What Is the Meaning of a Cabbage Flower?

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What Is the Meaning of a Cabbage Flower?
Cabbage roses are densely petalled with many overlapping petals. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A cabbage flower is also known as a cabbage rose. A variety of rose, it is referred to as a cabbage rose because of the densely petalled blossom that features a closely packed head. Like many other flowers, there is a specific meaning attached to the cabbage flower.

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Floriography is the attribution of meaning to flowers. A practice that was especially common in the Victorian era, floriography allowed individuals---primarily suitors---to attribute extraneous meaning to their gift of flowers. Thus, the act of giving flowers could be a form of mute apology or a compliment. The meaning of the cabbage rose is that of the ambassador of love. Under its other name, the Provence rose, the significance is "my heart is in flames." In both instances, the cabbage rose signifies strength of love and depth of passion.

History and Names

A cabbage flower is also known as a cabbage rose, a "Rosa centifolia," a Provence rose or a Rose de Mai. The cabbage rose is a hybrid rose that was first developed by the Dutch over the course of the 17th and 19th centuries. It is a complex hybrid rose, having been bred from four different varieties of rose.


The cabbage rose features very round, globelike blossoms that have closely packed petals. There are many overlapping petals which are often thinner than those of a traditional long-stem rose. This gives the rose an appearance of cabbage head. They are very strongly scented, and are usually pink. In some cases, they can also be bred to be white or a very dark red.


The cabbage rose is not only known for its distinctive appearance, but it is also highly prized for its scent. The scent of the cabbage rose is very light, and when used in perfumes, produces a very sweet, light scent that is sometimes described as honey like. The blossoms of the cabbage rose are also harvested to make rose oil, which can be used in perfumes as well as being an essential oil.

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