Why the Rose has a Sweet Smell?

Scientists have identified why some roses have a better scent than others and, as a result, have discovered a means to potentially improve the perfume of the gardener’s favourite ornamental flower.

According to a study of the rose smells ‘ chemistry, a new biochemical route in the petals of rose bushes provides a sweet-smelling aroma that might be reintroduced into rose varietals that have lost their scent.

Scientists have discovered an enzyme called RhNUDX1 that plays a critical part in producing roses’ magnificent aroma. They believe it might be reintroduced into current kinds that have lost their scent due to extensive breeding for better shape and colour.

In a study published in the journal Science, Jean-Louis Magnard and colleagues from the Lyon University in St Etienne, France, discovered a new source of the rose aroma. They explored the source of the strong scent in the rose Papa Meilland.

They found that another rose, Rogue Meilland, which produces minimal perfume, lacked the enzyme, and a genetic examination revealed critical changes in the genes responsible for the metabolic route that led to the enzyme’s creation. 

According to the researchers, the enzyme called RhNUDX, which acts in the cells of flower petals, produces the well-known aroma compound monoterpene geraniol, which is the major constituent of rose oil.

They believe that in the future, they will be able to use their knowledge of the RhNUDX1 gene to breed the pleasant-smelling odours back into modern types that don’t have a strong fragrance.

According to scientists, discovering a new biochemical pathway that may synthesise rose fragrances is likely due to the independent evolution of chemical attractants that advertise blooms and attract pollinators to fertilise them.


So, what exactly does a rose smell like?

The smells of roses cover a wide range. It ranges from pleasant to not-so-pleasant (think ‘Rose Foetida,’ a sharp, boxwood-like odour). Many roses also include scents like honey, green tea, vine, fruit, moss, or other flower species.

Until the mid-twentieth century, roses were bred primarily for their appearance. David Austin’s work was a turning point in the development of fragrant roses. He was the one who reintroduced scent to roses. As a result, his flowers have a wide range of exquisite smells!

Roses with distinctive aromas have been bred for both award-winning and the perfume business. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find a fantastic smell and a pleasant appearance when it comes to roses.


The Classic Rose Aroma:

The majority of people connect roses with the scent of an antique Damask rose, which is also the most fragrant of all rose species. In the fragrance industry, the aroma of a Damask rose is considered the gold standard, yet the scent of roses in a garden would most likely be quite different.

The modern English rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ takes second place for a traditional scent. Due to the richness of their aroma, the petals of this rose are frequently used in the manufacturing of essential oils for fragrances. Although the rose has a strong scent, descriptions range from sweet to typical damask rose essence.

Other components are frequently added to the traditional rose aroma. For example, the rich scent of rose oil is enhanced by berry notes in scents like ‘Munstead Wood,’ ‘Grand Siesle,’ and ‘Lady of Megginch.’ Clover is another prominent note in rose fragrances.


Roses through the Ages:

The use of rose notes in a fragrance creates a powerful and enticing scent, as expert perfume manufacturers are well aware. Roses have been disseminating their scents for many years. The earliest evidence of their existence dates back 32 to 35 million years to the Paleolithic era, and it concerns rose leaves unearthed in the Colorado Rockies. Their initial appearance in creative motifs dates back to around 3000 BC in Asia. Cleopatra, the Egyptian Queen of the Nile, has filled a room with rose petals more than a foot deep while having a passionate love affair with Marc Anthony.


Rose’s Complicated Aroma:

The aroma of flowers changes as time passes by and usually in the daytime. Roses are collected in the early morning hours at the start of summer since that is when their aroma is strongest. When roses are ready to pollinate, which takes place when the petals are half-open, they exude their aroma. Since the process of cutting them modifies the release of chemicals, the scent is elusive and can even shift from garden to home. 


More on the many colours and scents of roses:

There are seven different types of rose smells. Rose (or damask), orris (a violet-like flower), nasturtium, apple, violets, lemon, and clove are among them (the fruit, not the blossoms). There are also 26 other, less common aromas that can be found. Moss, Honeysuckle, hyacinth, wine, honey, marigold, parsley, peppers, and even juicy raspberry are just a few of them.

Darker roses are noted for their dense and velvety petals, as well as the most unforgettable smells. The aroma of pink and red roses is the most similar to the actual rose scent. The scent of the white and yellow blossoms is akin to violets, nasturtium, and lemon. Fruits, violets, nasturtium, and clove are familiar scents in orange roses.



Chemical Compounds That Give Roses Their Aroma:

One or over three hundred chemical components influence the perfume of roses. Only four of them combine up to less than 1% of rose oil, but they provide almost 90% of the smell.

Early Summer Is When The Rose Scent Is At Its Most Potent:

Rose smells are natural signals designed to attract pollinators like bees. Even before they see the blossoms, the aroma attracts them.



Roses are omnipresent today and a key ingredient in fragrances developed by expert perfume manufacturers and scent design companies. However, they used to belong to a type of smell deemed old-fashioned and passé until about a decade ago.

Therefore, no matter what flower you come across, nothing can beat the excellent fragrance of a rose. They are probably the best of the lot as far the quality is concerned and thus are preferred flower for all for every event and occasion.    

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