Slater's Crimson China (China) Called 'Yue Yue Hong' in China.

The Botanical Magazine vol. 7 (1794)

[ 284 ]
Rosa Semperflorens. Ever-blowing Rose.

Class and Order.

Generic Character.

Petala 5. Cal. urceolatus, 5-fidus, carnosus, collo coarctatus, demum baccatus, coloratus. Antrum duplicatum, 1-loculare, superne apertum, pericarpiis offeis intus nidulantibus.

Specific Charactcr.

ROSA semperflorens caule aculeato, foliis subternis, pedunculis subunifloris aculeato-hispidis, calycis laciniis integris.

We are induced to consider the rose here represented, as one of the most desirable plants in point of ornament ever introduced to this country; its flowers, large in proportion to the plant, are semi-double, and with great richness of colour unite a most delightful fragrance; they blossom during the whole of the year, more sparingly indeed in the winter months; the shrub itself is more hardy than most greenhouse plants, and will grow in so small a compass of earth, that it may be reared almost in a coffee cup; is kept with the least possible trouble, and propagated without difficulty by cuttings or suckers.

For this invaluable acquisition, our country is indebted to the late Gilbert Slater, Esq. of Knots-Green, near Laytonstone, whose untimely death every person must deplore, who is a friend to improvements in ornamental gardening: in procuring the rarer plants from abroad, more particularly from the East-Indies, Mr. Slater was indefatigable, nor was he less anxious to have them in the greatest perfection this country will admit; to gain this point there was no contrivance that ingenuity could suggest, no labour, no expence withheld; such exertions must soon have insured him the first collection of the plants of India: it is now about three years since he obtained this rose from China; as he readily imparted his most valuable acquisitions to those who were most likely to increase them, this plant soon became conspicuous in the collections of the principal Nurserymen near town, and in the course of a few years will, no doubt, decorate the window of every amateur.

The largest plants we have seen have not exceeded three feet, it may no doubt be trained to a much greater height; a variety of it much more robust, having usually several flowers on a footstalk, of a pale red colour, and semidouble also, has more lately been introduced, and as far as we can learn from the same source.

Roses; or a Monograph on the genus Rosa, vol 2 (1828)
Henry Charles Andrews

ROSA semperflorens.
Ever-blowing Rose.


ROSA, germinibus subrotundis, pedunculisque laeviter hispidis; floribus profunde rubris, semperflorentibus; petiolis aculeatis; foliolis oblongis, acuminatis, glabris; caule viridi, glabro, ad basin spinoso.


ROSA, with roundish seed-buds, and slightly hispid peduncles; flowers of a deep rich red colour, ever-blooming; petioles prickly; leaflets oblong, sharp-pointed, and smooth; stem green, smooth, and thorny towards the base.

THIS most beautiful species is perhaps the only one that could with any degree of propriety be termed an Ever-blooming Rose, the indica excepted, and which is by some supposed to be only a variety of the present plant; an idea probably resulting from the congeniality of their continual bloom: but admitting it to be only a pale variety of this dark Rose, there must be at least one or two intermediate varieties not yet imported, to smooth the gradual descent from its original; or otherwise the China Roses must be as distinct in their varieties as the generality of other Roses are in their species. It is a Rose of extreme latitude, particularly in the growth of its foliage. When cultivated in a pot, it is frequently not a fourth part of the size our figure represents; whilst on the contrary in the conservatory of G. Hibbert, esq. from whence our figure was made from a plant ten feet high, some of the foliage on the lower part of the plant was full three times the size we have delineated.

To the late G. Slater, esq. of Knots Green near Laytonstone, we are indebted for the introduction of this fine plant, in the year 1792.

Exotic Botany: Consisting of Coloured Figures, and Scientific Descriptions, t. 91, 1806
Sir James Edward Smith
ROSA semperflorens.

The double flowers have a faint sweet smell, at least in a warm room, resembling that of the Harebell.

The Cyclopaedia; Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences and Literature, Volume 31, page 14 (1819)

13. Scilla nutans; Hare-bell Squill or Wild Hyacinth ... "The flowers have a light sweet scent, more perceptible than in the preceding [S. campanulata], and resembling that of the Dark China Rose, Rosa semperflorens."

Paxton's Horticultural Register 4(47): 187-188 (May 1835)
Edited by James Main, A.L.S.

Mr. Slater, among several other Chinese plants which he introduced, is said to have introduced the Rosa semperflorens; but we have reason to believe that that was received through some other channel. The small red, scentless species, or variety, called by the Chinese, Cha-kune, was received by Mr. Slater in 1790, and flowered, for the first time, in his collection in 1791; but the R. semperflorens was not then among his imported plants.

Had that enthusiastic lover of plants, and excellent gentleman, lived till 1794, he would have been in possession of many Chinese plants, which he had for several years before been at great expense to obtain; as in that year he had a large consignment brought home for him; but his death caused them to be distributed in other quarters, the chief of them to the collection at Kew, and of that then ardent collector, George Hibbert, Esq., of Clapham.

Plant Syst Evol (2011) 297: 157–170.
Untangling the hybrid origin of the Chinese tea roses: Evidence from DNA sequences of single-copy nuclear and chloroplast genes
Jing Meng Marie Fougère-Danezan Li-Bing Zhang De-Zhu Li Ting-Shuang Yi

The possible hybrid origin of R. chinensis ‘Yue yuehong’

Rosa chinensis 'Yue yuehong' is an ancient cultivar of R. chinensis. This variety was introduced to England in 1789 and was named Slater's Crimson China (Krüssmann 1981,1982). This cultivar was first figured by Curtis (1794) and treated as R. chinensis var. semperflorens by Koehne (1893). One sample of this cultivar included in this study contains two types of sequences at GAPDH and ncpGS loci. One type of sequence clusters with R. chinensis var. spontanea and the three double-petaled varieties of R. odorata, and another type clusters with R. multiflora in GAPDH data and with R. luciae var. luciae in ncpGS data (with limited sampling). Moreover, the chloroplast haplotype of this cultivar is close to the R. chinensis var. spontanea haplotype. Molecular data thus support a possible hybrid origin of this cultivar. Rosa chinensis var. spontanea is probably the maternal parent of the first hybrid product because all the nuclear markers do not support the same paternal parent. This cultivar probably results from multiple hybridization events involving R. multiflora and R. luciae var. luciae. Rosa chinensis has been cultivated in China for more than 2,000 years and many cultivars have been bred (Fei et al. 2008). Wylie (1954) documented the origin of the cultivars bred in Europe but ignored the origin of the cultivars coming from China. He [sic] treated Slater's Crimson China as a direct derivation from R. chinensis. More samples are needed to clearly infer the origin of R. chinensis 'Yue yuehong' and other ancient R. chinensis cultivars.

CybeRose note: James Main was Slater's gardener, and knew as well as anyone what plants were in the collection. In 1792, Slater sent Main to China to collect more plants. By the time Main returned in 1794, Slater was dead. Main then went to work for Hibbert.

The passage in the Arboretum Britannicum (1838, vol 1, p. 83) mentioned above discussed imported plants.

From 1781 to 1790 ...
"Sir Joseph Banks, Hydrangea Hortensia, Magnolia conspicua, Paeonia Moutan, Rosa indica, Berberis siberica, and some vacciniums."

It also credits Slater with introducing Rosa semperflorens in 1789, but we have learned from Main that Slater had a different red China rose.

The History of Sumatra p. 106 (1811)
William Marsden
The buniga mawur (rosa semperflorens, Curtis, No. 284), is small, and of a deep crimson colour. Its scent is delicate, and by no means so rich as that yielded by roses of our climate.

Curtis's Botanical Magazine, vol. 42. t. 1762 (1815)
[Rosa semperflorens minima.]
Several varieties of the Rosa semperflorens, differing in size, colour, and scent, have, within these few years, found their way into the different collections about town, and have generally been represented as fresh importations from China; we believe, however, that most of them have been raised from seed here. Every experienced cultivator knows, that the varieties to be obtained in this way are endless.

The Universal Herbal, Or, Botanical, Medical, and Agricultural Dictionary vol 2. p. 484 (1824)
Thomas Green
38. Rosa Semperflorens; Deep-red China Rose. Fruits oblong, with the peduncles hispid; stems and petioles prickly, hispid; leaves subternate, prickly; flowers large in proportion to the plants, semi-double, with great richness of colour, (dark red) uniting a most delightful fragrance.—They come out in succession during the winter months.— Native of China.