Rosa farreri (Species)

Journal of Botany: British and Foreign, 70: 18-19 (1932)

11. Rosa Farreri Stapf in Bot. Mag. t. 8877 (ined.), sp. nov.
"Farrer's Threepenny-bit Rose" Bowles in Gard. Chron. ser. 3, lxxxi. 147, fig. 70 (1927).

Rosa Farreri Stapf ex Cox, Plant Introd. Reg. Farrer, 49 (1930), nomen subnudum.

"Diagnosis: species nova R. graciliflorae Rehd. & Wils. affinis sed stipulis angustissimis in dentem brevem abeuntibus, sepalis tenuioribus apice vix foliaceis distincta: R. Willmottiae Hemsl., et R. elegantulae Rolfe similis sed spinis setiformibus, pedicellis ebracteatis atque, quoad priorem, multo longioribus et fructibus distincta." (Staph in Bot. Mag. t. 8877, ined.)

Forma persetosa inter formas hujus speciei ramulis omnibus tota longitudine copiose spinosis distinctissima, sed minime constans. R. Farreri etiam quoad florum colorem variat.

This striking rose came up in E. A. Bowles's garden among seedlings raised from hips collected by Farrer in southern Kansu, China. It differs from the other forms of this collecting in having all its stems and branches densely beset all along with fine bristly spines (in the others so far observed the upper part of the stem and of its branches is almost or quite spineless), and evidently represents a state in which the juvenile, extremely copiose spine-covering of the basal portion of the innovation-shoots has continued throughout all the later stages of the plant's growth. Other differences, such as the generally smaller size of the leaves, leaflets, and flowers and the richer salmon-pink colouring of the flowers, may be correlated with this.

Rosa Farreri is nearly allied to R. graciliflora Rehd. & Wils., but the latter is easily distinguished by its very broad stipules and somewhat longer and, at the tips, more foliaceous sepals.

Cult. Hort. E. A. Bowles, Myddelton House, Waltham Cross, England. Leg. W. T. Stearn, 29. vii. 1931. Det. O. Stapf.


Gardeners' Chronicle, Horticultural Trade Journal p. 237-238 (1933)
Farrer's Threepenny-Bit Rose
W. T. Stearn, Kew.

As there seems to be confusion in gardens between Rosa Farreri and other species introduced by Reginald Farrer from north-west China (Kansu), it may be useful to give here a more complete account than has hitherto been published. Farrer's seeds were gathered in the autumn of 1915 on the hills of southern Kansu and, although the Great War diverted attention to other things, his collecting has enriched European gardens with many plants of great merit. Among seedlings F. 84 or F. 774 (it is impossible now to ascertain which), raised by Mr. E. A. Bowles at Myddelton House, there was a Rose which even at an early stage of growth appeared different from the others and was kept apart. This plant has now become

*Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc., XLII, 106 (1916).

This Rose was determined by the late Dr. O. Stapf as representing a new species allied to the Rosa graciliflora of Rehder and Wilson, but differing in its narrow stipules and sepals. He named it Rosa Farreri. As such, or as " Farrer's Threepenny-bit Rose " — a nickname referring to its tiny but charming flowers — it has found its way into a number of gardens. Apparently Mr. Bowles was the only raiser of this particular plant; it is not present in Farrer's herbarium material. Subsequent comparison with the plants of F. 84 and F. 774 raised at the same time proved that they were also distinct from R. graciliflora (to which they were at first referred) in their stipules and sepals, and belonged to the same species (R. Farreri) as the "Threepenny-bit Rose," which must now be regarded as an abnormal form not characteristic of the wild species as a whole. These other plants have larger and paler flowers and their upper shoots are almost or quite devoid of prickles. They represent the common wild form of R. Farreri. Farrer's field notes describe this (F. 84) as "a dear little shrub, not uncommon in the cooler reaches approaching Wen Hsien [Kansu, about 33°N.,105°E.], and in all the lower alpine coppice of the Satanee region, exquisitely graceful in effect with its small fine foliage and enshrouded all over in May with a countless multitude of small charming apple-blossomy flowers of palest pearly white with a pinky flush."*

In Cox's Plant Introductions of Reginald Farrer these plants with pale flowers and unarmed upper shoots were erroneously referred to R. graciliflora, but the true R. graciliflora, collected by Wilson (No. 3583!) near Tachienlu in Szechwan, has larger stipules up to 2 cm. long and 4 mm. broad, with the free terminal part broadly ovate, as well as sepals up to 2-5 cm. long, with distinctly broadened tips (Fig. 112). When more material from the intervening region is available they may have to be considered varieties of one species; at present they seem distinct. The common pale-flowered forms of R. Farreri are quite pretty but for garden purposes not so attractive as the "Threepenny-bit Rose" with its deeper salmon flower and all its stems and branches so thickly beset with bristles. Dr. Stapf regarded this as an accidental state ("forma persetosa") of the species "in which the juvenile, extremely copiose spine covering of the basal portion of the innovation shoots has continued through all the later stages of the growth." The same happening has been observed in other Roses. Rosa Farreri is quite hardy and may be propagated by cutting.

A brief diagnosis of R. Farreri was published in the Schedae ad Sertum Cantabrigiense Exsiccatum No. 11 (1932), but to prevent further uncertainty as to the identity of the plant a more detailed description is given below.† A coloured plate may appear later in the Botanical Magazine. Farrer introduced several other Chinese Roses which need investigation, since it is doubtful if they have been identified correctly; whatever their names, they include some excellent garden plants.

1 and 2, Stipule of Rosa graciliflora (natural size);
3, stipules of R. Farreri (natural size);
4 and 5, R. Farreri, spiny form (natural size);
6, sepals of R. graciliflora (natural slze);
7 and 8, stipules of R. Farreri ( x 4).