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A deciduous shrub of loose, spreading habit 6 to 12 ft high; young shoots glabrous, armed (often very strongly) with scattered, straight, or slightly curved spines. Leaves up to 6 in. or more long, composed of five to eleven (usually seven or nine) leaflets which are oval or ovate, pointed, simply toothed, 1⁄3 to 2 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1 in. wide, each pair increasing in size towards the end; dark green and glabrous above, rather glaucous and downy beneath, especially on the midrib and veins; rachis downy, sparsely spiny. Flowers bright rose-pink, 11⁄2 to 2 in. wide, produced during June and July in loose corymbs, each flower on a slender, downy, more or less glandular stalk 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Sepals 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, downy, often glandular, ovate at the base but prolonged into an enlarged often spoon-shaped apex. Receptacle glandular and more or less downy. Styles exserted. Fruits pendulous, scarlet-red, bottle-shaped, 3⁄4 in. long, narrowed at the top to a slender neck, above which are the persistent sepals. Bot. Mag., t. 8679.
Native of western and central China, and of S.E. Tibet; introduced by Wilson in 1903 and again in 1908. It is allied to R. macrophylla, but the flowers are usually more numerous in each inflorescence and smaller, the sepals are broad in the lower part and abruptly narrowed to a slender tip and, a difference given by Boulenger, the stylar aperture is narrower, being one-quarter to one-fifth the diameter of the disk, against one-third in R. macrophylla. R. davidii flowers rather later than most of the shrubby species. It is handsomest in autumn, when laden with its pendulous clusters of bright red fruits. As a vigorous shrub of spreading habit it is suitable for the semi-wild part of the garden.
Rosa species Lancaster 812 has flowered and seems to be R. davidii. The flowers in the better of the two seedlings seen are dog-rose pink paling to white at the centre (almost white in the other plant), up to twelve in a cluster. The seed was collected in 1981 in western Szechwan, on the Yiba Shan, west of Mount Omei (Emei Shan) between Yaan and Hanyuan at about 7,500 ft. The Wa Shan, where Wilson collected seeds for Messrs Veitch, is in the same area.