This is a class of wild roses, but of a special kind. Precisely speaking, members of this class of roses grow from plants or cuttings that have been collected from the wild. Normally, species roses have their origin in remarkably vigorous and attractive specimens.
Their wildness is considered to be the special vigour of these roses. In fact, the species roses are proficient in looking after themselves since no one is there to take care of them in the wild. Hence, if you opt for species roses and make them accustomed to the climate and soil in your garden, later they will be able to take care of themselves in your garden also.
You need to have a change in your perspective to understand the value and beauty of species roses. In fact, one needs to leave behind the notion that beautiful roses should look like those that they see at the florist. Generally species roses bear simple and single blossoms with only five petals.
The individual flowers of species roses measure just 1 inch to 2 inches (2.5 cm to (5.1 cm) in width. Usually, these roses bloom only once in a growing season. Moreover, the species roses have a tendency to develop into expansive shrubs.
Precisely speaking, these roses are most suited for growing as informal planting. Aside from these attributes, special roses possess unmatched hardiness. At the same time, species roses are also somewhat delicate and offer a beauty that only a few man-made hybrids are able to match.
Introduced – 1759
‘Cherokee Rose’ is native to foreign lands, but this species rose variety has been accustomed to most regions in the south-eastern United States. In fact, this rose has also inherited names of people in this Western nation. When grown in the warmer regions of its range, the Cherokee rose is more or less evergreen.
The dark green, glossy leaves of this rose too are unusual as they comprise of three leaflets instead of the five or seven leaflets that is common in other roses. ‘Cherokee Rose’ bears single, fragrant flowers quiet early in the season – in April or May.
The flowers are white and each measure anything between 2 ½ inches and 3 ½ inches (6.5 cm and 9.0 cm) in diameter and their stamens are yellow hued and showy. The flowers are succeeded by large, decorative red hued hips.
Introduced – 1891
‘Memorial Rose’ (Rosa wichuraiana) is a favorite cemetery planting owing to its vigorous growth, sweet fragrance of the blooms and the hardiness of its plants. This rose is capable of surviving with very low maintenance – only sporadic care is enough for it to thrive.
This rose is often grown as a ground cover for gravesites and, therefore, it has been appropriately named ‘Memorial Rose’. In addition, this species rose variety is also grown as a climbing rose. Several fine hybrid climbers have been bred from this rose.
The white flowers of this rose are borne in pyramid-shaped clusters. The plants are in bloom quite late – around August. The yellow stamens of the flowers are conspicuous, while the flowers have a fruit-like fragrance. Once the flowering season is over, the plants produce small, ovoid hips having dark red hue.
The foliage is dark green and glossy and is more or less evergreen when grown in places having mild winters. The canes produce a fairly thorny and if the plants are allowed to sprawl, they root wherever the tips come in contact with the ground thereby giving rise to new plants. This attribute of Rosa wichuraiana makes it a very effective plant for using as ground cover.
Introduced – 1810
This species rose variety is cultivated as well as grows naturally over a vast region in North America ranging from Ontario to Florida and Texas. ‘Prairie Rose’ is a tough plant that makes a very good stabilizer for any sunny bank. Moreover, it is capable of thriving in poor and arid soils which makes this rose an exceptional plant for growing along highways.
You may train the long canes of ‘Prairie Rose’ to grow on a pillar or trellis. However, this rose looks best when it is allowed to grow as a large shrub in a meadow or as a specimen planting on the border of an expansive lawn.
The flowers of this rose are single and have a pink hue. This rose is in bloom much later compared to various other species of roses. The hips as well as the vibrant foliage make ‘Prairie Rose’ an excellent shrub for any landscape, especially in autumn.
Introduced – prior to 1830
‘Red-leafed Rose’ (Rosa glauca) is in bloom towards the end of spring. The flowers of this species rose variety are single and have a clear pink hue with a white eyes at the center. The flowers are small and each measures 1 ½ inches (4 cm) across.
While the flowers do not last for a long time, they make way for striking, oval-shaped, red hued hips that make a wonderful display against the multi-colored foliage whose color varies from copper to purplish when grown in sites receiving full sunlight.
On the other hand, the color of the foliage is silvery green if the plants are grown in shade. The color of the foliage is enhanced by the purple hue of the young canes, making ‘Red-leafed Rose’ an atypical as well as attractive addition to any mixed border of flowers and shrubs.
The plants are tough as well as hardy. The almost thornless shrub performs best when grown in garden in places having cold climatic conditions.
‘Rosa Banksiae Banksiae’ Roses
Introduced – 1807
The flowers of ‘Rosa Banksiae Banksiae’ (R. banksiae banksiae) are double, have a pure white hue and appear copiously during spring. The plants of this species rose variety are continuously in bloom for about 6 weeks. When in bloom, the flowers cover the entire plant. However, the flowers are very small, each measuring 1 inch across.
The flowers are exceptionally fragrant and their scent is similar to that of violets. The long leaves have a light green color and are glossy, while the canes are almost without thorns. This rose is hardy, a vigorous grower and lives for a long period.
‘Rosa Banksiae Banksiae’ grows well on a wall, trellis or a tree. The plant may, however, have an uncontrolled growth if it is not checked. This rose has a cousin known as R. banksiae which bears double flowers whose color varies from pale to deep yellow.
Compared to ‘Rosa Banksiae Banksiae’, its related variety is hardier and its flowers are less fragrant. Both these rose varieties are also referred to as the Lady Banks’ Rose.
‘Rosa Eglanteria’ Roses
Introduced – prior to 1551
Commonly ‘Rosa Eglanteria’ (R. eglanteria) is known as the eglantine rose or sweetbrier. The flowers of this rose have a blush pink hue and each measures about 2 inches in diameter. The petals encircle a tuft of golden stamens. The flowers may appear singly or even in clusters toward the end of spring.
After the flowering season, the plants produce vivid red hued hips. The leaves of this rose are dark green and tough and have a distinct apple scent. The flowers of this species rose variety too have a sweet scent. The canes produce copious thorns.
The plants of ‘Rosa Eglanteria’ are large, have a vigorous growth along with a rambling habit. Over the years, this rose has habituated itself to North America and can now be seen growing in pastures.
When grown in gardens, you need to ensure that the plants are pruned heavily in order to check their uncontrolled growth and also to promote new growth. The new growth of this rose is also fragrant.
‘Rosa Foetida’ Roses
Introduced – prior to 1542
The flowers of ‘Rosa Foetida’ are single and have a vivid red hue. Each flower of this species rose variety measures anything between 2 inches and 2 ½ inches in diameter and they bloom only once in a year. The flowers have a sweet scent that is almost sickening.
It is worth mentioning here that ‘Rosa Foetida’ formed the basis of the yellow hue in the modern roses. However, it is unfortunate that this rose is extremely susceptible to black spot.
‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ Roses
Introduced – prior to 1590
‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ is a wild rose which is also referred to as ‘Austrian Copper’. This rose is also a sport of the yellow species rose ‘Rosa Foetida’ (R. foetida). The color of the flowers of ‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ varies from orange to copper on the upper side, while it is yellow on the reverse side.
Each flower of this rose measures between 2 inches and 3 inches across. Sometimes, one branch of this rose may revert to its original species spontaneously and, as a result, you may find yellow as well as copper hued flowers blossoming on the same bush. The foliage of this rose is neat, small and has a pale green color.
The canes produce several thorns and have a chestnut brown color. Generally, the plants of ‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ grow up to a height of anything between 4 feet and 5 feet and produce arching canes. At times, the plants can even grow up to a height of 8 feet.
‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ plants usually require very little pruning in order to maintain their eye-catching form. This rose is best suited for growing in garden beds and borders for a colourful flower display during spring.
However, it is important to grow this rose at a distance from soft, pastel hued flowers as they don’t blend well with the bold tones of ‘Rosa Foetida Bicolor’ blooms. Although the plants of this rose are hardy, they are prone to black spot.
‘Rosa Foetida Persiana’ Roses
Introduced – prior to 1837
In all respects ‘Rosa Foetida Persiana’ is comparable to R. foetida. The only difference between these two special rose varieties is that the former bears double flowers. Often, this rose is also referred to as the Persian rose.
‘Rosa Hugonis’ Roses
Introduced – 1899
‘Rosa Hugonis’ is also referred to as ‘Father Hugo’s Rose’ and this species rose variety is among the first to flower towards the end of spring. The flowers of this rose are borne in masses of single blossoms and each flower measures about 2 ½ inches across.
The sunny yellow flowers bloom on wilting branches that are covered with little, dark green leaves. This rose grows up to a height of anything between 6 feet and 10 feet and, hence, it is best to grow ‘Rosa Hugonis’ in the form of a climber.
‘Rosa Macrantha’ Roses
Introduced – prior to 1832
‘Rosa Macrantha’ bears single flowers having a blush pink hue. Each flower of this species rose measures anything between 2 inches and 3 inches and they bloom only once in a year.
After the flowering season is over, the plants produce round, dull red hued hips each measuring about ¾ inch. The plants of ‘Rosa Macrantha’ grow up to a height of 10 feet and they produce upright arching canes. In addition, they may also produce canes that grow horizontally on the ground. The canes of this species rose are densely swathed with blue-green leaves.