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A bouquet of roses is a beautiful way to show your affection for someone and let them know how important they are to you. While there are over a hundred species of roses, available in all sorts of colors, the yellow rose happens to be one of the purest and most popular of them all. You may also be aware of the fact that each color of rose symbolizes an emotion or feeling towards a person. The glowing light-hued yellow rose, however, has been interpreted differently from culture to culture, a color that symbolizes more than one emotion. Yellow roses are broadly associated with friendship, happiness, warmth and joy, but in some cultures they symbolize jealousy, envy, and infidelity.

The History Behind the Yellow Rose

The yellow rose has been around since the 18th century and grew as a wild shrub in the Middle East. Over the years, this USDA Zone 5 hardy plant has been used for decoration, medicinal and confetti purposes. It was then crossbred by European botanists and this gave the world many more attractive species of yellow roses, but left them with an offensive scent. After much trial and error, we now have a variety of yellow roses, each with their own signature fragrance.

Yellow rose flowers were widely used as centerpieces at weddings, as decorations for birthdays, and during religious ceremonies by cultures the world over. In and around the Victorian era, yellow rose arrangements were used to convey secret messages between royal families during ceremonies. At times, it could also mean betrayal to another member of the royal family. These displays are known as Tussie-Mussies, a tradition that is still prevalent now-a-days.

Meanwhile, in countries such as Japan and Korea, the yellow rose, unfortunately, symbolized mistrust and infidelity. According to folklore, a man offered his wife a yellow rose while asking for her forgiveness and a divorce after cheating on her. Since then, the yellow rose has found itself tied to a rather bitter symbol of mistrust, infidelity, and even jealously. However, in more recent times, the yellow rose’s heart-warming characteristics and eye-catching hue make it a symbol of happiness, strength, optimism, and joy.

Varieties of Yellow Roses

Rosa Banksiae

The Rosa banksiae, more commonly known as Lady Banks’ Rose, is a species of yellow rose that is found in China at higher altitudes. They grow at heights ranging from 500 to 2,200 m (1,640 to 7,218 ft). It is named after the wife of the famed botanist Sir Joseph Banks, Dorothea Lady Banks. The Lady Banks’ rose has a shrubby vine that grows up to a height of 6 meters or 20 ft. Most notably, this species of the yellow rose barely has thorns which are synonymous with rose plants. The Lady Banks’ rose has evergreen leaves that grow up to 4 to 6 cm long. The yellow roses themselves are small and grow to about 1.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter. They have a beautiful fragrance, pale yellow color, and bloom in May.

Rosa Hemisphaerica

The Rosa hemisphaerica is the most common species of yellow roses that is commonly known as the sulphur rose. It gets this name because of its pale yellow colored flowers. They are native to Western Asia and there are two types of this species of rose. One is the wild form that has single flowers and it is known as the Rosa raphinii. The second is a double-flowered type that was initially introduced to European gardens by botanists. Although the sulphur rose can tolerate low temperatures, up to around -20°C, it grows well in sunny and dry conditions. On the other hand it does not grow well in moist, cloudy weather.

Rosa Foetida

The Rosa foetida, also known as Persian yellow rose or Austrian copper rose, is native to the Persian region that became very famous in Europe later on. This five-petalled beauty was discovered nearly 400 years ago and has heart-shaped petals. This species of the yellow rose is found in foothills of the Caucasus Mountain range in Georgia, and is now the main form of rose in this part of Europe.

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What Do Yellow Roses Symbolize?

Just the sight of a yellow rose bouquet can give you a warm and friendly feeling. This makes it the perfect bouquet to gift to present at practically any joyous occasion. It can be presented to a family member, relative, close friend or colleague. However, as mentioned earlier, presenting a yellow rose in some cultures can also convey feelings of jealousy and infidelity. So you may want to consider this when gifting a yellow rose bouquet. Here is all that the yellow rose symbolizes.


Happiness along with joy are the first two emotions that pop up when you see the bright hue of a yellow rose and its beautiful scent. Yellow roses can brighten a person’s day, whether it is for someone you are eager to meet after a while or for someone going through a rough patch in their life. A beautiful bright bouquet offers a person the sense of comfort and strength, something that most other roses would find difficult to symbolize.


Yellow roses have a deep-rooted sentiment when it comes to religion. In Christianity, yellow roses symbolize God’s love. They also signify wisdom and joy. However, in Islam, the yellow rose flower can, sadly, symbolize deceit and treachery.


The yellow rose’s warm sunny tones signify immense optimism, especially after a friend or loved one has overcome a hardship or even achieved a feat. The flower’s vibrant yellow color oozes positivity and respect.


It is not uncommon to be presented with a yellow rose bouquet after being wronged or hurt. The fresh and pure yellow color comes across as a sincere apology. It represents someone asking for forgiveness and sorry for any miscommunication or mistake.

End of a Relationship or Infidelity:

Unfortunately, the yellow rose is also associated with being the bearer of bad news. Its lack a potent scent when compared to other species of roses, coupled with the lightest shade of yellow can also signify the end of a relationship or even infidelity.

Envy and Jealousy:

In the late 1800s, the yellow rose was a symbol of envy. In certain cultures, it was not uncommon for someone to gift a yellow rose to a person they envied. For example, in Victorian England, gifting a woman a single yellow rose would be taken as a sign of jealousy.

Occasions for Yellow Roses

In today’s modern day and age, presenting a loved one or colleague with a bright and warm bouquet of yellow roses is quite the thoughtful gesture. It is a safe bet and the right gift for almost every occasion, be it formal or informal. A yellow rose bouquet shows that you care for the person and wish to brighten up their day through its heart-warming and sun colored petals.

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For Someone Feeling Down or Unwell:

Someone coming out of hospital or going through a rough patch in life can always use a beautiful yellow rose bouquet. Yellow roses are ideal for such situations as they brighten up the day, enough to let them know they are not alone. When gifting a bouquet to a loved one, you can always send them one only with yellow roses in beautiful white or yellow wrapping paper.

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Birthday Celebrations:

Formal birthday parties call for a yellow rose bouquet on any given day. It is a great choice, especially for someone you are just getting to know. Meanwhile, presenting a yellow rose bouquet to someone at an office birthday celebration is a formal way of commemorating them. A bouquet predominantly with yellow roses and a combination of salmon pink and red roses would be ideal for such an occasion.

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Wedding Decorations:

Yellow roses have long been used as décor at weddings, and it is most likely you already been to one that had yellow roses at the center of the theme of the party. There is no doubt that the beautiful warm color of the yellow roses not only brightens up the ambiance but also gives a warm, loving feel to it. Over centuries, yellow rose flowers have been used as table centerpieces, decorating the wedding arch, and much, much more.

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Yellow rose wreaths or bouquets for a funeral of a loved one signify your respect to the departed. They convey your condolences and show that you will always have the memories of that person with you. Yellow roses also are a symbol of support for the grieving family members. For a funeral, you can consider offering a pale hue of yellow roses.

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A yellow rose bouquet makes for a wonderful gift to wish a newly wedded couple. Its golden flowers signify sincere blessings on one of the most memorable days together and a symbol of new beginnings. The yellow rose symbolizes all the qualities of care, strength, happiness, and love. Ideally, you can present the couple a beautiful bouquet of yellow and white roses.