of Baiae to celebrate a special occasion.

 

2. Who had a 600-book library specifically on how to care for roses?

A) Former President Richard Nixon

B) The infamous Rose Kennedy

C) The great wise and knowing Chinese philosopher, Confucius

D) Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

2. C) The great wise and knowing Chinese philosopher, Confucius

 

3. What author refers to roses more than 50 times throughout his/her writings?

A) Emily Bronte, who wrote, “Love is like the wild rose briar”

B) William Shakespeare, who penned, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet"

C) Robert Frost, author of “The Rose Family”

Emily Dickinson, who wrote, “If I should cease to bring a Rose”

3. B) William Shakespeare, who penned, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet."

 

4. The people of ancient Greece used roses to accessorize. On festive occasions they would adorn themselves with:

A) Rose tiaras

B) Rose corsages

C) Rose petals attached to clothing

D) Garlands of roses

4. D) Garlands of roses – and they would splash themselves with rose-scented oil. Speaking of Greece, roses were already depicted in paintings, mosaics and even coins 2000 years ago as evidenced by a Greek Drachma coin dating between 408 - 395 BC which was found with the head of Apollo and a rose bloom on the reverse.

 

5. Until the early 19th century dried rose petals were believed to have mysterious powers. Napoleon gave his officers bags of rose petals to boil in white wine, to

A) Cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds

B) Freshen breath and clean teeth

C) Use as a deodorant

D) Drink as an aphrodisiac

5. A) Cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds - The crusaders when defeated by Saladin in Jerusalem returned to the west with rose plants which were then cultivated by monks in their monastery gardens for their medicinal properties. The ancient Romans loved roses above all other flowers and found many uses for them. These included rose pudding, rose jelly, rose honey and rose wine. They also dropped rose petals into their wine  in the belief that this would prevent – or at least delay – drunkenness !!! Rose water was successfully used to cure all kinds of ailments, such as trembling, constipation, drunkenness, skin and throat infections and insomnia. There is some truth in this as we now know Rosa rugosa hips contain high levels of Vitamin C. Indeed, rosehip tea is often recommended in pregnancy. Rose oil can reduce high cholesterol levels. Roses are used in face toners and perfume and are one of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients.  And, speaking of Napoleon, his wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties!  That’s some garden! 

 

6. Even today, rose water is still used before a feast or festive greeting, from the Middle East to northern India, to:

A) Cover body odor

B) Convey respect and loyalty

C) Soothe the mind

D) Refresh the hands 

6. D) Refresh the hands 

 

7. Clay tablets excavated in the temples of Ur in Iraq speak of the delivery of rose water intended for the sultan of Baghdad. The sultan used no fewer than 30,000 jars of rose water a year, for what purpose?

A) To make his rooms smell nice for his extensive harem

B) As gifts to visiting dignitaries

C) For bathing

D) Relief of gastric distress

7. A) To make his rooms smell nice for his extensive harem – At another time, the Saracen general Saladin sent camel caravans loaded with rose water through his empire to cleanse the mosques after 'impure' crusaders had occupied the prayer rooms.

 

8. In the 19th century old scented roses were used to make

A) Sachet packets

B) Bubble baths

C) Spices

D) Jelly

8. D) Jelly – Thanks, but I’ll take grape!  For some actual rose recipes, go to http://earthnotes.tripod.com/rose.htm

 

Legends and Myths (top)

 

9. According to Greek Mythology, who gave the rose its name?

A) Athena, the goddess of wisdom

B) Eros, the archer of love

C) Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty

D) Zeus, the god of the sky

9. C) Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty

 

10. According to another legend, the yellow rose is a symbol of:

A) Unity

B) Innocence

C) Infidelity

D) Secrecy

10. C) Infidelity - the Prophet Mohammed was away fighting a war when he began to long for his wife, Aisha. Mohammed was tormented by the idea she was being unfaithful and asked Gabriel for help. Gabriel suggested Mohammed give his wife a simple test. When he returned home he should ask Aisha to drop whatever she was carrying into the water. If she was faithful, it would stay the same color and prove her unwavering love. Mohammed finally returned from his battle and Aisha rushed to greet him, carrying a huge bouquet of red roses. She was surprised when he commanded her to drop them into the river, but obeyed and the roses turned yellow. Eventually, Mohammed forgave his favorite wife but, for some, the yellow rose remains a symbol of infidelity.  By the way, In Islam, the rose signifies the blood of Mohammed and his two sons.

 

11. Why white roses are so special is no mystery - it's a myth. Perhaps it started with the Romans who believed white roses

A) Grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis

B) Bestowed innocence on one who received them

C) Granted victory to the warrior in battle

D) Carried the soul closer to heaven

11. A) Grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis

 

12.  Myth also has it that Venus’ son Cupid caused roses to grow thorns by:

A) Shooting arrows at them

B) Sending them to enemies

C) Stepping on them

D) Eating them

12. A) Shooting arrows at them – According to the myth, Cupid accidentally shot arrows into the rose garden when a bee stung him, and it was the "sting" of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. And when Venus walked through the garden and pricked her foot on a thorn, it was the droplets of her blood which turned the roses red. That being said, in fact Roses do not have thorns – they have prickles…. A prickle is a growth on the outer side of the epidermis, whereas thorns are produced in the inner tissues of the stem.

 

13. Another legend claims rose thorns originated because of

A) A gardener’s anger at the queen

B) Protection against thieves

C) Jealousy

D) Drought

13. C) Jealousy – Legend has it that during the Roman Empire there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana was of a jealous nature and when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe, she became furious. Enraged, Diana turned Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.

 

14. In an Arabic legend, all roses were originally white until one night when

A) Warriors bled and died in a field of white roses

B) A nightingale fell in love with a white rose

C) A young man was killed carrying roses to his lover

D) The roses developed hearts

14. B) A nightingale fell in love with a white rose – The legend claims that the nightingale met a beautiful white rose and fell in love. At this stage nightingales were not known for their melodious song; they merely croaked and chirped like any other bird. But now the nightingale’s love was so intense that he was inspired to sing for the first time. Eventually his love was such that he pressed himself to the flower and the thorns pierced his heart, coloring the rose red forever.

 

Ageless (top)

 

15. Roses are truly ageless. Recently, archaeologists discovered the fossilized remains of wild roses over ______________ years old.

A) 23,000

B) 176,000

C) 6,000,000

D) 40,000,000

15. D) 40,000,000

 

16. The world's oldest living rose bush is thought to be _____ years old.

A) 9

B) 53

C) 437

D) 1000

16. D) 1000 - Today, it continues to flourish on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. The legendary 1000-year-old rosebush still climbs its way gracefully up the apse. It was also burned and buried beneath the rubble when the Cathedral was destroyed in 1945; its roots, however, remained unharmed and soon the bush was thriving once again. For Hildesheim, the rose is a symbol of existence and endurance. The "Thousand year rose stem" on the cathedral is famous throughout the world. According to legend, the city will not perish, as long as the "Hildesheim Rose" blossoms and thrives.

 

17. The rose is truly a well-traveled flower. What percent of the world's roses are grown in the Americas?

A) 27

B) 60

C) 33

D) 12

17. B) 60 – Countries include Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States. The remaining 40% are grown in Europe, including Holland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Israel.

 

18.  In the United States, is the largest rose-growing state.

A) California

B) Georgia

C) Michigan

D) Maine

18. A) California – About 60% of the roses grown in the U.S. are produced in California. However, roses are grown in all 50 states.  There are nearly 900 acres of greenhouse dedicated to the production of fresh-cut roses in the U.S. One acre of greenhouse rose production in the U.S. is valued at about one million dollars, which includes the value of the plants, greenhouse structure and land.

 

19. Currently, how many rose species are there? 

A) Over 1000

B) Over 200

C) Over 50

D) Over 2500

19. B) Over 200 – and among these species, there are several thousand varieties worldwide. Red roses are still the most popular color of rose, but there is a tremendous variation in the palette of reds.

 

Only in America (top)

 

20. The rose is native to the United States. But just how old is this native American flower?

A) 2,000 years old

B) 516,000 years old

C) 35,000,000 years old

D) 12,000 years old

20. C) 35,000,000 years old - The oldest fossilized imprint of the rose was left on a slate deposit found in Florissant, Colorado.  It is estimated to be 35 million years old.  Similar rose fossils have also been found in Montana and Oregon.  It was in the seventeenth century that French explorer Samuel deChamplain brought the first cultivated roses to Europe from North America.

 

21. Columbus discovered America because of a rose! It is written that on October 11, 1492, while becalmed in the Sargasso Sea, one of the crewmen

A) Received an encouraging letter from his sweetheart, named Rose

B) Dreamed of a rose that spoke to him of discovering a new land

C) Picked a rose branch from the water

D) Spotted a rosebush growing on the shore of a distant land

21. C) Picked a rose branch from the water - This sign of land renewed their hope for survival and gave the seafarers the courage to continue on to the New World.

 

22. Who was the first rose breeder in the United States?

A) Thomas Jefferson

B) George Washington

C) Christopher Columbus

D) William Penn

22. B) George Washington - Our first President was also our first U.S. rose breeder!

 

23. Dolly Parton may be known for her music and theme park. But rose lovers know her for what variety of rose?

A) “Applejack” rose

B) “Beauty Secret” miniature rose

C) Yellow rose

D) Rosa Dolly Parton

23. D) Rosa Dolly Parton – a vivid orange-red hybrid tea variety, named in 1984.  Parton is among the dozens of famous women who have had rose varieties or cultivars named for them. Others include Barbra Streisand (mauve) and Judy Garland (yellow, orange and red).

 

24. What are rose hips?

A) Another name for the petals

B) The widest part of a rose bud

C) The part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming

D) The node where the leaf joins the stem

24. C) The part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming - While the rose may bear no fruit, the rose hips contain more Vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable. In fact, rose hips contain 400 % more vitamin C than oranges!

 

25. What is the per capita consumption of roses in the United States?

A) 4.67

B) 1.5

C) 12

D) 16.3

25. A) 4.67 - According to a 1994 survey, over 1,200,000,000 roses were purchased by U.S. flower buyers.

 

26. The world’s largest rose bush can be found in

A) Pasadena, California

B) Orlando, Florida

C) Tombstone, Arizona

D) Washington, DC

26. C) Tombstone, Arizona - The World’s Largest Rose Bush is a White Lady Banksia.  It is reported that a young Scottish bride named Mary Gee planted a White Lady Banks rose not long after her arrival in 1855 in the mining camp at Tombstone and it has grown and bloomed ever since. From a single trunk it has spread over an arbor that covers over 8000 square feet. Each spring it is honored by an annual event when it puts forth its millions of tiny white blossoms in April. Under its branches, which are supported by 68 posts and thousands of feet of piping, there is space to seat 150 people.

 

27. Aboard the space shuttle Discovery, on October 29, 1998, was a miniature rose called Overnight Scentsation, specifically chosen for its strong perfume – the first ever flowering plant taken into space. Why was this flower taken into space?

A) Flower growers wanted to determine the life span of the flower in space

B) Scientists wanted to evaluate the effects of prolonged micro-gravity on fragrance

C) The strong scent reminded the shuttle crew of home

D) One of the crew members sneaked in on board, after he received it from his wife.

27. B) Scientists wanted to evaluate the effects of prolonged micro-gravity on fragrance.  Researchers hunting for new and profitable fragrances have discovered that roses in Earth orbit don't smell the same as they do on Earth. Soon a pair of flowers will blast off on board the space shuttle where they will participate in the continuing search for exotic space scents.

 

28. The rose is a symbol of the times. In fact, it's the official National Floral Emblem of the United States.  When was this legislation was signed into law?

A) October 7, 1986

B) June 14, 1948

C) February 14, 2000

D) September 11, 2001

28. A) October 7, 1986 - by President Ronald Reagan. The rose is also the state flower selected by Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota and the District of Columbia.

 

29. How many rose petals does it take to distill one ounce of attar of rose (essential oil of rose)?

A) 500 petals

B) 500 pounds

C) 4,000 petals

D) 4,000 pounds

29. D) 4,000 pounds

 

30. Prolong your roses’ vase life by adding

A) Plant food

B) Orange juice or lemon rind

C) Sugar and aspirin

D) Viagra

30. C) Sugar and aspirin or D) Viagra - Dilute ½ lump of sugar and ½ aspirin into 3 quarts of lukewarm water; the aspirin will acidify the water to prevent proliferation of bacteria and the sugar will delay the aging of the cells by preserving the membranes.  Or simply add 3g of Viagra into the water- Research done in Jerusalem has shown that Viagra can increase vase life by an additional 5 – 7 days.

Answers (top)

 

1. A) Cleopatra – It is said that Cleopatra knew full well the seductive power of roses. When she entertained Mark Antony on her barge, Cleopatra made sure he was surrounded by the fragrance and extravagance of the flower. Being an extravagant person, Cleopatra had the banquet tables scattered with roses, the floors covered 18 inches deep in petals, the couches lined with rose-filled mattresses, and rose-filled net bags were used as cushions for the two lovers. And speaking of extravagance… the governor of Sicily Cornelius (106 – 43 B.C.) was known for his luxurious living  - he used to tour the country  sitting on cushions that were stuffed with roses, wore wreaths of roses on his head and around his neck and had a fine-mesh linen bag filled with roses tied under his nose !!!  And a Roman Emperor called Nero spent approx. $225,000 in 50 AD to have thousands of rose blooms strewn on the beach in a city of Baiae to celebrate a special occasion.

2. C) The great wise and knowing Chinese philosopher, Confucius

3. B) William Shakespeare, who penned, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet."

4.  D) Garlands of roses – and they would splash themselves with rose-scented oil. Speaking of Greece, roses were already depicted in paintings, mosaics and even coins 2000 years ago as evidenced by a Greek Drachma coin dating between 408 - 395 BC which was found with the head of Apollo and a rose bloom on the reverse.

5. A) Cure lead poisoning from bullet wounds The crusaders when defeated by Saladin in Jerusalem returned to the west with rose plants which were then cultivated by monks in their monastery gardens for their medicinal properties. The ancient Romans loved roses above all other flowers and found many uses for them. These included rose pudding, rose jelly, rose honey and rose wine. They also dropped rose petals into their wine  in the belief that this would prevent – or at least delay – drunkenness !!! Rose water was successfully used to cure all kinds of ailments, such as trembling, constipation, drunkenness, skin and throat infections and insomnia. There is some truth in this as we now know Rosa rugosa hips contain high levels of Vitamin C. Indeed, rosehip tea is often recommended in pregnancy. Rose oil can reduce high cholesterol levels. Roses are used in face toners and perfume and are one of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients.  And, speaking of Napoleon, his wife Josephine so adored roses, she grew more than 250 varieties!  That’s some garden! 

6. D) Refresh the hands 

7. A) To make his rooms smell nice for his extensive harem – At another time, the Saracen general Saladin sent camel caravans loaded with rose water through his empire to cleanse the mosques after 'impure' crusaders had occupied the prayer rooms.

8. D) Jelly – Thanks, but I’ll take grape!  For some actual rose recipes, go to http://earthnotes.tripod.com/rose.htm

9. C) Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty

10. C) Infidelity – the Prophet Mohammed was away fighting a war when he began to long for his wife, Aisha. Mohammed was tormented by the idea she was being unfaithful and asked Gabriel for help. Gabriel suggested Mohammed give his wife a simple test. When he returned home he should ask Aisha to drop whatever she was carrying into the water. If she was faithful, it would stay the same color and prove her unwavering love. Mohammed finally returned from his battle and Aisha rushed to greet him, carrying a huge bouquet of red roses. She was surprised when he commanded her to drop them into the river, but obeyed and the roses turned yellow. Eventually, Mohammed forgave his favorite wife but, for some, the yellow rose remains a symbol of infidelity.  By the way, In Islam, the rose signifies the blood of Mohammed and his two sons.

11. A) Grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis

12. A) Shooting arrows at them – According to the myth, Cupid accidentally shot arrows into the rose garden when a bee stung him, and it was the "sting" of the arrows that caused the roses to grow thorns. And when Venus walked through the garden and pricked her foot on a thorn, it was the droplets of her blood which turned the roses red. That being said, in fact Roses do not have thorns – they have prickles…. A prickle is a growth on the outer side of the epidermis, whereas thorns are produced in the inner tissues of the stem.

13. C) Jealousy – Legend has it that during the Roman Empire there was an incredibly beautiful maiden named Rhodanthe. Her beauty drew many zealous suitors who pursued her relentlessly. Exhausted by their pursuit, Rhodanthe was forced to take refuge from her suitors in the temple of her friend Diana. Unfortunately, Diana was of a jealous nature and when the suitors broke down her temple gates to get near their beloved Rhodanthe, she became furious. Enraged, Diana turned Rhodanthe into a rose and her suitors into thorns.

14. B) A nightingale fell in love with a white rose – The legend claims that the nightingale met a beautiful white rose and fell in love. At this stage nightingales were not known for their melodious song; they merely croaked and chirped like any other bird. But now the nightingale’s love was so intense that he was inspired to sing for the first time. Eventually his love was such that he pressed himself to the flower and the thorns pierced his heart, coloring the rose red forever.

15. D) 40,000,000

16. D) 1000 – Today, it continues to flourish on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. The legendary 1000-year-old rosebush still climbs its way gracefully up the apse. It was also burned and buried beneath the rubble when the Cathedral was destroyed in 1945; its roots, however, remained unharmed and soon the bush was thriving once again. For Hildesheim, the rose is a symbol of existence and endurance. The "Thousand year rose stem" on the cathedral is famous throughout the world. According to legend, the city will not perish, as long as the "Hildesheim Rose" blossoms and thrives.

17. B) 60 – Countries include Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States. The remaining 40% are grown in Europe, including Holland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Israel.

18.  A) California – About 60% of the roses grown in the U.S. are produced in California. However, roses are grown in all 50 states.  There are nearly 900 acres of greenhouse dedicated to the production of fresh-cut roses in the U.S. One acre of greenhouse rose production in the U.S. is valued at about one million dollars, which includes the value of the plants, greenhouse structure and land.

19. B) Over 200 – and among these species, there are several thousand varieties worldwide. Red roses are still the most popular color of rose, but there is a tremendous variation in the palette of reds.

20. C) 35,000,000 years old The oldest fossilized imprint of the rose was left on a slate deposit found in Florissant, Colorado.  It is estimated to be 35 million years old.  Similar rose fossils have also been found in Montana and Oregon.  It was in the seventeenth century that French explorer Samuel deChamplain brought the first cultivated roses to Europe from North America.

21. C) Picked a rose branch from the water This sign of land renewed their hope for survival and gave the seafarers the courage to continue on to the New World.

22. B) George Washington Our first President was also our first U.S. rose breeder!

23. D) Rosa Dolly Parton a vivid orange-red hybrid tea variety, named in 1984.  Parton is among the dozens of famous women who have had rose varieties or cultivars named for them. Others include Barbra Streisand (mauve) and Judy Garland (yellow, orange and red).

24. C) The part left on the plant after a rose is done blooming While the rose may bear no fruit, the rose hips contain more Vitamin C than almost any other fruit or vegetable. In fact, rose hips contain 400 % more vitamin C than oranges!

25. A) 4.67 According to a 1994 survey, over 1,200,000,000 roses were purchased by U.S. flower buyers.

26. C) Tombstone, Arizona The World’s Largest Rose Bush is a White Lady Banksia.  It is reported that a young Scottish bride named Mary Gee planted a White Lady Banks rose not long after her arrival in 1855 in the mining camp at Tombstone and it has grown and bloomed ever since. From a single trunk it has spread over an arbor that covers over 8000 square feet. Each spring it is honored by an annual event when it puts forth its millions of tiny white blossoms in April. Under its branches, which are supported by 68 posts and thousands of feet of piping, there is space to seat 150 people.

27. B) Scientists wanted to evaluate the effects of prolonged micro-gravity on fragrance Researchers hunting for new and profitable fragrances have discovered that roses in Earth orbit don't smell the same as they do on Earth. Soon a pair of flowers will blast off on board the space shuttle where they will participate in the continuing search for exotic space scents.

28. A) October 7, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. The rose is also the state flower selected by Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota and the District of Columbia.

29. D) 4,000 pounds

30. C) Sugar and aspirin or D) Viagra Dilute ½ lump of sugar and ½ aspirin into 3 quarts of lukewarm water; the aspirin will acidify the water to prevent proliferation of bacteria and the sugar will delay the aging of the cells by preserving the membranes.  Or simply add 3g of Viagra into the water- Research done in Jerusalem has shown that Viagra can increase vase life by an additional 5 – 7 days.

 

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