The Gardeners’ Chronicle August 14, 1897
Rosa Wichuraiana

THERE are very few of the wild types of Rosa whose flowering time comes so late in the year as the end of July and the beginning of August, but of those few R. Wichuraiana is one. It is of very recent introduction, but the distinct character of its growth and the late date at which it blossoms, have already obtained for it considerable notice in this country, although not no much as in the United States, where it is already a popular shrub. It is a native of Japan, and reached this country by the way of the United States about five or six years ago. The two characters which more than any others distinguish this Rose are its procumbent habit, and the very lustrous dark green colour of its leaves, these being, indeed, so bright on both sides as to suggest their being coated with varnish. Each one consists of five, seven, or nine leaflets, which are oblong or elliptical, serrated, and from 1/2 to 1 inch long. The petiole bears a few short spines and bristles, and the stipules have their margins set with glandular teeth. On the strong, succulent, non-flowering shoots of the current year, the wood is armed with stout curved spines, but on the thinner-flowering shoots of the following year they are mostly arranged in pairs just beneath each node. The flowers are of the purest white, and the clusters appear just above the dense carpet of glossy leaves, which completely covers the soil. Each flower is upwards of 2 inches in diameter, the petals (normally five) often numbering six or seven under cultivation. This species should be given a rich soil, and, what is of equal or greater importance, the sunniest possible position. It is, no doubt, the intense and prolonged sunshine it receives in North America that causes it to flower so abundantly there. It is a plant of vigorous and luxuriant growth, and can be increased with the greatest ease by means of cuttings put in during the next two or three weeks. W.J.B.

Garden and Forest 4: 569-570 (Dec. 2, 1891)

New or Little-known Plants.
Rosa Wichuraiana.

 

* Bull. Bot. Soc. Roy. Belg., xxv., pt. ii., 189;
J. G. Jack, Garden And Forest, 4v., 44.

THE handsome Rose which is figured on page 569 was sent to the Arboretum by Mr. Louis Späth, of Berlin, in 1888 as Rosa bracteata, but when it flowered two years later it was found to be the Rosa Wichuraiana of Crepin,* a native of Japan, and previously confounded with Rosa Luciae of that country, and still earlier with Rosa sempervirens.

Rosa Wichuraiana is remarkable in producing slender prostrate stems, which grow ten to fifteen feet long in a single season, and cover the ground as with a dense mat; they are free of prickles and produce short, stout, straight or slightly recurved spines, and in moist ground develop rootlets freely. The leaves are three to nine-foliolate, with obovate or nearly orbicular blunt leaflets, which are sharply and coarsely serrate, glabrous, very dark green and lustrous, and from a third to two-thirds of an inch long. The stipules are adnate, usually conspicuously toothed, and vary from a third to half an inch in length. The flowers are produced here in great profusion from about the 8th to the end of the month of July, and during the remainder of the season appear irregularly and less abundantly; they are pure white, an inch and a half to two inches across, very fragrant, and are borne in short, broad, pyramidal, terminal, few or many-flowered clusters. The primary bracts are lanceolate, foliaceous, dentate and persistent. The pedicels are stout, an inch long, slightly glandular-hispid, and furnished with lanceolate, denticulate, rather persistent, bractlets. The flower-buds are a third of an inch long, ovoid and abruptly contracted into short points. The sepals are oval, contracted at the apex into rather rigid points, coated with pale pubescence on the inner surface and reflexed at maturity. The petals are broadly obovate, slightly emarginate at the apex, and sometimes rather remotely dentate towards the base. The stamens are bright golden-yellow and very conspicuous; and the column of styles is elongated, rather thick, and pubescent. The fruit is oval or obovate, dull red, and from a third to half an inch long. It matures here late in the season, producing good seed every year.

Rosa Wichuraiana has been used very largely during the last two years by the Park Department of the city of Boston, especially in Franklin Park, for covering rocky slopes, embankments and such spots as it was desirable to clothe quickly with verdure. It appears to be admirably suited for such purposes, and as it grows more rapidly than almost any other vine which has been tried in similar situations, soon making a dense mat over the ground, it seems destined to become a popular plant. Its remarkable habit, its hardiness, the brilliancy of its lustrous foliage, and the beauty of its flowers, which appear when most shrubs are out of bloom, certainly recommend it to the attention of the lovers of hardy plants. C. S. S.