Journal of Horticulture, Cottage Gardener and Home Farmer 22: 349-350 (April 30, 1891)

Robert Hogg

The double Banksian is familiar to many admirers of the smaller varieties of Roses, but the single type is much less frequently seen, although its graceful habit should render it a favourite. No apology is therefore needed for the introduction of the appended woodcut (fig. 65) and notes. A correspondent at Stoke-on-Trent favoured us early in the present month with the following letter:—

"Enclosed please find three sprays of the single Banksian Rosa about which I wrote you a short time since, and I hope they will reach you in good condition. I may add that by the kindness of Messrs. Paul & Son of Cheshunt this Rose was identified at Kew some three or fours ago as the true single Banksian Rose, but since that time my plant has not flowered until now.—J. W. Dunn."

The specimens arrived fairly fresh, and from them our artist prepared a sketch reproduced in the engraving. Strangely enough the current issue of the "Botanical Magazine" gives a coloured plate and full historical account of this interesting Rose from the pen of Sir Joseph Hooker, and from this we take the liberty of making the following extract:—

"Under the description of Rosa multiflora I mentioned that I hoped soon to figure in this work another Rose that had long been known in cultivation, but only in late years in its single state, R. Banksise. Thanks to the Rev. Canon Ellacombe I am now able to do this; and though I have nothing absolutely novel to add to the history of this beautiful plant, I may accompany the figure with a brief resume of what has been recorded. Rosa Banksiae was first described in 1871 by B. Brown in Aiton's 'Hortus Kewensis,' where it is stated to have been introduced into England (presumably to Kew) from China in 1807 by Mr. William Kerr. It is not stated whether the plant was white or yellow flowered, nor whether single or double flowered. That it was however the white and double flowered is certain, for the next published account of it is in the volume for 1818 of the 'Bot. Mag.,' where it is represented (plate 1954) in this condition, the specimen having been obtained from Sir Joseph Banks' garden at Springrove, Isleworth (now the residence of Mr. Pears, the energetic manufacturer of soap). Though delicate, it at once became a favourite under the name of 'The Lady Banks' Rose,' or the 'Rose without a thorn,' the latter a hardly correct name. In 1819 it was figured in the 'Bot. Reg.' (plate 397) in the same white double condition, and from the same garden, where it had attained 20 feet in height or more, and with the remark that the single flowered variety had been found by Dr. Abel growing on the walls of Nankin.

"In 1820 Lindley's admirable 'Monograph of Roses' was published, in which the double white again appears as the only form known. In 1827 the double yellow is for the first time figured, and by Lindley in the volume of the 'Bot. Reg.' (plate 1105), with the observation that the first indication of its existence is to be found in a note (overlooked when elaborating the 'Monograph') in Roxburgh's 'Hortus Bengalensis,' where, under the name of R. inermis, both the double white and double yellow are alluded to with their Chinese names, as they were also in the Roxburghian MSS., preserved in the Banksian library. It was on discovering this, after the publication of the 'Monograph of Roses,' that the Royal Horticultural Society, of which Lindley was Secretary, directed Mr. John Damper Parks (who was being sent to China in 1823 by the Society) to obtain the yellow form, which he did, returning with it in 1824. Dr. Lindley describes it as, on the whole, a more desirable plant than the white variety, being more hardy, flowering more freely, and having deeper green leaves, but adds that it is less fragrant. The only other early notice of this plant is by Dr. Abel in his narrative of his travels in China, to which country he went as physician to Lord Macartney's embassy. Abel mentions it as R. Banksiana.

"Indigenous specimens of R. Banksiae are in the Kew Herbarium collected in the Ichang province on the Nan-t'o Mountains by Dr. Henry, and in Yun-nan, by the Abbe Delavay, also from Japan (Siebold). The single yellow form was sent to Kew by Mr. Hanbury, from his magnificent garden of the Palazzo Orengo, near Mentone, in 1871, and by Messrs. Paul & Son, from Cheshunt, in 1887. As stated above, the specimen figured is from Canon Ellacombe's garden at Bitton, near Bath, where it is quite hardy."

The flowers are of a yellow tint, somewhat like that popularly termed "old gold," the petals are deeply notched at the margin, but are rounded or cordate in form. The umbels contain six to twelve or more flowers on short slender peduncles, and are chiefly borne on lateral growths. The leaves are composed of pure narrow lanceolate bright green pinnae, and have an elegant appearance.

Rosa banksiae Biblio