Parks’ Yellow China vs. Knight’s Yellow Tea-scented

There was much confusion regarding the yellow China/Tea roses, compounded by a profusion of names that seem to have been applied without regard for any characteristics of the plants beyond flower color.

The text accompanying Redouté’s picture of Rosa Indica sulphurea states that the rose was imported from England. However, Pirolle’s description contradicts what Lindley (1826) wrote about Parks' rose in several important details. Furthermore, Loddiges (one of the sources for this rose mentioned by Pirolle) listed 'lutea' as a "variety" of 'odorata'.

As might be expected, the two authors did not report all the same characters. Nevertheless, there are enough points to show that two different varieties were being described.

Artist Hart Redouté
Description by Lindley Pirolle
Flower Very large, solitary, pale sulphur colour, quite double, very fragrant, not expanding much more than R. sulphurea; but under the influence of much heat, opening fully, when they measure four inches across. Two to three inches in diameter; petals four to five rows, more or less well disposed, slightly indented at the top, yellow-ocher outside before opening, and sulfur-yellow inside, but soon fading to sulfur-white when the flower opens; However, in the fall when the air is cooler, the flower keeps its first color well
Inflorescence Solitary Often three or more
Flower stalk Glandular Accompanied by unequal bracts
Fruit   Quite deciduous, globular purple-red from the sun at maturity
Leaflets Smooth, of a thin texture, and not shining, leaflets rather convex, and by no means veiny Elongated, acute at the top, sea green and shining above, less underneath and hairless on both sides; edges plain or slightly toothed and margined violet-purple
Stipules   Rather large, somewhat long and completed in short spikes and reflected from each side
Petiole Usually equipped with small prickles Covered with glands, among which a few little hooked prickles are intermixed
Receptacle Campanulate, and nearly smooth
Ovoid, compressed
Sepals Reflexed, quite simple, villous, and glandular at the edge. One simple, the others slightly pinnulated around the edges, but all terminated in almost linear leaflets.
Bark Branches when young are covered with many small glands. Smooth and dark green
  ... so entirely different from any other, that it may be considered an important addition to our collections Buist (1832): the shape of the flower is more like No. 8 [Rosa odorata, or Tea-rose] than any of the others.
Rivers (1837): The yellow Tea or yellow Chinese Rose ... has decidedly more of the habit and appearance of the Tea-scented Rose than of the Chinese: its smooth glossy leaves and faint odour of tea sufficiently show its affinity.

Henry (1902)
Rose gigantea, Collett, which was discovered in the Burmese Shan States, was also found by me in Yunnan. It is close to Rosa indica in technical characters; but it may be readily distinguished by the much larger flowers, which are always white. The sepals have not the curious appendages that occur in Rosa indica. In Rosa gigantea the leaves are often seven-foliolate, and the fruit is much larger than in the other species.

'Sulphurea Superba' vs. 'Yellow' (Flavescens, Lutescens, Lutea, Jaune)

Time line of yellow Chinese roses