Roses and emotive appeal: "if Zeus Chose Us a King of the Flowers"

J. Ole Becker, Ursula K. Schuch, John F. Karlik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aesthetic appeal of roses is consiDerable, but the production and sale of both rose plants and flowers is also influenced by overt and subtle messages conveyed by these flowers. In many cultures and since ancient time, roses have not only been popular flowers but powerful symbols of love, beauty, friendship, sexuality, and secrecy. Indeed, roses occupy an extraordinary place in literature, notably in poetry, and the associations of roses with particular emotions may provide a raison d'etre when consiDering the prominence of this plant in horticulture today. We identified specific emotions or emotional contexts for roses found in poetry and literature, and illustrate the place of roses in specific emotional contexts through selected works of writers including Sappho, Shakespeare, Spenser, Goethe, Nietzsche, Keats, Byron, and Burns. Through recognition of the history and emotional connections of these flowers, growers, buyers, recipients, and connoisseurs of roses may be better able to unDerstand and articulate the appeal of this most popular flower.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalActa Horticulturae
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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