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.
- This not very natural and ill-defined tribe is distinguished by the following characteristics : Stems erect, inflexible; spines almost straight; leaflets oval or oblong, with diverging teeth; calyx-leaves persistent on the fruit and connivent; disk fleshy, closing the entrance to the calyx-tube. Its affinity is on the one hand with the Sweet Briars, and on the other with the Dog Roses.
The most important species of this group is R. alba, the White Rose, which for the beauty of its flowers equals perhaps R. centifolia itself. This is a European bushy shrub from 5 to 10 feet high, with remarkably glaucous foliage composed of 5-7 leaflets shortly oval or almost round. The flowers are large and abundant, solitary or in corymbs, showing according to the varieties every shade between white and bright rose. The fruit is oblong, and scarlet when ripe.
This species, which has been in cultivation for a long period, has like the preceding produced many varieties, in which, however, the specific type is pretty well preserved - an indication, perhaps, that it does not cross so readily as some others. It should be noted, too, that in the majority the colour is either white or of a pinkish tint, rarely bright rose. Those with a decided shade of crimson probably owe this greater intensity of colour to a cross between the White Rose and some other species. Writers and horticulturists describe upwards of a hundred varieties of this handsome Rose; but we may limit ourselves to the following: - Pompon Bayard, Placidie, Celeste blanche, Bouquet blanc Royale, Belle Aurore (flowers white, tinged with yellow), Perls de France, Guisse de Nymphe, Diademe de Flore (flowers large and very double, flesh-coloured, one of the most beautiful Roses known); Felicite, Madame Legras, La Seduisante, etc., are better known in this country.
R. tomentosa, R. villosa, and R. Evratiana, belong to this tribe, but they are seldom cultivated, and have produced no noteworthy varieties.1
1 All the wild forms of this group are now usually considered as varieties of R. canina.