Black rose (symbolism)

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The anarchist symbol of the black rose

Black roses are symbols featured in fiction with many different meanings and titles such as black velvet rose, black magic, barkarole, black beauty, Tuscany superb, black jade, and baccara. The roses commonly called black roses are technically a very dark shade of red, purple or maroon. The color of a rose may be deepened by placing a dark rose in a vase of water mixed with black ink. Other black roses may be blackened by other methods such as burning.



The black rose is a rarely used symbol of the anarchist movement.

Black Rose Books is the name of the Montreal anarchist publisher and small press imprint headed by the libertarian-municipalist/anarchist Dimitrios Roussopoulos. One of the two anarchist bookshops in Sydney is Black Rose Books which has existed in various guises since 1982.

The Black Rose was the title of a respected journal of anarchist ideas published in the Boston area during the 1970s, as well as the name of an anarchist lecture series addressed by notable anarchist and libertarian socialists (including Murray Bookchin and Noam Chomsky) into the 1990s.

Pop culture[edit]

In the Vampire Diaries, the black rose refers to "Black Magic", the only non-blood beverage vampires can drink. It tastes the same as blood. Many of the main characters use this to survive.

In the Night World series, the black rose is the symbol for made vampires, as opposed to the black iris for lamia (or born vampires).

In Revenge (Season 2, Episode 18), black roses are a symbol for dying love.

According to the soundtrack released by Nintendo Power, "The Black Rose" is the title for the background music in the fifth level of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.

In Phantom of the Opera it symbolizes extreme and undying love.

In the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", a black rose is given to a monk as a symbol of death, and later placed in the mouth of a murdered woman.

In MTV Splitsvilla's seventh season, black roses are given to girls to eliminate them from the show.

"Black Roses" was a song on British pop singer Charli XCX's debut studio album True Romance.

Black Rose: A Rock Legend was a 1979 album by Thin Lizzy.

In J.D. Souther's song "White Rhythm and Blues," black roses, along with white rhythm and blues and "somebody who cares when you lose," represent the quixotic needs of the singer in order to be happy.

In the YelaWolf song "Empty Bottles," the hook contains a reference to black roses.


  • Wilkins, Eithne. The rose-garden game; a tradition of beads and flowers, [New York] Herder and Herder, 1969.

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