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A rose is a flowering shrub of the genus Rosa and the flower of this shrub. There are around a hundred species of wild roses, mostly from the temperate northern hemisphere. The species form a group of generally thorny shrubs or climbers, and sometimes trailing plants.

There are a great variety of cultivated roses. Twentieth-century rose breeders generally emphasized size and color, producing large, attractive blooms with little or no scent. Many wild and "old-fashioned" roses, by contrast, have a strong sweet scent.

Roses are among the most common flowers sold by florists, as well as one of the most popular garden shrubs. Roses are of great economic importance both as a crop for florists' use and for use in perfume.

Some cultivated varieties flower from June until December in the north temperate zone. Rosa multiflora is sometimes used as a hedge or field border, and to attract birds and other wildlife: it is very prolific, however, and often spreads beyond where the gardener wants it. In particular, they were used as borders in wheat fields in the American Midwest, and became a weed.

The fruits of some species, especially Rosa canina or the dog rose, called rose hips, have been used as a source of Vitamin C, (rose hip syrup). They can also be used to make an herbal tea.

Most roses have thornss. Some species roses have thorns that are so fine as to be called spines, and some others have vestigial thorns that have no points. Some cultivated forms, such as the Lady Banks rose have no thorns at all.

Roses and culture

Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. The rose was sacred to a number of goddesses, and is often used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary. Roses are so important that the word means pink or red in a variety of languages (such as Romance languages and Greek).

Roses come in a variety of colors, each with a different symbolic meaning: