The red rose began its illustrious symbolic history in Greek and Roman iconography, where it was tied to Aphrodite, or Venus, the goddess of love. Later, in early Christian times, it became associated with the virtue of the Virgin Mary. By the time of Shakespeare, it had already become a poetic standard that he, and later Gertrude Stein both famously played with.
 
Through the long and storied history, the bright red rose still reigns as the ultimate symbol of romantic and love. Desire is another facet of the red rose. In addition to beauty and passion, red roses also symbolize courage. The red rose celebrates the creative spirit of love.




The most famous meanings of the white rose arose from mythology. Many of these myths surround Aphrodite (or Venus to the Romans) as the Goddess of love. She sprang forth into life from the foaming sea, and where foam spilt to the ground, white roses sprung.  This and later myths about Aphrodite display the dual nature of love: purity and innocence represented by white roses; desire and sexual gratification by red ones. In one famous myth, Aphrodite runs to help her wounded lover Adonis and catches her flesh on the thorns of the white rose bush. Her blood, falling onto the bush, turns the roses red, symbolizing the way innocence and purity change to experience and motherhood. 
 
The color white has always been synonymous with purity and virtue. And so, sincerity, purity, and chastity are some of the obvious meanings of a white rose. Sometimes called "the flower of light", one of the meanings of white roses is everlasting love - love stronger than death, an eternal love, undying and all sustaining. White rose speaks of a love that is sustained more by loyalty, reverence and humility than by red-blooded passion.




By the 18th century the worldwide love of roses was in full swing, but they were only cultivated in shades of pink and white. At last, the elusive yellow rose was discovered growing wild in the Middle East, and the European love affair with yellow roses was born. The early yellow rose lacked the sweet scent for which the rose is now famous, but as cultivation methods were developed and refined, the beloved sweet-and-spicy rose scent was soon introduced and the yellow rose achieved all its optimistic and aromatic glory.

Yellow roses express joy, gladness, and friendship. They are given to new mothers, newlyweds, and graduates. Yellow roses are also good to celebrate new beginnings. The yellow rose within marriage implies sweet domesticity and familiar love.




Perhaps the most touching meaning of the pink rose can be found in the story of a mother’s ultimate love and devotion for her child. Legend says that when Mother Mary first saw her son Jesus walking up to Calvary Hill, struggling to carry the cross where he would eventually be nailed to, the first tear that slid down her cheeks landed on barren soil. Once the crowd began to thin out, the first perfect pink rose grew up from that single, precious tear.
 
There is nothing more touching than for a mother than to receive a bouquet of sweet pink roses as these clearly allude to the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Whether it’s her birthday or its Mother’s Day, pink roses are the perfect gift for her. Nowadays, pink roses are often seen in bridal arrangements, thank you or congratulations bouquets. An admiration for beauty, refinement and enduring grace is also what the pink rose connotes.




The group of purple roses contains the colors connected with lilac, blue, plum and lavender. The colors are often pastel in the wild. The purple rose was first bred during the early 1800s, as a crossbreed of the common European rose along with a selection of roses brought in from China.
 
The most widespread meaning of the purple rose is enthrallment, especially at first sight. Opulence, glory and majesty are some other interpretations given to the purple rose. Purple being a color of elegance and grandeur, it only fits that the rose also pays tribute to these characteristics.




It was only around the turn of the 20th century that rose cultivators began experimenting with crossing the yellow rose with the red. Suddenly, there was a whole new rose meaning on the scene. Blending the friendly associations of the yellow rose with the true-love implications of the red enabled a much subtler, intriguing suggestion of love emerging from friendship— dangerous stuff! Thankfully, the orange rose has absorbed other suggestions over time and it’s now appropriate for any enthusiastic message, whether of love, thanks, friendship or congratulations.
 
One meaning of the orange rose is fascination. When you are totally besotted and completely bewitched by somebody, send them an orange rose. Enthusiasm and unlimited energy are some other meanings of the orange rose. When new ventures begin, the beginning of a journey - the orange rose celebrates all new beginnings.




Most rose historians agree that the green rose first appeared as early as 1743, but it wasn't until the mid-19th century that the rose began to attract attention in England and elsewhere around the world. In 1856, the U.K. firm of Bembridge & Harrison offered a unique green rose for sale.
 
The official name of the green rose is "rosa chinensis viridiflora," but it is also referred to as the China rose. Speculation has it that the China green rose evolved from the "Slater's Crimson China," though there seems to be no substantial proof of this. Most Rosarians (rose experts) believe the green rose actually emerged in Georgia or South Carolina. In 1849, a Philadelphia nurseryman named Robert Buist was known to have the rosa viridiflora in his nursery inventory. He was reported to have first acquired cuttings of the green rose in Charleston years before in 1833.
 
The most significant and popular meaning of the green rose is fertility. Green rose also symbolizes self-respect and well-being. The green rose also signifies the constant rejuvenation of spirit, and is therefore a messenger of cheerfulness.




Black roses are often featured in fiction with many different meanings and titles such as Black Velvet Rose, Black Magic, Barkarole, Black Beauty Tuscany Superb, Black Jade, and more. The flowers commonly called “black” are actually very dark shades of red, purple, or maroon.
 
The magic of black flowers has attracted our attention for centuries. Black roses appear to originate from a fairytale-world. Their improbable and "unnatural" color inspires a powerful feeling of mystical expectation. 
 

The color black has always been synonymous with death and mourning. It is thus the color of sadness and farewell. So, many people consider black roses to symbolize bereavement, loss and mortality. A single black rose might be sent by a close friend and/or loved one leaving for a war or on a journey from which he did not expect to return. But, a more positive meaning does exist for the black rose. It can also be the beginning of new things, a journey into unexplored territory. Black roses are also good for Halloween, a fitting addition to the decorations along with black candles, black clothes, and so on.