The Gardeners' Chronicle, 9(210): 22 (Jan 5, 1878)
Single Banksian Rose
E. O. Fenzi, Florence
A question was put some time ago in the Gardener's Chronicle, as to whether anything was known concerning the introduction of the single type of the Banksian Rose that had been remarked in a garden at La Mortola near Mentone. No answer having been made, I may suppose that little is known about this matter, and I venture to tell in a few words how single Banksian Roses have been obtained by Signor Baroni, head gardener of the old Botanic Garden dei Simplici in Florence. The following is an abstract of a paper that Signor Baroni has published, at my request in the Bulletino della R. Società Toscana di Orticultura [238-240]. It was in 1868 that Signor Baroni, remarking by chance in some double flowers of Banksian rose two or three stamens untransformed into petals, had an idea of taking away the petals in the centre of the flower to try if self-impregnation was possible. In the following October he had the pleasure of finding four fruits not bigger than a pea, and of a greenish yellow colour. Opening one of them, he found that one seed only filled all the cavity, and he took care to sow them at once. Three plants came up and grew quickly, notwithstanding having been cut down to the ground by frost in 1870 (strange to say, the double Banksians by their side were not affected), and the first flowers appeared in May, 1873, their umbels being composed of single flowers with five calycine segments, five petals, and a large number of stamens inserted in the calyx. One of the plants was yellow-flowered, the other two white. These three plants were shown in bloom at the International Exhibition of 1874 in Florence, and did not escape the remarks of many eminent botanists, who considered them to be a thing not seen before anywhere in Europe. In 1875 Signor Baroni planted two of the Roses in his garden, and they have grown since with great vigour, producing every year a certain quantity of seed. I may add, that it often happens in the neighbourhood of these plants that small Banksians come up in the open ground without any care. The single Banksian of La Mortola has had perhaps a similar origin. It is not likely that the single type has been introduced from China in recent years.