Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener 37(967): 293 (Oct 9, 1879)
Chief-gardener, Botanic Garden at Bordeaux.
(Journal des Roses. 1877 p. 73)

NOW that Briars are becoming more and more scarce, and their prices rise accordingly, I deem it necessary to call the attention of horticulturists to a new Briar of very vigorous growth and easy to raise, which characteristics entitle it to be further known and brought into use.

It is of recent introduction, and indigenous to Japan; its flowers, which bear a certain resemblance to the common Briar, are nevertheless smaller and paler; they are single, sweet-scented, and grow in clusters of between thirty and forty, succeeded by obovate fruits about the size of the kernel of a cherry. M. Carrière, who gave a description of Rosa polyantha, Sieb. and Zucc., in the "Revue Horticole" of 1st July, 1876, states that this Rose forms sterile branches about 6 feet high. He also cites the result of some seedlings, some of which had rose-coloured flowers, others yellow, and in some cases they were double; others again had white, or rose and white, or yellow flowers. The Botanic Garden at Bordeaux received some seed from Japan in 1873, which directly upon their arrival were sown in light soil. Ten young plants of vigorous growth were the result. The second year their vigorous growth was even more apparent. Since that time repeated trials have proved conclusively that this Rose can with advantage be substituted for the common Briar as a stock.

Suppose you have a clump of Rosa polyantha. In November, after first cutting off all the shoots, which should be carefully laid aside, pull the clump to pieces, preserving If possible a heel to each bit, and if provided with a few rootlets so much the better; the strongest pieces are then planted out far enough apart to allow of their being trained as standards and budded the following summer. The smaller and misshaped pieces are next cut into needful lengths and planted as stocks for half-standards and dwarfs. Lastly, the branches and bits of wood, even to the smallest twigs, are made into cuttings, which root as easily as couch grass. These cuttings will the following season, and the year after that, make vigorous plants to form new plantations. The strongest roots found on dividing the plants can be potted, grafted, and placed on a hotbed, where they will speedily "take" and push vigorously. These grafts generally succeed in the proportion of 80 per cent.

The common Briar (Rosa canina, L.) roots but sparingly from cuttings, and takes a long time to raise from seed. I would therefore advise all interested in the cultivation of Roses to plant the Rosa polyantha, considering that a cutting of moderate sac will attain ample size to be budded the same season as a dwarf, or the year following as a standard or half-standard.

A German cultivator recommends Elizabeth Vigneron as an excellent Rose for forcing purposes, especially as standards on the Briar in pots.

Rosa polyantha Bibliography