A small, suckering shrub, rarely more than 3 ft high in the wild; stems from the stolons densely clad with prickly bristles; upper stems with straight, slender prickles, which are usually paired at the nodes, scattered but fairly numerous between the nodes. Leaflets five or, more commonly, seven, elliptic or narrowly ovate, 5⁄8 to 11⁄2 in. long, sharply toothed, the teeth rather spreading and averaging about twelve on each side, dull or slightly lustrous above, glabrous on both sides or softly downy beneath. Stipules narrow, the adnate halves of each pair more or less parallel and sometimes upfolded, forming a tube. Flowers in June or early July, solitary, or few in a corymb, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide, light pink. Pedicels and receptacle usually clad with stalked glands. Fruits red, more or less globular, about 3⁄8 in. wide.
Native of N. America from Maine to Florida, west to the Prairie States and Texas, inhabiting mainly dry and open habitats; cultivated by James Sherard at Eltham, in 1732, but uncommon in gardens, where it has been confused with R. palustris.
Leaflets hairy beneath. Flowers white (R. virginiana
Baker in Willmott; R. lyonii
Rehd.). Discovered at Cherryfields, Maine, in 1867.
Flowers somewhat larger than average, borne as late as September. Received at Kew from William Paul’s nursery 1894 (R. carolina
Hort.).A further difference between R. carolina
and R. palustris
is that the former is tetraploid and the latter diploid. Natural hybrids between them have been reported, and those studied by Mrs Erlanson were triploid and sterile, as might be expected. These hybrids had the habit of R. carolina
but showed the influence of R. palustris
in the more finely and more numerously toothed leaflets. Diploid and fertile plants apparently combining the characters of R. carolina
and R. palustris
are now thought to be the result of hybridisation between the latter and R. blanda
Flowers double, the outer petals fading to white with age. Sepals with long, slender tips (R. parviflora
Ehrh.). In the late 18th and early 19th centuries this seems to have been the commonest representative of the species in gardens, and the only one seen by Lindley, according to whom it ‘does not yield in beauty to the most splendid varieties of gallica
’. It was a weak grower and, according to Thory in Redouté’s Les Roses
, most gardeners lost it through weeding out the suckers that it needed to perpetuate itself. Probably for this reason it became extinct in Europe, but around 1955 it was rediscovered in the USA by Mr and Mrs Wilson Lynes, who sent plants to Graham Thomas (see his Shrub Roses of Today
, p. 71 and fig. 2).The rose figured in Willmott’s The Genus Rosa
as R. humilis
(Vol. 1, p. 207, t.) appears to be the same as one distributed by Smith of Newry towards the end of the last century as R. lucida grandiflora
, with large flowers and obovate or broadly elliptic leaflets. This rose is the type of R. carolina
(Bak.) Rehd., said to occur wild in the USA. But, whatever the status of the wild plants, the type of this variety seems to be nearer to R. virginiana
than to R. carolina
R palustris Marsh.
R. carolina L. (1762) and of many later authors, not L. (1753)
R. virginiana Du Roi, not Herrm. nor Mill.
R. corymbosa Ehrh.
R. pensylvanica Michx., not Wangenh.
R. hudsoniana Thory
Taller than R. carolina
, to about 6 ft. Stems with paired stout more or less curved prickles at the nodes, otherwise almost unarmed. A very marked difference between this species and R. carolina
lies in the very fine, close-toothing of the leaflets, the average number of teeth on each side being twenty-six according to Mrs Erlanson, against an average of twelve in R. carolina
and fourteen in R. virginiana
. Stipules as in R. carolina
, but more frequently inrolled into a tube. Flowers usually in corymbs, rarely solitary, with very numerous stamens, borne later than in R. carolina
(July and August).R. palustris
, as its name implies, is usually found in swampy places, but has much the same geographical distribution as R. carolina
. Like that species it spreads vigorously by suckers and does not need a wet soil in gardens.