Name: Botanical name Rosa
Origin: China and now cultivated from America to Africa and from Eastern Europe to the Far East.
Color: Available in every colour except blue and true black.
Availability: All year round and probably the best known and best-loved flower in the world.
Care Tips: Limp roses can be revived by standing up to their necks in lukewarm water in a cool room. Do not bash the stems as this prevents them taking up water effectively. Don't remove thorns unless for a hand-held posy, as these can cause wounds where bacteria can enter. They have a vase life of around a week but can last even longer.
Facts: In the 19th century old scented roses were used to make jelly. The red rose is the symbol of England and is worn on St George's Day. It is also the symbol of love and is hugely popular on St Valentine's Day, when roses make up the largest proportion of the £22 million spent on flowers in the UK on this day.
Medicinal: 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. 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.