White Roses of Scotland

rosa-alba-semi-plena

Legend has it that after the raising of the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan, Bonnie Prince Charlie halted his army for a rest at Fassifern House which happened to belong to John Cameron, the brother of the clan chief. Ironically enough, dear old John was absent during the stopover and a strong Royalist. The bonnie prince was said to have leaned out from his bedroom window and plucked a white rose from a climbing bush. The rose was of the rosa alba maxima and the osa semiplena being used at later times after being plucked at Ardblair in Perthshire. It grows all over Scotland as a hardly plant that thrives in poor soil and resistant to harsh conditions, perfect to represent the Highland spirit. They only bloom in spring and have a beautiful scent with notes of citrus.

Bonnie Prince Charlie with a white cockade

Bonnie Prince Charlie with a white cockade

His followers were quick to adopt the white rose as their symbol, but of course carrying around a flower wasn’t always practical so they created white ribbon cockades which were worn on hats and lapels.

White Rose Day is celebrated on June 10, the anniversary of the birthday of the Old Pretender as it was “the longest day of the year in which the white rose flowers.”

 

The Little White Rose

The rose of all the world is not for me.

I want for my part

Only the little white rose of Scotland

That smells sharp and sweet-and breaks the heart.

-Hugh MacDiarmid.

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