Rose introduction and definitions.

Rose fossils date back around 50 million years and fossils from 30 mya have been found across the northern hemisphere.
Paintings of roses in Crete date back 3500 years ago.
Roses were first cultivated by the Chinese as early as c. 500 B.C.
The rich and ruling classes in Greece, Egypt and Italy from around 400 B.C. had massive amounts of roses grown for them.

In the late 1790’s the process of pollination was discovered and people could breed their own cultivars instead of just transplanting plants from the wild.
Not long after this the repeat flowering Rosa chinensis arrived in Europe and, crossed with European roses, led to the development of the repeat flowering Hybrid Tea roses by the end of the 1800’s.

Some rose definitions.

  • Single flowers have 4 to 7 petals,
  • semi-doubles have 8 to 14,
  • doubles have 15 to 30 and
  • fully doubles have over 30 petals.
  • repeat blooming – plants that flower more than once (or almost continuously) during their flowering season.
  • sport – a spontaneous mutation in a new stem making it different from the rest of the plant.

Rose shapes.

Flat are single to full doubles with petals curved outwards so the corolla is almost flat.

Pointed or ‘Hybrid Tea’ shaped flowers are semi to fully double flowers with tight high cone-like centres.

Urn-shaped are flat-topped semi to fully double flowers with curved petals.

Rounded roses have overlapping, even-sized petals forming a flower with a rounded top.

Rosette roses are slightly flat, doubles or fully doubles but the overlapping petals are of uneven size and irregularly arranged.

Quartered rosette are like rosettes with each flower appearing to be divided into 4 sections.

Pompoms have clusters of small rounded double to fully double flowers with masses of small petals.

Leaves can be pale to dark green, tinted and glossy or rough.
Petals can be flat or the edges may roll in or back and the edges can be smooth to ruffled.
Flowers can be single, bi-or multi-coloured, variously patterned and scented or not.


Rosa features.

The following photographs of the main features of the Rosa genus
are taken from a range of plants.
More detailed descriptions of many of the features will be found
under the next section on Wild or Species roses.