Rosa villosa L.

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

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



  • R. pomifera J. Herrm., nom. illegit.
  • R. villosa var. pomifera (Herrm.) Desv.


Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Made up or consisting of two or more similar parts (e.g. a compound leaf is a leaf with several leaflets).
Bearing glands.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
Egg-shaped; broadest towards the stem.
Central axis of an inflorescence cone or pinnate leaf.
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.
(syn.) (botanical) An alternative or former name for a taxon usually considered to be invalid (often given in brackets). Synonyms arise when a taxon has been described more than once (the prior name usually being the one accepted as correct) or if an article of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has been contravened requiring the publishing of a new name. Developments in taxonomic thought may be reflected in an increasing list of synonyms as generic or specific concepts change over time.


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

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

A bush up to 8 ft in cultivation, of rather stiff habit, usually under 6 ft high in the wild, where it sometimes spreads by suckers and forms extensive stands; prickles scattered, slender, straight or slightly curved. Leaves 4 to 7 in. long; rachis glandular and downy. Leaflets five, seven or nine, 114 to 212 in. long, 34 to 112 in. wide, oval to oblong-ovate, bluish green above, hairy on both sides and often very densely furnished beneath with resin-scented glands, edged with compound-glandular teeth. Flowers solitary or in clusters of three, rarely more numerous, deep rosy pink, 112 to 212 in. across. Pedicels short, about as long as the receptacle, which, like the pedicels, is densely covered with glandular bristles. Sepals fleshy at the base, glandular on the back, long-tailed, not constricted at the base, with a few lateral appendages. Stylar aperture wide. Fruits dark red, more or less bristly, globose to pear-shaped, 1 to 112 in. long, surmounted by the erect sepals. Bot. Mag., t. 7241.

Native of central and southern Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus; long cultivated in the British Isles and occasionally escaping or occurring as a relic of former cultivation. It is a remarkable rose, and, when well grown, one of the most striking, especially in the fruits, which are dark red and very large – whence the old name ‘the apple-bearing rose’ (pomifera). The fruits were at one time used for making preserves and it was even specially planted to supply them for that purpose.


R. villosa L., in the first edition of Species Plantarum (1753) is founded on Haller’s ‘Rosa foliis utrinque villosis, fructu spinoso’ (Enum. Meth. Stirp. Helv. (1742), p. 350). As a synonym Linnaeus gives ‘Rosa sylvestris pomifera major’, taken from C. Bauhin’s Pinax (1623). The name R. pomifera J. Herrm. (Dissertatio (1762), p. 16) is superfluous and illegitimate, since he cites the Species Plantarum and Haller’s phrase-name, but ignores Linnaeus’ use of the epithet villosa, for which he substitutes pomifera. In his later works Linnaeus confused R. villosa with R. tomentosa and R. mollis, and for that reason some botanists have preferred the name R. pomifera J. Herrm., despite its illegitimacy.

R mollis Sm.

R. villosa of some authors
R. villosa var. mollis (Sm.) Crép.
R. villosa subsp. mollis (Sm.) Keller & Gams

This species agrees with R. villosa in all essential characters, but the leaflets are smaller, to about 1{1/2} in. long, the pedicels and receptacles less bristly and the fruits smaller (to about {7/8} in. long). Another point of distinction sometimes given is that the young stems have a pruinose bloom, which is said not to be the case in R. villosa.R. mollis has much the same distribution as R. villosa except that it extends farther north, reaching the British Isles, where it is commonest in Scotland. So far as gardens are concerned it is an inferior substitute for R. villosa.

R 'Wolley-Dod'

Near to R. villosa but probably a hybrid. The large, semi-double flowers are clear pink, beautifully set off by the grey-green leaves. The fruits are smaller than in R. villosa and less freely borne. It is figured in Willmott, The Genus Rosa, from a plant in the garden of the Rev. Wolley-Dod at Edge Hall, Cheshire.