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.
Rosae Caninae, Dog Roses, in which the orifice of the calyx-tube, or more properly the receptacle, is contracted as in the preceding by the thickening of the disk, but differing from the species of that section by the absence of odoriferous glandular hairs on the leaves. Their suckers are curved, and armed with equal recurved spines. This group differs from the following in having always free styles. We here find many species of great interest to the gardener. They are as follow: Rosa canina, the true Dog Rose, is one of the commonest species. It abounds throughout Europe, and extends even to the northern parts of Asia. It commonly exceeds 6 feet in height, but it varies excessively in this respect, as also in habit, according to climate and situation. This polymorphism, moreover, renders it very difficult to describe and distinguish, and the thirty or more species or sub-species into which botanists have cut it up have no well-defined characters. Its most constant characters are: to be unprovided with bristles mixed with the spines, to be glabrous, and to assume an obscure purple tint on the parts most exposed to the sun. The flowers are usually pale rose, more rarely white or inclining to carmine. Lastly, its ovoid-oblong fruits, scarlet when ripe, distinguish it from many neighbouring species where this organ is short and rounded. This Rose has not of itself yielded any garden varieties of note; but it is not improbable that some hybrid varieties have resulted from crosses of this with other species. Its importance as a stock for standard Rose-trees cannot be overestimated, as it is very hardy, and produces clean straight stems admirably adapted for this purpose.
R. Indica, the Tea Rose, despite its name, came from China, where it has probably been cultivated from the most ancient times. It is, like our European species, very variable and uncertain in its characters; and it is questionable whether it would not be better to unite the following species with it, as some authors have done. For want of data we accept Lindley's opinion, who held it to be a distinct species.
It is a shrub 5 to 10 feet or more high, with long slender glaucous shoots with scattered hooked brownish spines. The leaves are shining, smooth, composed of 3 to 5 flat ovate-acuminate leaflets of a deep green above and glaucous below. Flowers large, rose, flesh or yellowish in colour, ordinarily semi-double, borne on scabrous elongated peduncles. The fruit is rounded in form, or shortly obovoid, reddish scarlet when mature. One of its varieties, by some distinguished as a species under the name of R. odoratissima, is remarkable for the fragrance of its flowers. The innumerable varieties which have been obtained from it, either directly or by crossing, are far from repeating exactly the characters that we have just assigned to the specific type.
The Tea Rose, one of the great modern acquisitions of horticulture, was introduced into Europe towards the end of the last century, though it is not known by whom, nor the exact year. What is certain, however, is that it was seen for the first time in 1793, in the garden of an English amateur named Parsons; and it is also certain that it has since been introduced at different times by different travellers, notably by Mr. Evans about 1803 or 1804, and by Sir A. Hume in 1809. But what gives it its greatest value in the eyes of the amateur is the long duration of its flowering season, from early Spring till late in the Autumn.
The greater part of the varieties, and even hybrids, which it has produced since its introduction participate to a certain extent in this remarkable quality. We may cite amongst the most ancient varieties: - Belle Gabrielle, Belle Eliza, Belle Helene, Ze-nobie, Reine de Gol-conde, Roi de Siam, Garnot, Bengale Jaune, Aurore, Floralie, Moiree, Strombio, etc. Among the more modern varieties we indicate the following, which have already become classical: - Melanie Willermoz (fig. 88), large, full, white with salmon centre; Safrano, medium, double, light yellow or fawn; Bougere, large and very double, lilac rose or rosy bronze; Devoniensis, very large and full, pale or creamy yellow; Gloire de Dijon, very large and full, fawn shaded with salmon, one of the most splendid and useful Roses in cultivation, most likely of hybrid origin. We might add many more deserving of notice out of the hundreds of sorts found in catalogues; but it is evident that to do so would be of no great utility. It is almost superflous to say here that the Tea Roses are less hardy than most of the other groups, almost all except Gloire de Dijon requiring slight protection against frost even in the South of England.
R. Bengalensis, or R. semperflorens, the Bengal or Perpetual Rose (fig. 89), united by most authors with the preceding, but which for horticultural purposes it is more convenient to keep separate. It is a somewhat spreading bush with slender branches, armed here and there with curved prickles. Leaves shining, strongly tinted with dark purple, composed of 3 to 5 ovate-lanceolate dentate leaflets. Flowers solitary at the extremities of the branches, double or semi-double, deep crimson, almost scentless. The calyx-tube is shortly obovoid and glabrous, and the recurved calyx-1 eaves are deciduous. According to Dr. Lindley this is the only Rose that loses its stamens at the same time as the petals, a character which distinguishes it from the Tea Rose; but a still greater difference pointed out by that eminent botanist is the smaller number (about fifteen) of ovaries in each flower of the typical Bengal Rose, whilst the Tea Rose has from forty to fifty. The first Bengal Rose appears to have been introduced into England about the year 1771, by whom it is uncertain; but it is averred that an Englishman named Ker brought it from Canton in 1780, and that another Englishman, Slater, introduced a second variety from the same country about the same time. Hence the name China Rose, R. Ghinensis, given to it by some authors, whilst others consider it to be a mere variety of R. Indica. Innumerable varieties are referred to this species by horticulturists.
Fig. 88. Tea Rose, Melanie Willermoz. (1/3 nat. size.)
It is scarcely possible to distinguish specifically the Bourbon Rose, R. Borbonica (fig. 90), from R. Indica, which differs only in its larger stature, the presence of bristles intermixed with the spines on the branches and petioles, leaves of 5 to 7 leaflets, and flowers in corymbs 3 to 7 on the same peduncle. It is very probable that it is not really indigenous in the Isle of Bourbon, but imported thither from China or India. Its introduction into Europe dates from the beginning of the present century.
Fig. 89. Bengal Rose. (1/3 nat. size.)
The numerous varieties belonging to this section are distributed by gardeners amongst the Tea, Bourbon, Hybrid Perpetual, etc., according as they favour one or the other of these groups. But from the continued crossing and recrossing which they have undergone, this classification is necessarily arbitrary, and merely serves as a comparative guide for the amateur. We must refer our readers to the nursery catalogues for detailed descriptions of these varieties.
There are Dwarf Roses in this group as well as in the Centi-folia; but whether we regard them as distinct species, or simply varieties, is of no importance here. Amongst the number is Miss Lawrence's Rose (R. Lawrenciana), a true miniature of the Bengal Rose. It rarely exceeds a foot or a foot and a half in height, and its very slender branches are armed with large and almost straight prickles. The bright purple semi-double flowers are produced in abundance throughout the Summer.
The Tea, Bengal, and Bourbon Roses are often crossed with other species in our gardens, but perhaps more frequently in furnishing than receiving pollen - if, at least, we can place any confidence in the statements of horticulturists, who affirm that these Roses are usually produced pretty faithfully from seed. Be this is as it may, it is very possible, as is supposed, that the Noisette Rose, R. Noisettiana (fig. 91), is to be attributed to a cross between the Tea, or Bengal Rose, and R. moschata, Taised from seed in America by a French gardener named Philippe Noisette, who sent it to France in 1814.1 This Rose is a shrub 5 to 10 feet high, armed with strong hooked thorns; leaves glabrous, shining, usually composed of seven ovate-acute finely-toothed leaflets. The flowers, in the typical variety at least, are of medium size, numerous and double, bright rose and scented. But since its introduction into Europe, fecundated by itself or other species, it has given birth to a multitude of new varieties, in which the primitive type is more or less changed. In some the flowers are solitary at the extremity of the branches, and in others they are clustered; and in colour they vary from white and yellow to crimson, with every intermediate tinge. Few roses offer more decided evidence of hybridity. Among the white or flesh-coloured varieties we may adduce the following: Aimee Vibert, Eudoxie, Labiche, Lamarque, Madame Deslongschamps. Yellow varieties: Solfa-terre, Ophirie, Despres, Marie Charge, Euphvosine, Chroma-telle. Rose or carmine : Bougainville. Most of the foregoing varieties still hold their place in the garden; but there have been many very beautiful additions of late years, including the famed Marechal Mel. Some of the varieties of this class also are in bloom during the whole Summer and Autumn, which, coupled with the beauty of their flowers, causes them to be much sought after.
Fig. 90. Bourbon Rose, William the Conqueror. (1/3 nat. size.)
Fig. 91. Noisette Rose. (1/3 nat. size.)
1 It is, moreover, Dot impossible that the Noisette Rose was the result of a cross between the Tea Rose and an American species, R. setigera, of which we shall speak further on. The climbing habit of many Roses thrown into this class supports this supposition.