The world’s oldest rose bush is a bit more untamed than what we’re used to seeing – but it’s earned the right to grow as it pleases. After all, it survived being bombed during WWII.
The Rose of Hildesheim, aka the Thousand-Year Rose, is believed to be the oldest living rose specimen on the planet (though, of course, we can’t know for sure if some other rose bush lurks out there hidden away from human eyes).
You can find it growing up the column Hildesheim Cathedral, in Germany, where it has been since the early 800s when it was planted. The 9th-century plant still blooms each year, around May. Its flowers are a delicate pink.
According to Atlas Obscura, it’s survival has been beyond unlikely:
“While the rose bush looks as though it’s big enough to have been growing for a thousand years, the plant has been nearly destroyed a number of times throughout its history. Most notably the bush was nearly completely razed during the Second World War when Allied bombs annihilated the cathedral. Every bit of the plant above ground was destroyed, but from the rubble, new branches grew from the root that survived.
Today the base of the Thousand-Year Rose is protected by a squat iron fence and each of the central roots is named and catalogued to protect one of the oldest pieces of natural beauty one is lucky to find.” – WTF fun fact