On the subject of Classification of Roses, there have been much difficulty and confusion among amateurs; and even Rivers himself, one of the most correct of Rose amateurs in England or France, remarks: "Within the last ten years, how many plants have been named and unnamed, classed and unclassed! Professor A. placing it here, and Dr. B. placing it there! I can almost imagine Dame Nature laughing in her sleeve, when our philosophers are thus puzzled. Well, so it is, in a measure, with Roses; a variety has often equal claims on two classes. First impressions have placed it in one, and there, rival amateurs should let it remain."
We are pleased with Mr. Parsons's classification, as being the most simple of any we have seen, and also as distinctive as possible, in a family so intermixed as the different varieties or species appear to be. We shall, therefore, give his system entire.
After speaking of the great confusion that has arisen in Rose nomenclature, he says :"If there exists, then, this doubt of the proper class to which many Roses belong, we think it would be better to drop entirely this sub-classification, and adopt some more general heads, under one of which every Rose can be classed. It may often be difficult to ascertain whether a Rose is a Damask,a Provence, or a Hybrid China; but there can be no difficulty in ascertaining whether it is dwarf or climbing, whether it blooms once or more in the year, and whether the leaves are rough as in the Remontants, or smooth as in the Bengals. We have, therefore, endeavored to simplify the old classification, and have placed all Roses under three principal heads, viz. :
"I. Those that make distinct and separate periods of bloom throughout the season, as the Remontant Roses.
"II. Those that bloom continually, without any temporary cessation, as the Bourbon, China, etc.
"III. Those that bloom only once in the season, as the French and others.
"The first of these includes only the present Damask and Hybrid Perpetuals, and for these we know no term so expressive as the French Remontant. Perpetual does not express their true character.
"The second general head we call Ever blooming. This is divided into five classes :
" 1. The Bourbon, which are easily known by their luxuriant growth, and thick, large, leathery leaves. These are, moreover, perfectly hardy.
"2. The China, which includes the present China, Tea, and Noisette Roses, which are now much confused, as there are many among the Teas which are not tea-scented, and among the Noisettes which do not bloom in clusters. They are, moreover, so much alike in their growth and habit, that it is better each should stand upon its own merits, and not on the characteristics of an imaginary class.
"3. Musk, known by its rather rougher foliage.
"4. Macartney, known by its very rich, glossy foliage, almost evergreen.
"5. Microphylla, easily distinguished by its peculiar foliage and straggling habit.
"The third general head we divide into five classes :
"1. Garden Roses. This includes all the present French, Provence, Hybrid Provence, Hybrid China, Hybrid Bourbon, White, and Damask Roses, many of which, under the old arrangement, differ more from others in their own class than from many in another class.
"2. Moss Roses, all of which are easily distinguished.
"3. Brier Roses, which will include the Sweet Brier, Hybrid Sweet Brier, and Austrian Brier.
" 4. The Scotch Rose.
"5. Climbing Rose; which are again divided into all the distinctive subdivisions."