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Why Do Roses Have Thorns? The Answer Might Surprise You!

Why Do Roses Have Thorns? The Answer Might Surprise You!

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Every rose has its thorns… but have you ever wondered why? 

One of the most beautiful flowers in the world is covered with thorns that can seriously hurt anyone who tries to touch them carelessly. Beauty is pain, apparently. 

However, these thorns are required in order to protect this beauty from the beasts that try to eat it. Most herbivores would otherwise end up eating one of the prettiest flowers out there, but Mother nature said no! 

If there were no thorns on roses, we might not be able to cultivate them today. 

So, let’s take a deep dive to answer the question, why do roses have thorns? Stay tuned to find out! 

What Is The Main Function Of Thorns? 

As mentioned, thorns are there to protect roses from anything that would want to harm them. Animals such as rabbits and deer, as well as many bugs, can potentially attack these lovely plants. Rabbits and deer want to taste the sweetness of the flowers, while bugs try to steal the sap. 

Over time, roses developed thorns as a protective mechanism against predators. These prickling monsters keep any unwanted intruders away from the plant. Roses should be admired from afar!

They are also quite effective at keeping humans away. Even today, I often get pricked even though I am very careful. This is why I always recommend wearing protective gloves when dealing with roses. 

However, keeping roses protected is not the only function of thorns. You probably already know that roses can vigorously grow and spread. As they grow, they use these thorns to anchor themselves to neighboring plants. 

Overtime, roses can completely cover nearby plants, which deprives them of the sunshine that they desperately need to grow.

Are Thorns Actually Thorns? 

Even though they are known as thorns, these thorns aren’t thorns – they are actually called prickles. A prickle is a stem protrusion that resembles a spine. Spines are modified leaf structures, whereas thorns are modified branches.

Although there is considerable scientific debate over the genesis and growth of prickles, it is generally accepted that they arise from the plant’s epidermis.

They could also develop from glandular trichomes, which are specialized hairs that emerge from the epidermis. 

According to a recent study, they might originate from the ground meristem of the rose, which is a portion of the plant’s fundamental developing tissue that can be located below the protoderm and which creates the plant’s epidermis.

Cactus and holly are two examples of plants that also have spines (modified leaf structures). 

Check out: 9 Stunning Italian Roses To Add To Your Garden

To Sum Up 

It is believed that the first rose with thorns developed 35 million years ago. Roses are one of the most precious flowers and should be protected at all costs. Luckily, nature has it all worked out! 

These tiny prickles can cause some severe pain, especially if they protrude deep into the skin. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to dig into my skin in order to remove a prickle. I would also suggest you clean the area where you got pricked. 

Don’t get mad when this happens, it just means that the roses are trying to protect themselves! 

Take good care of your rose and don’t forget to prune it before it’s too late or otherwise the plants surrounding it might get sun deprived. 

That’s all, folks. I hope this article was helpful.

Until next time!