The Apothecary Rose

Donor Mirjana Toyn with the heritage rose in front of the Hyland House

The Hyland House gratefully received this heritage rose as a donation from Mirjana Toyn, a board member of the National Rose Society. It was planted to the left of the front door of the Hyland House where it will hopefully thrive. This heritage rose is named “Rosa Gallica” or “rosa officinalis” and nicknamed “Apothecary Rose”. Settlers would have brought this rose to the Americas and most probably it was also common in this region. 

The rose originated from Persia and came to  Europe in the 12th or 13th century, via returning knights in the Crusades and was the most common cultivated rose in Europe until the 1800s. In the 15th century, this rose became a symbol of the House of Lancaster. When the House of Lancaster was at war with the House of York over the in the War of the Roses. This rose was the symbol of the House of Lancaster and when they were at war with the House of York (their symbol was a white rose -rose alba) in the 15th century, they called it the War of Roses. Henry VII succeeded the throne in 1485 and combined the roses from the House of Lancaster (rosa gallica) and the House of York (rosa alba) and named it the Rose of Tudor. The Tudor rose is still a symbol of England and rosa gallica is still a symbol for Lancaster.

The Apothecary Rose is one of the most celebrated of all ancient roses.  In 15th and  16th century Renaissance art, it was one of the most often painted  roses. The deep pink represented the blood of Christian martyrs. The petals of this rose were dried and rolled into beads, then strung into  what became the rosary and from which the rosary received its name. This rose was grown by monks for its perfume and dried for potpourri. By the time of Napoleon in the 19th century, an Apothecary Rose was planted outside the entrance of apothecaries and became a symbol of the druggist. There have been many medicinal properties associated with The Apothecary Rose: hangover cure, indigestion, sore throat, skin rashes, eye maladies, rubbing petals on skin to eliminate wrinkles (due to essential oils). Today the Apothecary’s Rose is used for its highly fragrant qualities in potpourri, soothing teas, lotions and other  cosmetics. Old-fashioned rose tea recipe: Steep 5 teaspoons of rose petals in 4 cups of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with  honey. Rosa gallica grows to approximately 5 feet and spreads by suckering.