Rosa multiflora (Species) - Also called R. polyantha.

May 16, 2010 - Lexington, KY

May 8, 2014 - Newport, TN - A pink-tinted selection

May 8, 2014 - Newport, TN - A pink-tinted selection

May 21, 2014 - Cosby, TN - An attractive selection with cupped flowers.

Garden and Forest
August 20, 1890. p. 404-406.

Rosa multiflora

THIS species is an old inhabitant of the Arnold Arboretum, where it was raised from seed sent by Max Leichtlin in 1874. It was first made known by Thunberg, who discovered it in Japan, and published the first description in his "Flora Japonica," printed in Leipsic in 1784. It has only been known, however, in a living state in recent years, the earliest description of it as a garden plant appearing in the Revue Horticole for 1876, where it is stated to have been introduced into France about 1862 by André Leroy of Anger, who obtained it from China.

Rosa multiflora* is a vigorous plant with stout branches eight or ten feet long, recurved above the middle, and forming a dense mass of brilliant foliage, which reaches, when the plant is abundantly nourished and allowed free room for full development, a breadth of twelve or fifteen feet. The branches are stout, more or less zigzag, glabrous, light green, destitute of prickles, and armed with stout, flattened, recurved spines. The leaves are six or seven inches long, unequally pinnate, with stout pubescent petioles and conspicuous, deeply cut, comb-like stipules. The leaflets are distinctly petiolulate, ovate or obovate, the apex often contracted into a slender point, and are conspicuously and sharply toothed above the middle; they are dark green and lustrous on the tipper surface, paler and slightly puberulous on the lower, especially along the stout midrib. The flowers are produced in axillary and terminal widely-branched corymbs, composing a pyramidal, rather one-sided, terminal panicle eight or ten inches long and four or five inches broad, the slender branches covered with scattered hairs. The flowers+ are an inch across when expanded, with ovate-lanceolate, entire, pointed sepals, pubescent on the outer surface, deciduous from the fruit, and half the length of the pure white obovate petals, which are deeply lobed at the apex. The ovaries are villose, the long, slender, exserted styles cohering into a column. The fruit is long-stalked, elliptical, a quarter to half an inch long, with obtusely-angled, slightly pilose stones.

Rosa multiflora is exceedingly free blooming, and toward the middle of June the plants are covered with the great clusters of Blackberry-like, sweetly fragrant flowers, in which the golden-colored anthers make a charming contrast with the snowy white petals. It is extremely hardy; it grows rapidly, and, where sufficient room can be found for it, it is altogether one of the most desirable shrubs that has been introduced into gardens for many years. It may be grown either as an isolated specimen on the lawn, or it may be planted on the margins of shrubberies or on rocky banks, for which purpose the pendulous habit of the branches admirably adapts it. It may be used, too, as a hedge plant in the manner that the Cherokee Rose is used in some parts of the southern states.

There are two forms of this plant in the Arboretum, the one which appears in our illustration, and a plant received from Europe as Rosa polyantha. This is less vigorous than the other form; the stems are shorter, the flowers are smaller, and appear about ten days earlier. The plants sometimes suffer in severe winters, and altogether it is the less beautiful and desirable plant of the two.

Rosa multiflora produces seed in the greatest profusion. This germinates readily; and plants may be raised also from cuttings or by layers.

The double-flowered form of Rosa multiflora was introduced into England as early as 1804 by Mr. Thomas Evans. It is known as the Bramble-flowered Rose, and is not rare in gardens, where many varieties have been cultivated at different times. The variety Platyphylla, which I do not know in any American garden, was described by Lindley who published a figure of it in the Botanical Register (t. 1372), and who called it the most beautiful of all climbing Roses. He noticed, however, that the stems suffer sometimes in winter unless protected.

The results obtained by European rosarians by crossing Rosa multiflora with different forms of Rosa Indica and of Rosa semperflorens are seen in the so-called Polyanthana Roses, which have of late years attracted considerable attention. These are not hardy here in the open ground, but Mr. Dawson has obtained a hybrid by crossing the Japanese species with various dark-colored Hybrid Perpetual Roses which is exceedingly promising. The plants obtained by these crosses are hardy, with good foliage, and produce clusters of small, dark-colored, highly-scented flowers. These experiments, although they have not been carried on during a sufficient period to be conclusive, are highly suggestive, and promise at least, a new race of hardy climbing Roses of peculiar beauty and interest.

C. S. S.