American Gardening 22(315): 5-6 (Jan 5, 1901)
A Note on Harisson Yellow
Leonard Barron

ONE of the most interesting reports made before the recent International Conference of Rose Growers in Paris was that of Professor Allard, of the Maulevrie Arboretum, near Angers, who has experimented with seedlings of Harisson's Yellow Rose. This highly esteemed plant is variously described by rosarians as a species and as a garden hybrid. With marvelous unanimity the name is persistently misspelled with the double r instead of with one as it should be. The Rose was first known in the neighborhood of New York City about 1825, when it was distributed from Hogg’s nursery—hence one of its synonyms, Hogg's Yellow. This nursery was owned by the father of the famous Thomas Hogg, who has done so much for horticulture. Its origin is uncertain, and beyond the fact that it appeared in the garden of the Rev. Mr. Harisson, rector of Trinity Church, who had his garden in what was subsequently known as St. John's Park, and which is now the site of the freight depot of the New York Central Railroad. The spelling of Harisson is confirmed by the city directory of that time and also by the granddaughter of the originator, who until recently resided in Clinton Place, New York City, but since removed. One parent of this Rose is generally suspected to be the Persian Yellow. It is curious that Parsons in his book gives the Persian Yellow as the progeny of the Harisson Rose, but Buist, publishing in the same year, makes a pretty correct statement of the case and credits the parentage to the Yellow Austrian.

According to the report of Professor Allard, just referred to, he sowed a number of seeds obtained from the so-called Rosa Harrissoni, from which he obtained a large number of single flowered plants variously colored white, rose and yellow, and one of a semi-double character in which the flowers were of the same color and tone as those of Rosa lutea Miller. In all cases the growth resembled that of Rosa pimpinellifolia as regards prickles, leaf, and the purple black color of the fruit. The experimenter observes that Harisson's Rose while possessing many characteristics of pimpinellifolia has the flower characters of lutea and concludes that it is a hybrid of these two.

So far as American rosarians are concerned, the hybrid origin of the Harisson Rose has never been doubted. One parent was generally recognized, but there existed a doubt as to the other. This is by no means settled yet. It is very possible that the New York clergyman's garden at the beginning of the century should possess a plant of Rose pimpinellifolia. Mr. Harisson was a curio collector, but whether he was a hybridizer we do not know; possibly the Rose in question is a natural hybrid. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary the conclusion as presented at the Paris Conference may be worthy of acceptance.

In the course of the discussion caused by Mr. Allard's remarks, a number asked whether he had not observed that many Roses exhibited characteristics intermediate between gallica and canina. He replied "Yes. This is doubtless because the Province Rose was formerly cultivated in great quantity. In the neighborhood of Angers it has produced natural hybrids inclining sometimes to gallica, at others to canina. In this way, Rosa Boraeana, Beraud, a distinctly climbing Rose, was produced, and retains more of the characteristics of canina than of the Province. Other Roses which have never been described or named are found wild in the neighborhood of Anjou and show distinctly hybrid characteristics."

It is interesting to recall in this connection the possibility of the hybrid origin of many Roses which are now recognized as having specific rank. Undoubtedly hybridization takes place with great freedom in the family. Some of the Asiatic Roses are very likely hybrids. For instance, one exhibited at the last summer show of the American Rose Society by the New York Botanical Garden was sufficiently puzzling in this respect. The plant, while having distinct strong characteristics of the rugosa group, was fragrant and had other characteristics recalling the Province Rose, and yet it does not seem reasonable to suppose that the Manchurians should have hybridized these Roses ages ago. On the other hand, allowing this freedom of mixture, is it not equally remarkable that under cultivation more spontaneous hybrids do not appear to enrich our lists of garden roses?


CybeRose note: It is amusing that Barron corrected the error of the double r, while improperly doubling the s.