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History and Information on Roses

The rose is a perennial (a plant that lives for more than two years) of the genus Rosa and in the family Rosaceae. There are over a hundred rose species and thousands of cultivars. Cultivars (cultivation, now called cultigens) are plants that have been bred for their specific desirable characteristics, such as flower, colour or fragrance.

Most species of roses are native to Asia, with a few native to North America, Europe and north-western Africa. Many species of roses are found in China including Rosa laevigata, Rosa rugosa, Rosa gigantea and Rosa chinensis, have all played major roles in the breeding and cultivation of modern roses, popular in today’s gardens around the world.

The name rose comes from France which itself comes from the Latin word rosa. It has been speculated that the Latin word rosa was borrowed from Oscan, Greek and even Old Persian languages.

Rosa Chinensis China Rose Rosa rugosa Hybrid Tea Rose Capistrano Rosa Charles de Mills
Rosa Chinensis China Rose Rosa rugosa Hybrid Tea Rose Capistrano Rosa Charles de Mills
Single Red Rose
Typical Rose used by Jardins as Cut Flowers in Boxed Rose Arrangements
Hybrid Tea Rose Capistrano Hybrid Tea Rose Sunset Celebration Hybrid Tea Roses Cajun Sunrise Rosa La Reine
Hybrid Tea Rose Capistrano Hybrid Tea Rose Sunset Celebration Hybrid Tea Roses Cajun Sunrise Rosa La Reine

 

As can be seen above, wild roses or uncultivated roses, look very different to cultivated roses popular in gardens and as cut flowers.

 

Growing Roses

Roses are best known for their ornamental flowers and are popular plants in gardens around the world. Roses are also used in purfumery, as cut flowers and have some minor medicinal usage. As cut flowers, red roses are popular with romantic occasions.

Roses are predominantly grown as ornamental plants in private and public gardens. Garden roses are mostly hybrid roses produced for their flowers and grown throughout the world, especially in temperate climates.

Wild roses, known as species roses, are natural species and some of their immediate hybrids. Wild roses are low maintenance shrubs which can tolerate poor soil and shade.

Old Garden Roses belong to a class of roses which existed before the introduction of the Modern Rose, circa 1867. Alternative names for Old Garden roses include Heritage Roses and Historic Roses. Old Garden Roses of European and Mediterranean origin are woody shrubs, with fragrant blooms in shades of whites, crimson red and pink. The arrival of roses from Asia circa 1800 (China Roses and Tea Roses), introduced new classes of Old Garden Roses.

Most Old Garden Roses are classified into one of the following groups; Alba, Gallica, Damask Roses, Centifolia Roses, Moss Roses, Portland Roses, China Roses, Tea Roses, Bourbon Roses, Noisette, Hybrid Perpetual, Hybrid Musk, Hybrid Rugosa and Burmuda Roses.

Modern Garden Roses can be quite often confused with Old Garden Roses because they share their ancestry. Popular Modern Garden Roses include: Hybrid Tea Roses (Hybrid Perpetual and Tea Roses), Pernetiana, Polyantha, Floribunda, Grandiflora, Miniature Roses, Climbing and Rambling Roses, Shrubs, David Austin and Canadian Hardy.

 

Popular Garden Roses

With hundreds of rose species and thousands of rose cultivars, below we list a very small sample of some of the most popular roses grown in Australia and gardens around the world.

Hybrid Tea Mister Lincoln English Rose David Austin Rosa Double Delight Rosa Iceberg
Hybrid Tea Mister Lincoln English Rose David Austin Rosa Double Delight Rosa Iceberg

 

Mister Lincoln, a hybrid tea rose, is a large flowered rose introduced in 1964. (AARS 1965). This tall red rose is prized for its strong fragrance and deep, uniform red color. It grows to about 1.2 metres high and 1 metre across. Typically, it has 30 to 35 petals per flower. It is a vigorous plant that performs well in all climates.

English Rose/David Austin. "English Rose" is the designation for roses bred by David Austin. Though Austin's roses are not officially recognised as a separate class of roses, they are nonetheless commonly referred to by rosarians, at nurseries, and in horticultural literature as 'English Roses' or 'Austin Roses'.

Rosa Double Delight is a hybrid tea rose cultivar bred by Swim & Ellis and introduced in 1977. Its parents were two hybrid tea cultivars - the red and yellow 'Granada' and the ivory 'Garden Party'. In the sun, petals change colour from white to carmin red, beginning at the edges. 'Double Delight' is used as a garden rose and for cut flowers.

Rosa Iceberg is a white floribunda rose cultivar and is among the world's best known roses. The plant was registered under the cultivar name 'KORbin' by Kordes in 1958 and given the trade name Schneewittchen. In Australia, Rosa Iceberg is suited to all but northern tropical areas.

 

Rose Colours

Roses, as an ornamental flower, come in a number of colours and hues. Rose colours include white, yellow, orange, red, pink and a combination of these colours. Historically, blue roses were not available due to the lack of blue pigment. Blue and purple roses are now available by introducing the blue pigment through genetic modifications.