From its association with Venus, to Robert Burns’ poem expressing his love as being 'like a red, red rose’, roses have long been associated with romance. Different coloured roses are said to represent various meanings; red symbolising love, desire and passion.
The red rose, Rosa gallica variety officinalis, is a cultivated rose. It originally grew wild in central Asia and was first cultivated by the ancient Persians and Egyptians, and later by the Greeks and Romans. The Romans introduced it in Gaul (later to become France) hence its name Rosa gallica.
Rosa gallica is the 'Red Rose of Lancaster' which is Liverpool's county flower (as Liverpool used to be in Lancashire). You can see some red roses painted on the railings outside World Museum.
The print and herbarium specimen shown here are both from the botany department at World Museum. These collections are a valuable resource for the identification and study of plant biodiversity past, present and future. Please note that this print and specimen are not currently on display.
- First image: Botanical print of Rosa gallica. Accession number 1990.11.2135
- Second image: Herbarium specimen of Rosa provinciallis, another name given to Rosa gallica. This specimen was grown in 1816 at the original Liverpool Botanic Gardens. Accession number 1909.LBG.7109
Send a romantic e-card
The French rose botanical print is part of our range of Romantic e-cards which are available to send for free.
Another romantic plant
Mistletoe is another plant associated with romance, especially with the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas. Find out more about how this tradition came about in our Christmas online exhibition.