Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the fruit of the rose is invisible

photo: jetheriot

Smelling a blooming rose bush, it’s tempting to believe that the roses were made for you alone to smell, so perfect is the note in your nose. And seeing how daylight filters through the ruffles of the roses only adds credence to the illusion. But rose plants don’t grow roses for the sake of making roses, they grow roses for the sake of making rose plants.

The same process – the whole flower-becoming-fruit thing – happens for roses like it happens for apples. Apple trees blossom. Their blossoms become fruit. Apples tumble. Apples shrivel on the ground. And the seeds take root and make flowers. Same story for roses. In fact, apples are members of the rose family and the fruit of the apple plant looks a lot like the fruit of the rose plant, like a tiny red-orange crab-apple tightly packed with seeds: rose seeds instead of apple seeds.

Yes, rose plants do grow fruit. If not inside falling fruit, how else could it get its seeds back to the ground? It’s just that you’re so dazzled by its flowers you never notice. You never notice the leaves much either. Quick, what do rose leaves look like? You can’t say. You’re under the spell of the roses. The flowers get all of the glory. When you close your eyes and try to picture fruit your mind draws a total blank. You see only roses.