Why Do Roses Have Thorns? [ See The Reasons Here ]

Rose is the most stunning flower on this planet. Roses with different hues symbolize love, friendship, purity, and affection. But this luring thing is prone to get attacked.

That is why roses grow thorns on the stem and act as a defense mechanism.

Although we call it spikes or thorns, it is originally prickles. The prickles are the small, hard and pointy outgrowths of a rose plant.

They often generate from the epidermal layer of a plant. Prickles and thorns are like the same things with different names.

But one difference they have is that the first one is easily removable. Rose is a perennial plant that belongs to the Rosaceae family. But, a few plants from this family contain spines or prickles to deter the herbivores.

Why do roses have thorns?

Roses have thorns to protect themselves from any animal of prey. Every living being on this planet follows some tricks unknowingly to survive. Rose plant is no different.

According to the set rule, only the fittest will survive. So, roses must prove their eligibility to stay.

That is why they need a defense mechanism to discourage predators. The humans get attracted easily by the romantic aroma and elegant view of the rose. Roses lure other predators or herbivores by their sweet scent.

The thorns can avert them from attacking the plant. To some animals like deer, this plant is their primary food source.

Other than deers, goats, and rabbits, gophers also like to eat garden plants like roses.

So, the thorns are like a cautionary message to stay away from the plant. The prickles also serve the purpose of preventing the flowers from getting ruined or stolen.

So it can be a cautionary note for you too if you pluck roses.

Rose plants need support while growing or climbing. If you plant roses near other plants, it tends to clamber over them while growing.

During this point, the rose plant uses the prickles as hooks to moor its branches into that neighbor plant.

If you grow roses in a crowd, it will help to get the most sunlight among other plants in that row. Becoming a dominant plant aids them in monopolizing the sunshine. After a while, the neighbor plants die due to starvation.


Also read:

  1. Know how to identify a wild rose plant

Should you remove thorns from roses?

No, you should not remove thorns from roses because it reduces their lifespan. Cutting the prickles is like making wounds on the stems. While preparing a bouquet or wreath of roses, many think that stripping prickles will deliver a cleaner product.

After all, nobody wants his loved ones to get hurt by rose thorns. Even though it is true, removing prickles has cons too.

Whenever you cut the prickles, you will make some holes in the outer layer of the plant, which acts as the entryways for the bacteria and germs to spread diseases.

It can be a life-threatening situation for graceful and healthy roses. Stripping thorns can also damage the foliage part of your rose plant.

Many people consider cutting foliage and prickles will enhance the beauty of the garland. Rose is the most beautiful and alluring flower, even though it has thorns.

Rose thorns act as the defense mechanism, and the prickles also form an integral part of the plant.

Whenever you cut these, you remove healthy organs from their body. Even if you put the roses in a flower vase or glass jar, the thorns and foliage will keep the flowers fresh for days.

Any injury on the epidermal layer of the plant will lead to a worsening stem and ultimately death. On the other hand, if you keep the thorns intact, roses will last longer.

If your excuse for removing the thorns is taking care of it without hurting yourself, experts suggest using thick gloves.

It will save your hands and elevate the life expectancy of the rose plant simultaneously. Roses with prickles look equally fascinating, so keep them while arranging in a bouquet.

Do roses always have thorns?

No, few species of roses do not have thorns. Even though band Poison at their 80’s power ballad has stated every rose has its thorns, this is not true. First of all, what roses have is not thorns but prickles.

Thorns are the woody parts of a plant that are deeply rooted in the stem. Thorns usually consist of vascular tissue which transfers protein and nutrients.

But what roses have is prickles.

Unlike thorns, they are just some sharp bumps that come out from the epidermal layer of the plant and do not contain any tissue. You can easily remove them, even though it decreases the plant’s lifetime.

Secondly, not every type of rose contains prickles, although they are not common. For rose-lovers, thornless roses are like natural miracles.

While decorating the sidewalks or a children’s garden or park, roses with no thorn varieties are the best option one can have.

It would open the path of enjoying the world’s most elegant flower without hurting oneself.

If the elderly persons see this variety in their gardens, they would be pleased too. The category of prickle-less rose includes aromatic Chloris, Blanche Cinderella Miniature roses, and amber Lady Banks rose.

Even the fragrant variety of Goldfinch does not have prickles.

Although the fruity-scented Smooth Prince Hybrid Tea rose has no spines, its stems are hard enough to prevent any predator attack or bacteria invasion.

Why do rose thorns hurt so much?

Rose thorns hurt because the damage it casts spreads quickly to the lymphatic system and leads to mutilate the central nervous system. The poetic answer to the question is rejoicing the beauty of roses will cost you a thorn injury.

But, medical science has the necessary answer we need now. Medical science has declared thorn injury as a disease with the name sporothrix schenckii.

Whenever a rose prickle pokes you, your body receives countless fungus through that puncture.

These microscopic beings reside at the top of the spines.

If you do not treat the wounds within time, it opens the pathways of infection, swelling, and even ulcers. Rose gardeners often experience fully embedded rose thorns in their bodies.

A fully inserted rose prickle has the potency to charge the central nervous system and blitz lungs. Most of the rose-admirers plant roses in their lawn so that they can adore it according to their convenience.

But while nurturing those, they get numerous piercings in their bodies due to the rose thorns. So, it is always advisable to wear apt gloves and wash your body with antibacterial soap after returning from the garden as some preventive measures.


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Do roses have thorns or prickles?

What roses have are not thorns or spines but are prickles. Even though the thorns and prickles look the same in commoner’s eyes, botanists have found minute differences they have.

Thorns and prickles are different as per their origins and strength. But both of them serve the purpose of discouraging the predators from attacking the plants.

Rose prickles are like coarse hair that is the extension of epidermal and subepidermal layers. You cannot see bristles around the nodes, and they are relatively softer than the thorns. But they equally protect the plant.

Thorns, on the other hand, are branches or stems in another shape.

You can see thorns in the trees like bougainvillea. Since thorns are the reshaped branches, they are harder compared to prickles.

Wrapping it Up

Legends whisper an ancient saga of how roses have acquired the prickles. As per the Native Americans’ belief, years before, rose bushes did not have thorns.

A shrub with gorgeous, aromatic flowers can easily attract anyone.

As attack by the predators was a common thing to them, Nanahboozoo blessed the rose plant with prickles.

Even though the magical power of Nanahboozoo is a complete myth, it states a fact. The purpose of rose thorns is to discourage the herbivores.