An evergreen shrub of rambling habit, reaching on walls in favoured places a height of 20 ft. Branches very thick and sturdy, covered with brownish down, and armed with pairs of stout, hooked prickles and numerous scattered bristly ones. Leaflets five to eleven, obovate, often widely truncated at the end and finely toothed, 3⁄4 in. to 2 in. long, (in vigorous plants) 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, of a very deep green and highly polished above, either glabrous or downy on the midrib beneath; rachis glandular-downy. Stipules laciniated. Flowers 3 to 4 in. across, white, borne singly on a very short stalk which is surrounded by several large, laciniated, downy bracts. Receptacle and sepals (the latter 3⁄4 in. long) covered with a pale brown wool. Fruits globose, orange-red, woolly, about 11⁄2 in. wide. Bot. Mag., t. 1377.
Native of southeast China and Formosa; introduced in 1793 by Lord Macartney. This distinct and remarkable rose is, unfortunately, not very hardy except in the southwest counties and similar places, where its rich evergreen foliage and large flowers make it one of the most striking of all the wild types. Near London, even grown on a wall, it is occasionally damaged badly by frost. Its flowers appear from June until late autumn, and have a delicate fruity perfume.
The rose ‘Marie Leonida’, with creamy white, double flowers, is a cross between R. bracteata and R. laevigata. Its flowers do not open well in the average British summer.
For ‘Mermaid’, a hybrid between R. bracteata and a Tea rose, see p. 191.
‘Nothing can be more ornamental than the double white rose of Northern India and the Deyra Doon, R. Lyellii, kooza of the natives …’ (Royle, Ill. Bot. Himal. (1835), p. 203).
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
The date of introduction of 1793 in all editions of this work is a misprint for 1795, the date given by Aiton. Lord Macartney’s Embassy to China arrived home in September 1794 and the seeds were doubtless received at Kew a few months later.
R clinophylla Thory
R. involucrata Roxb. ex Lindl
Closely allied to R. bracteata
, with the same laciniate bracts and stipules and tomentose fruits, but the prickles not hooked, the leaflets narrower, acute, often downy beneath. It is a native of India, where according to Hooker, ‘it is the common rose of the Bengal plains and foot of the Himalaya and the only really tropical species of India’. It is usually found by riversides and other wet places. Farther east it occurs in Burma, where Kingdon-Ward found it on the Irrawaddy near Myitkyina, growing as a bush 10 to 15 ft high among rocks submerged for three months of the year, flowering in March and again in July (KW 6601, field note, and Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World
, where it is mentioned on pp. 50, 138, as R. bracteata
). It also occurs in Laos and possibly in S.E. China.R. clinophylla
was first collected in Nepal by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, around 1803, and was described and named by Roxburgh from specimens sent by him to the Calcutta Botanic Garden. But by the time Lindley had published Roxburgh’s name R. involucrata
(1820), the species had been described by Thory, and figured, in the first volume of Redouté’s Les Roses
(p. 43, t. (1817)), under the name R. clinophylla
. The type-plant grew in Boursault’s garden, and had come from England, so the introduction to this country is earlier than 1818, the date given by Lindley in the Botanical Register
. In 1834 Loudon saw a plant 11 ft high on a wall in Loddiges’s nursery, which flowered magnificently, but the species seems to have dropped out of cultivation and should be reintroduced.
R lyellii Lindl
This rose was described by Lindley in 1820 from a plant sent to Sir Joseph Banks from Nepal by Dr Wallich, though whether it was collected in the wild or in a garden is not recorded. It is beautifully figured in the frontispiece to his Monograph
(plate 1). Although obviously near to R. clinophylla
, and included in it by some botanists, it is distinct in its corymbose inflorescence with distant pairs of narrow bracts, and was judged by the Belgian rhodologist Crépin to be a hybrid of R. clinophylla
with R. moschata
(in which he included the Himalayan R. brunonii
). According to Crépin, such a hybrid, in single or double forms, is cultivated in Indian gardens, and he identified as R
. × lyellii
a rose distributed by the nurseryman William Paul under the name R. “lucida duplex”
(figured in the frontispiece to Paul’s The Rose Garden
, ed. 1889). This came from the French rose-grower Jamain. A similar rose is figured in Willmott’s The Genus Rosa
, Vol. I, p. 129, t., wrongly as R. involucrata
. The material portrayed was brought by Miss Willmott from France.