Rosa xanthina Lindl.

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

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



An elliptic solid.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Bearing glands.
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.
Folded backwards.
(of a leaf) Unlobed or undivided.


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

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

A shrub up to 12 ft high, with a uniform armature of straight or slightly curved prickles, which are abruptly or gradually narrowed from a broad base, and sometimes much flattened on sterile growths; in some forms the branches are sparsely armed. Leaflets five to thirteen, obovate, oval or almost orbicular, edged with simple, rather coarse teeth, upper surface glabrous or sometimes hairy, especially along the midrib, underside hairy, more rarely glabrous. Stipules narrow. Flowers usually solitary, bright yellow, about 112 in. wide, double in the typical form, borne in early June. Pedicels usually less than 1 in. long, smooth (more rarely glandular). Sepals glabrous or nearly so, to about 58 in. long. Styles hairy. Fruits globular to broadly ellipsoid, red or maroon, soon falling, crowned by the erect, spreading or reflexed sepals.

R. xanthina was described by Lindley in 1820 from a Chinese painting in Lambert’s library, and his description is so short that it can be quoted here: ‘A rose with all the appearance of R. spinosissima except in having no setae and double flowers the colour of R. sulphurea’. These words are quite enough to establish the species, since it is precisely the yellow flowers and the absence of bristles from the shoots that distinguishes R. xanthina from R. pimpinellifolia. There is the further difference that the fruits are black or dark purple in R. pimpinellifolia, red or brownish red in R. xanthina.

Typical R. xanthina, as portrayed in the Chinese painting, has double flowers and later proved to be a common garden plant in N. China and Korea. There is no record of its introduction to western gardens before 1907, when F. N. Meyer sent seeds to the Arnold Arboretum, collected near Peking, from which both double- and single-flowered plants were raised, which first flowered in 1915. It is uncommon in British gardens. The double-flowered rose distributed by Smith of Newry as early as 1915 under the name R. xanthina appears to have been a hybrid of R. spinosissima with double flowers.

f. spontanea Rehd.

R. xanthina f. normalis Rehd. & Wils., in part only
? R. platyacantha Schrenk

Flowers single. This is the normal state of the species, widely distributed in N. China and also a native of Korea. R. platyacantha from Central Asia appears to differ in no essential character from spontaneous R. xanthina. The first introduction to be recorded was in 1907, by F. N. Meyer to the USA (see above) and seeds were later sent by Purdom from Shensi and by the Belgian engineer Hers from Honan and Shansi. The rose known as ‘Canary Bird’, although sparsely armed except on strong growths, clearly belongs to R. xanthina f. spontanea and is the commonest representative of the species in gardens. It makes a fine arching shrub to about 5 ft high, bearing canary-yellow flowers about 2 in. wide in late May or early June but, like R. hugonis, is subject to die-back if grafted. It received an Award of Merit when exhibited by Messrs L. R. Russell in 1945, and an Award of Garden Merit in 1966.

var. ecae (Aitch.) Boulenger

See R. ecae.

var. kokanica (Reg.) Boulenger

See R. kokanica and R. primula, under R. ecae.