This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
- Dense bushes from 3 to 6 feet high, readily distinguished from all other Roses by their floral leaves or bracts, and their shaggy ovaries and fruits. Only two species are known, both from Central and Eastern Asia, and differing so slightly that they may easily be confounded one with the other.
R. palustris, the Marsh Rose of Nepal and China, has white solitary flowers supported by a bracteiform involucre of three or four leaves.
R. bracteata. Macartney Rose, a charming little bush, from India and Southern China, with roundish-obovate persistent shining leaves and solitary white flowers, surrounded by 8-10 pectinate silky bracts. The beautiful semi-double pure white Macartney Rose is said to have originated from seed of this species. Two other old but commendable varieties are likewise referred to this species, namely : alba odorata, with large full white flowers yellowish in the centre; and Maria Leonida, a climbing variety with white flowers, which probably belongs to another species.
The Small-leaved Rose, R. microphylla, which resembles the Macartney in more than one respect, naturally finds its place here. It is a small compact bush of a beautiful verdure with slender flexible branches armed with spines near the insertion of the petioles. The leaves consist of 5-9 very small oval or roundish perfectly glabrous and shining finely toothed leaflets. The flowers are solitary, very double, rose or pale carmine. The calyx is densely covered all over with fine thorns, a character wanting in the other species of the group, and perhaps sufficient to separate this from it as a distinct tribe. This pretty Rose is indigenous in China and the mountains of Northern India, whence it was brought to England towards the end of the last century. Two or three varieties not uncommon in gardens are referred to this species: the Old Purple, a very double deep carmine Rose; and Triomphe de Macheteaux, a very double white variety tinged with rose. Another species attached to this group is the Rosa clinophylla, from which, hybridised with R. berberidifolia, came Hardy's Rose, a variety with yellow flowers spotted with purple at the base of the petals, but this has become very rare now.
The Roses of this group require slight protection in severe weather, and are well suited for covering dwarf walls.