There are no active references in this article.
A scrambling or prostrate shrub; stems up to 20 ft long, armed with small, hooked, rarely straight, prickles, sometimes unarmed. Leaves persisting through the winter, with three to seven leaflets (commonly five on the flowering branchlets); these are rather thick, usually glossy on both sides, glabrous except for the sometimes hairy midrib beneath, elliptic to narrow-ovate, usually acuminate at the apex, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, the terminal leaflet usually distinctly longer than the upper laterals, edged with mostly twenty to thirty teeth, which are sometimes compound and glandular. Stipules glandular at the edge, not toothed. Flowers white, usually fragrant, borne in June (sometimes later) in round-topped or pyramidal panicles. Flower-buds broadly ovoid. Pedicels 1⁄2 to 31⁄2 in. long, they and the globose or ovoid receptacle usually clad with stalked glands. Sepals elliptic, commonly short-pointed and entire, glandular on the back. Styles more or less united in an exserted column, hairy. Fruits smooth or glandular, globose or ovoid, 3⁄8 to 5⁄8 in. long, devoid of sepals.
A native of S. Europe, extending in France to the Loire valley; and of N. Africa and Asiatic Turkey; long cultivated, though never frequent in British gardens. This species and R. arvensis are the European representatives of the section Synstylae and are closely related, so much so that in southern Europe, where R. arvensis is more variable than in Britain, the two species are sometimes difficult to tell apart. The most reliable differences are, according to Boulenger, that in R. sempervirens the leaves are usually persistent, the leaflets thicker and more lustrous, never hairy at the edge, with more numerous teeth (mostly twenty to thirty on each side on the largest leaflets, against ten to nineteen in R. arvensis), sepals glandular on the back, and the stylar column hairy.
R. sempervirens is of interest as the European counterpart of the Japanese R. wichuraiana, but is unlikely to be of any greater value in gardens than that species or R. multiflora. It has, however, made its contribution as a parent of some old hybrid ramblers, such as ‘Félicité et Perpétue’ and ‘Aimée Vibert’; see further in the second section. It is also a probable parent on one side of the Ayrshire roses, if the original Ayrshire rose was a hybrid between it and R. arvensis; see further under that species.