Pioneers carried the first roses West in their covered wagons. With today's roses, it's all about color but in the past it was about fragrance. Rose water served as cologne, deodorant, air freshener and disinfectant in the frontier towns. Roses were a useful addition in everyday life. In late summer, the rose was also a source of food with a high content of vitamin C as well as other vitamins.
Rose fruits became medicinal. They were used for treating illness with astringent tea to cool a sore throat and kill bacteria. The early roses had no official names and were sold by their local nicknames. Today's roses are descended from the 18th and 19th century dog rose, Damascus rose and Apothecary rose.
source: Scripps Howard News Service