Rosa moschata Herrm. This is the Musk rose Graham Thomas rescued from oblivion. It has been growing in England since the early 18th century, but its place of origin is unknown. There was another autumnal Musk rose, similar in all details except that it had glossy green leaves, that was cultivated in England in the 17th century. That one, sadly, seems to be extinct — or at least lost to cultivation. It is not clear which form was parent to the Noisettes. Pliny the Elder wrote of a similar variety in the 1st century that was used for crowns. And legend has it that Lady Niniane (the Lady of the Lake) brought a bouquet of roses to her adopted son, Sir Lancelot of the Lake, every day throughout the summer. He shared them with his cousins so they all could wear floral crowns. A form of R. moschata is the most probable source for those roses.

This one is fine! It starts blooming about the time the Gallicas are finishing, then continues as long as the weather is warm. In San Jose it is still blooming in December, with a delicious clove scent. On cool, cloudy days the flowers open pale yellow, but the color soon burns off as it is converted to perfume. Most of the fragrance is released by the stamens.

The rough, glaucous leaves resist mildew and aphids.It has been reported that the single-flowered variety will sport to a double form once the plant is well established and has had a chance to build. I haven't seen it happen on the specimen at the Heritage Rose Garden in San Jose, but I keep watching.

This, or a related form, is the original Damaschine or Moschette rose described by Mattiolus in the 16th century. DNA testing has confirmed that R. moschata was the seed parent of the pink-flowered Damasks.

June 21, 2009 - SJH

June 21, 2009 - SJH

September 8, 2007 - SJH

July 8, 2007 - SJH

October 26, 2005 - SJH

October 26, 2005 - SJH

September 26, 2000 - SJH