The Phlebotomist’s Rose

The Phlebotomist’s Rose is in fact, not a rose. This name is a misnomer. While its genetic code draws from many sources both plant and animal, it is taxonomically more of a succulent, with a bit of leech mixed in. However, it is still similar enough in breed and appearance to be called a rose, and really, what is a rose by any other name? This is only a saying, of course. One should take care to never misname their roses.

The Phlebotomist’s Rose was originally bred by the gardener-monks of High Petrichor in the late 17th century, as a safer and more visually appealing method for drawing blood. Upon breaking the skin, the hollow thorns would siphon blood into the fleshy petals, which could then later be slit, and the viscera drained. The cut would seal quickly, and could then be used again on another patient or specimen.

A close cousin is the aptly named Assassin’s Rose. Renegade botanists would steal cuttings, and breed them so as to reverse-engineer the rose’s blood-drawing ability. This new breed could be pre-primed, absorbing the substance of choice then later injecting into an unsuspecting victim at the slightest prick. This became a favored tool of criminals, for its delivery of anything from mild sedatives to potent toxins. It could be delivered as an anonymous gift to a gullible mark, knocking them unconscious while everything of value was taken from their homes. It could be loaded with psychotropics and used to smuggle, distribute, or administer illicit substances. The Assasin's Rose could even be used by revolutionaries to end the lives of royalty, perfectly disguised among their finery.

The rose was only ever intended to be bred in captivity, but its widespread utility and popularity eventually assured that specimens found their way into the wild. Cross-pollination with the Carnivorous Desert Rose lead to a new hybrid, one that consumed the blood it drew, and this half-breed spread like wildfire. Vast fields of these deadly mixes could rise up almost overnight, and a passing resemblance to their harmless cousins claimed many a victim. However, if one is wise, they can still be identified. As all clever children know, on closer observation they still hold some kinship with their carnivorous sisters. If one is careful not to reach too closely, you may still see the fine rows of fang-thorns inside of their petal-ringed maws.

- From Centifolia Hubbard's "A Compendium of Roses", published 1867