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A suckering shrub of variable habit, averaging 2 to 4 ft high, but occasionally reaching 10 ft and sometimes very dwarf; stems and branches usually reddish brown, often almost unarmed, prickles when present slender; sometimes the stems and even the branchlets are quite densely furnished with needles and/or bristles (see cv. ‘Malyi’). Leaves 2 to 6 in. long, with mostly seven or nine leaflets; rachis glabrous or downy, usually glandular. Leaflets variable in shape, mostly elliptic to broadly so, and acute at the apex, glabrous above, under-surface glandular or not, sometimes downy, teeth simple or compound, often glandular. Stipules more or less glandular, the adnate part commonly widening upwards, more rarely parallel sided. Flowers solitary or in twos or threes, deep pink or purplish pink, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. wide, opening in May. Pedicels and receptacle smooth or clad with turpentine-scented glandular bristles. Sepals usually entire, more or less expanded at the apex, smooth or glandular on the back, variable in length. Stigmas hairy. Fruits red, flagon-shaped to roundish, usually constricted at the apex, smooth or bristly, often pendulous, up to 11⁄4 in. long, crowned by the persistent sepals. Bot. Mag., t. 6724.
Native of southern and central Europe, ascending in the Alps to almost 8,000 ft; cultivated since the 17th century. It is a rose of great interest to many because of its unarmed condition, and is sometimes known as the ‘rose without a thorn’, though this name was given originally to R. × francofurtana. Often the only prickles are a few weak ones at the base of the branchlets. It has fine foliage, and is also very handsome in fruit, the heps often being large, highly coloured, and flask-shaped, as in R. moyesii and often in R. macrophylla, to both of which it is closely allied. Another point of similarity to R. macrophylla is that the pedicels, receptacles and sepals are often tinged with vinous red.
R. pendulina is a very variable species, but the variations are quite uncorrelated and several of the numerous varieties that have been named can be seen in a single stand. Three were once found on a single plant. The plate in the Botanical Magazine represents a dwarf plant with glandular pedicels, in this respect resembling the type of R. pyrenaica Gouan from the E. Pyrenees, but forms with glandular pedicels are not confined to the Pyrenees, nor necessarily dwarf.
R. alpina L.; R. cinnamomea L. (1753) (see R. majalis, footnote); R. pyrenaica Gouan; R. pendulina f. pyrenaica (Gouan) R. Keller
R. alpina var. turbinata Desv
R. alpina var. oxyodon (Boiss.) Boulenger
R. spinulifolia dematrana Thory
R. vestita Godet