Knight's Animating / Bengale Animée (China) There were three varieties that were confused under the same name in the 19th century. The 'Mock Red Tea' was sometimes identified with 'Animating', and sometimes listed separately. The third, also called the "Blue Rose" of 'Coelistis', was suspiciously similar to Mr. Bluebird.

Rosa indica dichotoma - Bengale Animating, from Redoute's Les Roses, vol. 3.
Germinibus globosis glabris; pedunculis glanduloso-hispidis; petiolis villosulis cauleque aculeatis; fioribus cymosis (N.).

R. Indica dichotoma. THY. Prodr. groupe XXIV, page 130, spec. 52, var. X.



ROSIER qui monte jusqu'à deux pieds, même plus, lorsqu'on l'élève dans une serre tempérée. Ses rameaux, diffus et bifurqués, sont armés d'aiguillons inégaux, crochus, épars. Les feuilles se composent de cinq, quelquefois de sept folioles, les unes ovales, les autres pointues, vertes et luisantes en dessus, plus pales en dessous, finement dentées en scie. Le pétiole qui les supporte est légèrement tomenteux, muni de quelques petits aiguillons qui s'étendent jusque sur la nervure principale des folioles; à sa hase sont deux stipules étroites, denticulées et pointues au sommet. Les fleurs, odorantes, naissent plusieurs ensemble à l'extrémité des rameaux; elles sont portées par des pédoncules communs qui se divisent et se subdivisent, par bifurcation, en un grand nombre de pédicelles ou pédoncules partiels, suivant les règles de la dichotomie. Les pédoncules sont glabres, mais les pédicelles sont hispides-glanduleux. Le tube du calice est globuleux et glabre. Les divisions du limbe, munies à l'extérieur de petites glandes sessiles, sont tantôt simples, tantôt garnies de quelques pinnules. Corolle de plusieurs rangs de pétales d'un rose foncé, échancrés au sommet, ne s'ouvrant pas toujours très bien. Fruit d'un rouge tendre à la maturité.


Ce rosier nous vient d'Angleterre, où il est connu sous le nom de R. animating (rosier animé) c'est M. BOURSAULT qui l'a introduit en France, il y a plusieurs années. Ses fleurs répandent une odeur qui se rapproche de celle du R. Indica fragrans ou Bengale à odeur de thé. Il ne réussit bien, et ses pédoncules dicothomes ne se développent parfaitement que lorsqu'il est élevé en pleine terre de bruyère dans la serre tempérée. C'est pourquoi il est assez rare de le trouver dans son état naturel, sous ce rapport, dans les jardins où on le livre à la pleine terre. D'ailleurs il se cultive comme tous les rosiers de l'espèce, et se multiplie très facilement de boutures faites à l'ombre et sous châssis.


ROSE that goes up to two feet, even higher when the student is in a hothouse. Its branches, diffuse and bifurcated, are armed with prickles uneven, crooked, scattered. The leaves consist of five, sometimes seven leaflets, oval one, the other pointed, shiny green on top, paler beneath, finely serrate. Petiole which supports slightly tomentose, armed with a few small spines which extend on the midrib of the leaflets, and at its base are two stipules narrow, serrated, pointed at the top. Flowers, fragrant, born several together at the ends of branches and are carried by common stems that divide and subdivide, by bifurcation, a large number of stalks or peduncles partial, according to the rules of the dichotomy. The stems are smooth, but the pedicels glandular-hispid. The calyx tube is bulging and hairless. Divisions of the lamina, provided on the outside of small sessile glands are sometimes simple, sometimes topped with some pinnae. Corolla with several rows of petals of a dark pink, notched at the top, do not open always fine. A soft red fruit to maturity.


*However, Vibert's Noisette odeur de Bengale animating (1826) suggests that there was something more to the scent than Tea. Possibly a bit of the "harebell" perfume of the Dark China Rose.

This rose comes from England, where it is known under the name of R. animating (animated roses) is Mr. BOURSAULT who introduced it in France, there several years. The flowers emit a smell that is similar to that of R. Indica fragrans or Bengal smell of tea.* It does not do well, and its dichotomous stalks do not grow well when it is raised in full peaty soil in the hothouse. That is why it is rather rare to find it in its natural state, in this respect, in the gardens where it is delivered to the open ground. Besides, it is grown as all roses here, and multiplies very easily from cuttings made in the shade and under glass.

Adorable little China with nicely formed flowers. The plant is about the size of the crimson Chinas. This might be Buist's 'Animated', but that variety's flowers closed at night.

Sept 14, 2003 - SJH

Sept 14, 2003 - SJH

H. C. Andrews: Roses; or, A monograph on the Genus Rosa, vol 2: 65-66 (1828)
The purple variety is said to have been first imported from China about the year 1810, to the gardens of Lord Milford, under the appellation of the Blue Rose; and as such many of them were sold at a guinea each, although the plant had not then flowered: such is the fascinating force of novelty, which even in embryo has the power to charm. This rose of expectation, when its blooms unfolded, no heavenly blue disclosed, but a red purple, which as it faded off became much paler, less brilliant, but of a bluer or colder purple, which gives to the fresh opened blossoms a very different appearance contrasted with those retiring; and although the blue’s celestial tint is wanting, it is nevertheless a graceful and very abundant flowering Rose. Our figure was made from plants in the nursery of Messrs. Colville.
[Andrews' picture of Rosa indica purpurea agrees with Rivers' and Trattinnick's descriptions, but not with the others. Compare with Mr. Bluebird.]

Animating (China) / Bengale Animée

François Cels: Catalogue des arbres, arbustes, et autre plantes de serre chaude, etc. (1817) p. 33
ROSA bengal anenating

Journal of a Horticultural Tour Through Some Parts of Flanders, Holland and the North of France in the Autumn of 1817. - Page 453 (1823)
Patrick Neill
We could not help remarking, that many of M. Boursault's rarest and finest plants had been imported from the English capital. The red sweet-scented China-rose (or Knight's animated, which is distinct from the blush sweet-scented), was still covered with flowers.

Rosacearum monographia, Volume 1 (1823) p. 55
By Leopold Trattinnick
dichotoma: pedunculi dichotomy. Vulgo: R. Animating, Bengale animée, Bengale dichotome. An hujus loci R. ind. Purpurea Andr. Ros. Fasc. 29. Anglis vulgo: Blue Rose?

A short treatise on horticulture: embracing descriptions of a ... - Page 146 (1828)
William Prince
Knight's Animating is another very sweet scented variety.

American Flower-garden Directory: Containing Practical Directions ... - Page 182 (1832)
Hibbert & Buist (Philadelphia, Pa.), Robert Buist
No. 2. *Rose Animated, daily, is a very fine rose, and its merits are appreciated by those who have it in their collections. It is more double, and better formed than No. 1 [Rosa indica, common China or daily], and partakes of the fragrance of No. 8 [Rosa odorata], is perfectly hardy, colour a fine blush, grows freely, and flowers abundantly; and is coming into great repute.
*Those marked thus * we have grown from seed.

Floricultural Cabinet 3: 270 (Dec 1835) 305
T. Rivers Jr.: China roses
Animating - purplish red - cupped and small