Why do Roses Have Thorns, and Why are They Called Prickles?
Thorn protects the rose (a thorny plant that is very hard to pick without getting hurt), and thanks to this ability, the flower has not disappeared from the face of the earth. Another reason is that thorns help the rose to climb. Roses need to climb so that they can get more sunlight.
The thorny roses are a flower that has always been admired for its beauty and intoxicating fragrance. A bouquet of roses won't be hastily bunched up like tulips or a lilac. No nation in the world has not dedicated legends, tales, or poems to it. It is a favorite flower of romantic lovers, ready to shower their beloved with its petals, and pragmatic people in business who give roses to their beloved. These flowers have always been considered a timeless classic that continues to amaze everyone with their beauty.
What are the Rose Thorns?
Rose thorns are outgrowths of plant tissue on the top layer of the plant's bark. So thorns are leaves or shoots transformed by evolution, while prickles are outgrowths of the epidermis (plant tissue of the upper bark layer). Some roses are famed in history for their thorns, as is reflected in their names (barbed wire, burdock, thorny rose). The thorns may be few, or, on the contrary, they cover the stem. The thorns are referred to as a rose variety and are distinguished by their shape and size. The specialists distinguish between the rose prickles:
- spiky, etc.
Take a closer look at a rose, and you will notice a great variety of thorns. Spikes differ in size, length, and frequency. Modern breeding has made it possible to grow rose varieties with soft and almost invisible thorns. They are called "thornless roses." Such flowers are, of course, safer and more enjoyable to give as a gift. But many connoisseurs of these classic flowers cannot imagine a rose without prickles and find unique beauty and appeal in them.
Experienced plant breeders and florists use the maturity of the thorns to determine the state of the rose's wood and to prune the plant correctly. Still, the rose is a most unusual and delicate flower, which romantic lovers will always admire. The symbol of love has kept feelings alive for many years.
How Does the Thorn of a Rose Protect the Flower?
The thorns usually act as protection but can also help to support the stem, protect a flower from the sun, and retain water. You can read about it in more detail below:
- The prickles can help roses to retain water. Whether it is raining or dew, every drop of water that falls on the spikes is directed to the plant's body, where it will be absorbed through the pores. In this way, they can avoid dehydration even if they live in the desert with this system.
- In curly species, the thorns also serve as hooks to support the stem. The thorns are sharp formations that result from a change in the hairs of the surface. Older species, such as R. Spinosissima and R. Rugosa, are straight as daggers, while younger species are curved and hooked.
- The fact that the whole body of the plant is covered with thorns is a way of protecting the rose from the sun. Of course, this protection will be more excellent or less, depending on the characteristics of these spikes. If they are long and very numerous, surely the surface of the rose will not be as vulnerable to the sun as if there were only a few and if they were very short.
Roses with dense, fine thorns are less suitable for cutting as they are difficult to remove. Spikes are an important clue as to the variety and species of rose. Examine the thorns before buying a seedling or a bouquet.
Read about rose myths and legends about in different countries in our other article.
Can you Remove Rose Thorns?
Regarding the good long-term condition of the flowers, it is best not to remove the prickles from the rose stems. Remember that every damage to the stem causes sap to escape into the water, a portion of great food for microorganisms. It leads to a shortened flowering life and weak leaves. In addition, rosebud drooping, insufficient flower development, and fragrance may occur. The only justifiable reason for removing spikes may be to make a composition. If you need to remove a rose's thorns, do so with the utmost care. The best way at the consumer level is to remove thorns by hand. Defoliators and other devices for eliminating thorns are an absolute nightmare for the flowers, causing a considerable reduction in their exceptional condition.
A Word from Rosaholics
When someone asks: “Why do roses have thorns?”, botanists say that thorns protect roses from pests. The rose is an extraordinarily beautiful flower with a magical and delicate fragrance. In all times, from Ancient Greece to Ancient Rome, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from ancient times to the present day, this flower has always been considered a symbol of happiness and love suitable for any occasion. Also, we want to note that the florists at Rosaholics can always provide you with a fresh bouquet of amazing roses!
There are such wide seedless varieties of roses today. It has not been possible to get rid of the sharp growths yet, and even among the seedless varieties, soft, small thorns can be found. It is expected, as all their ancestors possessed this feature.
No, there are many kinds of flowers with thorns. For example: the alpine bluegill (E alpinum) and the flat-leaved (E planum), and a bizarrely exotic species is the stemless carline (Carlina acaulis).
It should not be assumed that these roses have no thorns. They are present but in fewer numbers and are not as sharp as the classic representatives. The Alberic Barbier rose is considered very delicate and attractive, as it can vary in color from pure white to light shades of yellow and peach.
As a rule, the thorns do not grow back, as they are part of the top covering of the stem. If the rose is growing in a bush, however, there is a chance that the thorns will regrow. Spikes will not regrow on cut roses.
You can do a few things to avoid getting pricked by thorns. First, make sure to wear gloves when handling thorny roses. Second, try to avoid touching the thorns directly. If you do get pricked, wash the area with soap and water to prevent infection. Finally, keep an eye out for thorns that may have fallen on the ground. These can be just as dangerous as the ones on the bush.