Yes. The rose’s thorns are designed to protect it from anything that might harm the plant, from a hungry insect to a human enamored by its beauty.
The rose, just like the cactus and trees, has wooded outgrowths for protection. Many are curved downward to deter predators from climbing upwards.” Some “thorn-less” roses do exist, although technically they are not completely without thorns. Humans are considered a predator of the rose regardless of whether we nurture it or pick it for bouquets.
Thorns may be something of a deterrent, but not from the pests that truly threaten rose shrubs. Black spot, aphids, powdery- and downy mildew, rust–these “predators” aren’t much bothered by thorns. Even deer seem nonplussed by the blood-drawing barbs. After all, the blooms sit atop the thorny canes; there is no real need to come in contact with them. They may be an evolutionary development to ward off threatening, chomping, romping pests, but they aren’t all that effective in warding off today’s evil-bearers. Perhaps in more bucolic settings, when rose species were wild and found en masse, thorns served as a kind of barbed-wire, but in the tended gardens of today, I don’t think the same holds true. I am a senior rose gardener by profession. I know of what I speak. The only victims of thorns in my 2.5 acre rose garden are me and those who dare to hold their pruners to a stem!
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