A deciduous or semi-evergreen climber, reaching to the tops of lofty trees in the Himalaya, and to about 40 ft high in gardens. Leaves up to 7 or 8 in. long, with five to nine leaflets; rachis prickly and glandular. Leaflets ovate-lanceolate, elliptic or oblong-elliptic, acute or acuminate, mostly 2 to 3 in. long, simply and regularly toothed, upper surface dull or lustrous green, sometimes with a glaucous tinge, glabrous or thinly hairy, underside green or whitish, usually hairy, at least on the veins, sometimes slightly glandular. Stipules narrow, with spreading free tips, usually edged with glands or hairs. Flowers pale yellow in bud, opening white, 11⁄2 to 13⁄4 in. across, borne in the second half of June or early July, arranged in corymbose clusters usually higher than wide, several clusters often united into a large compound inflorescence which on vigorous shoots of cultivated plants may be a foot across, though on wild plants the supplementary clusters from the upper leaf-axils do not usually reach to the same level as the terminal corymb, so that the compound inflorescence tends to be conical in outline. Pedicels hairy and usually more or less glandular, up to 15⁄8 in. long. Receptacles ovoid or ellipsoid, with the same covering as the pedicels. Sepals with a few lateral appendages, slenderly pointed, longer than the rather narrowly ovoid flower-bud, hairy on the back, sharply reflexed at flowering-time and soon falling. Styles united into an exserted column. Fruits roundish to obovoid, 3⁄8 to 1⁄2 in. long. Bot. Mag., t. 4030.
Native of the Himalayan region, where it ranges from 3,000 to 9,000 ft, climbing into alders, deodars, oaks, etc., extending to China (Yunnan and W. Szechwan); described in 1820 by Lindley, who named it after Robert Brown, the distinguished botanist; introduced from Nepal by Wallich in 1822. At Kew it was at first grown on a west wall, but was eventually found to be quite hardy save that the growths of young plants, sometimes 10 or 12 ft long, were cut back in hard winters. What was probably the Wallich introduction still grew at Kew in the Rose Dell until the 1960s, climbing 30 ft into a holly, whose dark glossy-green leaves were a perfect foil to the white flowers of its companion. A plant in the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge, climbing on a pine, is portrayed in Garden, Vol. 71 (1907), p. 251; at Arundel Castle, Sussex, planted about 1850, it was some 35 ft high in a yew in 1904 (Gard. Chron., Vol. 36 (1904), p. 152 and figs. 62-3. In the Kew plant the leaves were dull green above; another form had grey-green leaves and was more tender, less vigorous, and with fewer flowers in the inflorescence.
A Chinese form of R. brunonii was introduced by Wilson in 1908 from the Wa-shan, W. Szechwan (W.1125). A plant under this number was cultivated in the Hanbury garden at La Mortola, Menton, and the fine form in commerce as ‘La Mortola’ may be of this provenance, though not certainly, since at least four forms of R. brunonii were grown there. Another reintroduction is Kingdon Ward 6309, from the Tsangpo Gorge at the eastern end of the Himalaya, collected 1924.
Until the early 1880s R. brunonii was grown under its correct name. But in 1879, the Belgian rhodologist Crépin, then the world authority on Rosa, published a paper in which R. brunonii was sunk in R. moschata and in this he was generally followed by other botanists. However, Crépin interpreted R. moschata in a very wide sense, including in it several other members of the Synstylae now treated as distinct species. R. brunonii is perhaps nearer to R. moschata than any of these, but not by much.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
For a note on this species and R. moschata (page 60) by Graham Thomas, see The Rose Annual 1983, pp. 134-7.
R moschata J. Herrm
Judging from old descriptions, portraits and herbarium specimens, this species, little known today, differs from R. brunonii
in the following respects: It is a tall, lax shrub, scarcely a climber; leaves dark green and smooth above, whitish beneath, glabrous except for the downy midrib, up to no more than 2 in. long and ovate to lanceolate, relatively broader than in R. brunonii
, very finely toothed; flowers larger, in lax corymbs, musk-scented, borne from August until the first frosts, the petals somewhat convex, acuminate at the apex (slightly retuse in R. brunonii
); pedicels and receptacle covered with fine, appressed hairs, not or only slightly glandular (eglandular forms of R. brunonii
have a much laxer and coarser indumentum on these parts); fruits not often described, but said by some authorities to be small and ovoid.R. moschata
is not known in the wild in its typical state. It was introduced to Britain in the reign of Henry VIII, from Italy. In Germany it was still a novelty in the 1580s, and not entirely hardy. From the fragrance of its flowers, likened to that of animal musk, it was even then called R. moschata
. But the name Rosa damascena
was also used for it, probably from the belief that it was the ‘Nesrin’ or ‘Nefrin’ of Arab medical works – a rose grown about Damascus whose flowers were used as a purgative. It was this property, and not the fragrance, that made the Musk rose of interest to the European medical botanists. ‘The Musk Roses, called in Latin Rosae Moschatae
, are the small, single, white roses, which blow not till autumn … the Best and most efficacious are those that grow in the hot countries, as Languedoc
… . Three or four of these Musk Roses being bruised in a Conserve, or Infusion, purge briskly, so that sometimes they occasion blood; those of Paris do not work so strong, but are more purgative than the pale Roses.’ (Lemery, Traité des Drogues
(1698), an extract included in the English translation (1712) of Pomet’s Histoire Générale des Drogues
(1694).) By ‘pale Roses’ was meant the Rosae Pallidae seu Incarnatae
, i.e., the R. damascena
of modern authors.Still a common garden rose in the early part of the 19th century, R. moschata
has been displaced by its hybrids. Indeed, it was thought to be extinct in this country until Graham Thomas found it growing at Myddelton House, Enfield, once the home of E. A. Bowles, who records in My Garden in Summer
(1914) that he had a young plant raised from a cutting brought from The Grange, Bitton (G. S. Thomas, Climbing Roses
, pp. 37-8, 52-4 and fig. 3). In spite of its delicious fragrance, late flowering habit, and historical interest it remains rare.Through ‘Champney’s Pink Cluster’, its hybrid with the Pink China rose, R. moschata
is an ancestor of the modern Hybrid Teas and the so-called Hybrid Musks. Crossed with R. multiflora
it is a parent of the ramblers ‘The Garland’ and ‘Madame d’Arblay’. See also ‘Dupontii’.
The rose named R. Pissardii
by Carrière was found growing in Iran near Guilan on the Caspian by Pissard, Gardener to the Shah, and was brought to Teheran to ornament the gardens there (Rev. Hort.
, 1880, p. 314 and plate; op. cit., 1888, p. 446).This rose is usually considered to be synonymous with R. moschata
(see above), but judging from the description and figure it was a hybrid. The broad stipules shown in the plate are quite unlike those of any form of R. moschata
, and the scent of the flowers, according to Carrière, was intermediate between that of a Tea rose and R. gallica
. They were single. Neither of the roses introduced by Paul’s nursery as R. Pissardii
agree with Carrière’s description and figure (see above).
R ruscinonensis Gren. & Deségl.
R. sempervirens var. pilosula Ser.
R. sempervirens var. moschata Gren. & Godr
This rose, usually included in R. moschata
, was described from plants naturalised in the Eastern Pyrenees (Le Roussillon), but similar forms are reported from Provence and Sicily. From typical R. moschata
it differs in its less downy and more glandular pedicels. and glabrous receptacles, and in being summer-flowering. Also, judging from specimens collected in the Roussillon near Perpignan the flower-buds are more broadly ovoid than in either typical R. moschata
or R. brunonii
– a difference perhaps of some significance, since the shape of the flower-bud is of diagnostic importance in the Synstylae
.Roses naturalised in North Africa are usually referred to R. moschata
, but from lack of material for study nothing useful can be said about them. They are reported to be summer-flowering.
var. nastarana Christ
Leaflets glabrous and green beneath, sometimes no more than 1 in. long. Inflorescence more glandular than in typical R. moschata
. Described from Iran, where it is cultivated but said also to occur wild. The normal flowering-time has not been ascertained, but one of the two roses introduced by Paul’s nursery around 1880 as R. Pissardii
agrees quite well with the var. nastarana
and this flowered into October. It had white, semi-double flowers, and may be the rose figured in Wilmott as var. nastarana
(Vol. I, p. 39, t.).Under var. nastarana
Christ mentions the ‘Gul e Rescht’ or Rescht rose, a garden rose of Iran which is an obvious hybrid, with small, double, red flowers, strongly pinnated sepals and toothed stipules. It bears some resemblance to the Constantinople rose (R. byzantina
Dieck), which Crépin judged to be a hybrid between R. gallica
and R. multiflora
. The second of the two roses introduced by Paul as R. Pissardii
seems to have been similar to the Rescht rose.