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Image of the Week: Valentine’s Rose

14 Feb, 2014

Rose petal

Roses are red…or in the case of this week’s image roses are purple! And they look like sea creatures or psychedelic bubble wrap.

Believe it or not this week’s image is actually of a rose petal. This image was created by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). An SEM uses a focused beam of electrons to produce an image of a sample; colour is then added to help viewers see the different elements more clearly. Annie and David’s use of these vibrant purples gives this image its sense of beauty and mystery.

Roses are thought to be one of the oldest flowers and they are thought to have first been cultivated in ancient Babylonia and Assyria before finding their way to Europe. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that rose breeding really took off, with people crossing all available roses. The result is that there are over 30,000 varieties in existence today!

Roses have been present throughout history and across cultures, with examples found in Egyptian tombs, used to carpet the floors of Roman banqueting halls, and as symbols of the warring sides in what has become known as ‘The war of the roses’.

These days we tend to think of roses as a symbol of love and romance, so whether you are buying or receiving roses today, we thought we’d offer you a fresh perspective of this famous flower.

Image credit:  Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. All our images are available in digital form and many are free to use non-commercially under the terms of a Creative Commons licence.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Margi Macdonald permalink
    14 Feb, 2014 10:35 am

    Reblogged this on some energy thing and commented:
    Roses… I couldn’t resist reblogging this one!

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