Rosa majalis J. Herrm.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Rosa majalis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2022-08-09.



  • R. spinosissima L. (1753), nom. confus .
  • R. cinnamomea L. (1759), not L. (1753)
  • R. fecundissima Muenchh.


Narrowing gradually to a point.
(pl. apices) Tip. apical At the apex.
With an unbroken margin.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
(botanical) Contained within another part or organ.
Enlarged end of a flower stalk that bears floral parts; (in some Podocarpaceae) fleshy structure bearing a seed formed by fusion of lowermost seed scales and peduncle.
(sect.) Subdivision of a genus.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rosa majalis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2022-08-09.

A strong-growing bush 6 to 9 ft high, spreading by suckers, stems erect, reddish brown, much branched near the top, with usually a pair of hooked prickles (sometimes a cluster) at the nodes, and others scattered on the stems, especially near the ground, where the armature may consist of needles and bristles. Leaflets usually five or seven, elliptic, oblong or obovate, obtuse, rounded or acuminate at the apex, usually narrowed to the base, 1 to 178 in. long, simply toothed, but the lower third or quarter entire, green or grey-green and sometimes downy above, greyish and more or less downy beneath. Stipules broad, those on vigorous shoots often rolled inwards. Flowers in May on often unarmed branchlets, solitary or few in a cluster, in various shades of pink, double in the type and often double or with extra petals on naturalised plants, about 2 in. across. Pedicels short, usually not more than twice as long as the receptacle, glabrous and smooth. Sepals entire, slightly expanded at the apex, woolly at the edge and sometimes with hairs on the back. Fruits globose or slightly elongated, red, 12 in. wide, crowned by the erect sepals.

R. majalis has its main distribution in northern Europe and Siberia, but occurs locally in Central Europe, often in wet habitats. It is an old inhabitant of gardens, cultivated in Britain since the 16th century. Double forms have always been commoner in gardens than the single, and it was on one of these that Herrmann founded the species, taking the epithet from the old vernacular name ‘May rose’. It was also known as R. veneta. The more familiar epithet cinnamomea probably refers to the colour of the stems, resembling that of stick-cinnamon, rather than to the fragrance of the flowers and certainly not to that of the leaves, for these are scentless.

R. majalis is the type of the large and amorphous section Cassiorhodon (Cinnamomeae); see further on page 42. Its closest counterpart in the New World is R. blanda (q.v.).

The following natives of N.E. Asia are closely allied to R. majalis and included in it by Boulenger: R. davurica Pall.; R. amblyotis C. A. Mey.; R. marretii Lévl. They differ from R. majalis in minor characters such as the darker, purplish brown stems and the presence of glands on the undersides of the leaflets.


The R. cinnamomea of the first edition of Linnaeus’ Species Plantarum (1753) is R. pendulina, and debars the use of this name for the species here described, to which Linnaeus transferred the name R. cinnamomea in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae (1759).