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A shrub about 8 ft high, of vigorous suckering habit, armed with rather slender curved or straight prickles sometimes 1⁄2 in. long, pinkish when young, often reduced to bristles; year-old wood very dark. Leaflets five to nine, oval or obovate, more or less acute at the apex, rather coarsely toothed, glaucous green above, downy beneath. Flowers white, 2 in. across, produced singly or up to four on the peduncle, which is furnished with a downy, leaf-like glandular-margined bract at the base. Receptacle conspicuously covered with glandular bristles. Sepals entire, long-pointed, glanded like the receptacle, inner surface and margins downy. Fruits red, 3⁄4 in. long, rather pear-shaped, with sepals attached. Bot. Mag., t. 7770.
Native of Soviet Central Asia; discovered by the Russian traveller Fedtschenko and described in 1878. The description given above is of the cultivated form, as figured in the Botanical Magazine from a plant received from the nurseryman Tom Smith of Newry, Co. Down, towards the end of the last century; the same form was also acquired by Kew from Fröbel of Zurich. It differs from R. fedtschenkoana as described in the Flora of the Soviet Union in having slender prickles passing into bristles and acute leaflets downy beneath (against an armature of uniform stoutish prickles and obtuse leaflets glabrous beneath). But it agrees well enough in other respects, and may represent some unrecorded variant.
In a border of wild roses the cultivated R. fedtschenkoana is at once marked by its pale, glaucous foliage, and this feature, combined with the fairly large, white flowers and the tall, suckering habit, render it unmistakable. The flowers are produced over a long period from midsummer onwards. This rose is highly praised by Graham Thomas and portrayed on Plate II of his Shrub Roses of Today.