The New York state flower is the same flower as the national flower. Ronald Reagan decreed that the rose would be the flower to represent the nation, and New York decided to declare the same thing about their state. The rose is the flower that everyone knows by sight, and maybe Ronald Reagan hoped that the United States would be the country that everyone heard of. New York City certainly lived up to the reputation of the New York state flower. New York City is known throughout the world. Roses are the stuff of poetry and Shakespeare. New York is the stuff of movies and songs. There is romance imbued in the reputation of the rose. New York City has a romance about it too. Broadway fans want to go to New York to see shows or to make it big themselves. Artists want to go so that they can have more material to write with or paint with—if you haven’t found yourself in your small town, you are sure to find your place in grand old New York City. As popular as the New York City dream is the New York state flower which is purposefully grown all over the world. Roses are the flowers most often bought from florists. As well, there are thousands of varieties of roses. People have been breeding roses for over a hundred years.
Both New York and the New York state flower share a sensual reputation. Everyone has heard of the sounds of New York City, the city that doesn’t sleep. There are the cars and the subway, the stores and shops and mostly the sounds of many people living together in one small area. Roses are known for their smells and sometimes their taste. Roses have been used for centuries in perfumes, and for quite a long time in Middle Eastern food. There is rose perfume and rose syrup and rose tea and rose water and edible rose petals that you might want to put on your wedding cake. The rose also produces a fruit – the rose hip – which is used in jams and jellies and syrups.
The rose is a symbol of love. This is just as recent as Shakespeare’s famous mention of roses in Romeo and Juliet, but goes back at least to the ancient Greeks. They associated the rose with the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Aphrodite does not have exclusive claim on the New York state flower, however. The rose is the flower of many goddesses and has transferred even into Christian symbolism as a symbol for the Virgin Mary or in a belief that the five petals represent the five wounds of Christ. The rose is a symbol of love in many countries and a popular gift for Valentine’s day in many countries.
New York and the United States are not alone in choosing the rose as their symbol. The rose is the state flower for four states total, and we share our national flower with England who has declared the rose as their national flower as well.