Meaning of White Rose and Symbolism

White Rose Meaning and Symbolism

The meaning and symbolism of the white rose have been interpreted differently by different people and cultures throughout the ages. We have traced its meaning through history and found that it has a fascinating story, which may inspire you to learn more about it.

White Rose Meaning and Symbolism

Its botanical name is Rosa gallica var. alba, and its synonym is R. alba. The rose is a woody perennial plant with thorns. This plant is a member of the Rosaceae family. The leaves are composed of a long stalk and a smaller petiole.

The leaves are green and have five-lobed (sometimes three-lobed) blades. The white rose has a white or pinkish center.  There’s so much more to the white rose than meets the eye. Let’s learn more about this amazing plant today! 

Meaning of White Rose

There are three philosophical meanings of white rose, and they are innocence, purity, and virginity. The first meaning is innocence. Ancient Greek used to put white roses on the altar of the virgin goddess of love Aphrodite.

They believed that the white rose would help protect their chastity. The meaning of purity is derived from the Latin word “candefactio,” which means shining or glowing. 

Symbolism In Different Cultures or Countries

The white rose has been used for many things throughout history. Many countries have used the white rose as a symbol for their culture and country. Here are some of the white rose symbolism in different cultures and countries.

  • Rosa gallica var. alba was introduced to North America by French colonists. They used the white rose’s symbolism to represent the monarchy and the establishment.
  • In China, a white rose is a symbol of friendship, wisdom, and purity.
  • In Denmark, the white rose is a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
  • The white rose is a symbol of peace in France and Italy.
  • In Russia, the white rose is a symbol of the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • In The United States, a white rose is a symbol of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • In the United Kingdom, a white rose is a symbol of beauty and purity.

History of White Rose

Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York (1341–1402), the fourth surviving son of King Edward III of England, adopted the white rose as a heraldic badge. One of his elder brothers, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (1340–1399), adopted a red rose as a heraldic badge, the red rose of Lancaster. After their respective badges, the Wars of the Roses arose between their descendants during several decades of civil war in England.

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  • Own Root - All of our white rose bushes at Heirloom Roses are own root, which means they will produce more blooms, be more hardy, and stay true to variety throughout their lifetimes, contrary to grafted roses.
  • One Gallon - All of our rose plants are 12-16 months old and delivered in one gallon containers with rich soil.
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Lightly Fragrant & Continual Blooming - Will bloom continually throughout the growing season.
  • Approximate Size: 2' - 3' x 6' - This is the indefinite size of the white rose plant when it reaches full maturity. Upon delivery, roses will be around 12-15 inches tall and may be partially defoliated to ensure plant health during shipping.

More White Rose Meanings

While rose blooms come in a wide range of colors (including bi-colors), each color has its own unique meaning. White roses are a popular flower choice for weddings since part of their meaning is much the same as the traditional white wedding dress. The white rose color symbolizes purity and innocence, but it also has a deeper meaning.

I’m Worthy

In the wedding ceremony, the white rose means the bride and groom are worthy of each other. The bride carries one or more white roses in her bridal bouquet to symbolize that she has kept herself pure and virtuous for her husband-to-be.

The groom wears a white rose bloom on his lapel to symbolize the same thing to his bride-to-be. White roses in the wedding decor make the statement that the bride and groom are worthy of each other and their innocent and pure love for each other is worthy of being celebrated.

Also in the wedding ceremony, the white rose symbolizes eternal love. More than a commitment that reaches ‘till death do we part’, but that reaches into eternity. The white bloom silently speaks of a love that will never die and will endure beyond time and space.

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White roses are traditionally given to a young girl on a special occasion, such as a birthday. Since red roses symbolize passionate love, that flower color is deemed inappropriate for a young girl. White symbolizes innocence and is an appropriate color choice for a pre-teen girl.


White roses are often the choice of flower placed on a young child’s grave, regardless of gender. Departed loved ones are often acknowledged and honored with the wearing of white rose corsage on Mother’s Day. Father’s Day, or on the deceased’s birthday.


The opposite end of love is also displayed with the giving of white roses. Wilted, faded white roses are given to a person to mean rejection to the unwanted attention of the admirer.

Other Meanings

In addition to simply being a beautiful flower, the white rose carries a long line of meanings upon its thorny shoulders. In addition to those already mentioned, other meanings include spiritual love, platonic love, reverence, humility, and respect.

In mythology, the white rose is said to have started when Aphrodite, the goddess of love, sprang from the foaming sea, and everywhere the seafoam landed on dry ground, white roses bloomed.

In the Victorian age when interactions between men and women were very limited, white roses were used to convey silent messages of interest or rejection.

Final Thoughts

The white rose has been used for many things throughout history. It is a beautiful flower and has a unique and wonderful meaning. It is a symbol of innocence, purity, and virginity. Many countries have used the white rose as a symbol for their culture and country.

We hope that you enjoyed learning about the meaning and symbolism of the white rose. If you want to learn more about this amazing plant, you can ask questions, we will be happy to help you.

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Other Flower Meanings:

Red Rose MeaningOrange Rose MeaningBlack Rose Meaning

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