September 2020 – Rose

KINGDOM:  Plantae

FAMILY:  Rosaceae

GENUS:  Rosa

The rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp thorns. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds.

Thanks to Sue and Wikipedia

This is an article from Michelle Endersby which was shared recently in the GCA Newsletter No. 5.

Downward Facing Thorns
Rose experts love to tell you that roses don’t have thorns, they have prickles. Thorns are extensions of a branch whilst prickles are a modification of the outer layer of a stem, prickles are detachable, and thorns aren’t!  And therefore, my lemon tree has thorns, but my roses don’t. But all the same so many quotes have been written about roses having thorns that we still like to call them thorns, out of earshot of the rose experts and botanists.

I have been catching up on my reading and came across an interesting fact in an American Rose Magazine that rose thorns usually point downwards. So, I ran out to the garden to check and whilst some seemed to point straight out from the branch, most of them did indeed point downwards. And this has some very interesting implications.

How many times have you got your clothing caught on rose bushes? My usual reflex action when I get caught is to pull upwards to become unstuck. I now see that if I actually pull the fabric down instead of up it comes easily off the thorn undamaged. I hope this tip helps some of you gardeners who have told me stories of how you have had to strip off layers of clothing just to get out of a rosebed!

Also, when we are pruning or deadheading roses if you approach the rose from above you will rarely get stuck on a thorn and when removing your arm from a rosebush do so in a downward and outward direction. And always remember to wear gloves which protect the back of your hands because if you are weeding under the rose bushes you want to avoid all of those downward facing thorns, and try to pull your weeds out towards you rather than pulling upwards.

Thank you Michelle and Illawarra Regional Rose Society Magazine May 2020.

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