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Here is my question of the day; Why do rose stems have thorns? I was out shooting more photos of Azaleas (I only have a few hundred!) today when my pant(s) leg got caught in some of these. The thorns are really pretty (in my humble opinion). This is a small section of the climbing rose that was planted next to a tree... either before the big Water Oak tree was starting out life as a tree or when it was small. The tree (and the climbing rose) are very near the 'sidewalk' in front of the house. Power lines and the tree are not friendly to each other. The tree trimming crew (city utilities) just hate it when they have the task of trimming branches because the crew invariably get into thorns like this every time the job has to be done. The rose vines (canes?) go all the way to the top of the tree and every spring, the tree is full of white roses. Well...not THAT full, but a person can see them if they look up!
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Comments on this photo:

Feb 25 2013 01:04 GMT porph
To protect themselves from abusers, like venom in snakes...
(in my humble opinion)
Feb 25 2013 01:07 GMT RTW
to keep the city utilities crew at bay. they can cause ''lock jaw''
Feb 25 2013 01:12 GMT larrybenedict
Reg, I think you are pulling my leg. Lock Jaw huh?
Feb 25 2013 01:14 GMT larrybenedict
Porph, you made me think maybe the thorns would prevent squirrels from going after the rose 'hips', but the snake thing????
Feb 25 2013 01:30 GMT Myshots
Great notes and shot....
Feb 25 2013 02:19 GMT potterjo
I am sure it is some sort of defense.
Feb 25 2013 04:28 GMT porph
Every creature got danger in this world, I believe so Larry...
Feb 25 2013 08:19 GMT ForestSpirit PRO
Larry, here's a German proverb:

Anstatt zu klagen, dass die Rosen Dornen haben, Freude sollst du haben, dass der Dornstrauch Rosen trägt!

(Instead of complaining that roses have thorns you should be glad that the thorn bush bears roses!)
Feb 25 2013 15:02 GMT wijnie58
Great image..:-))
Feb 25 2013 16:15 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you Paulette
Feb 25 2013 16:22 GMT larrybenedict
Yes Jo, I'm sure it is. I've wondered for years what it might be. The flower petals and hips are edible, so I'm thinking it is self preservation in that all living things have a built in intelligence to reproduce itself. The thorns surely have or did have at one time, a purpose.
Feb 25 2013 16:23 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you Hunju
Feb 25 2013 16:24 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you for that Sylvia. A great proverb that changes a point of view from a negative to a positive.
Feb 25 2013 16:25 GMT larrybenedict
Thank you Wijnie
Feb 25 2013 19:59 GMT martini957
Good question Larry....I personally think they are there to draw blood to help feed the greedy roses : ))
Feb 26 2013 09:42 GMT skyball
You've hit apon a thorny subject Larry!!:-))....lovely catch!!!!!!......
Feb 26 2013 13:08 GMT mellie
Where I live it's to protect themselves from the foxes, raccoons,; critters that walk about. You don't forget a thorn easily, especially when it bites you in the ... :-)
Feb 26 2013 13:57 GMT bandsix
Roses have thorns to catch in your pant leg, so you can ask the question 'why do roses have thorns' and all your FT friends can scratch their heads and put their thinking caps on and stave off Alzheimer's......:))
Feb 26 2013 13:58 GMT bandsix
Or perhaps the real answer is protection....:))
Feb 27 2013 02:23 GMT larrybenedict
Barbara, you are reading my mind. Isn't it fun to wonder about things! Protection of the oak tree from the utility company's tree trimmers is certainly working. The tree and the rose are in a symbiotic relationship. The tree supports the rose as it climbs for more light and the rose protects the tree from the pruners. What a good deal! :-)
Mar 01 2013 03:26 GMT RTW
No, they are dangerous as all plants are, I once had lock jaw from a palm tree i was trimming .
Mar 01 2013 14:05 GMT larrybenedict
Reg, I'm in the dental business and I have rarely seen cases of lock jam (Trismus). Maybe you are a person who doesn't not like plants in general? :-) There is a book: "The Secret Life of Plants" by Tompkins and Bird, that documents how plants react to people. Sounds unusual, but studies show that they do!