The Rose Book, p. 234 1974
Shirley Hibberd

Communicated to the author by M. JEAN SISLEY, of Lyons, after having perused the first Chapter of this work.

I regret that you have overlooked an extremely interesting type: Rosa polyantha. This was imported from Japan about ten years ago by Mr. Robert Fortune.* It is distinguished from every other type by its panicled blooms. It is the only section exhibiting this peculiarity, which it would be interesting to find reproduced in other sections of the genus Rosa. From its seeds, which have been sown during the last three or four years, some remarkable varieties have been obtained, which, no doubt, will soon be sent out; but in these the panicled flowers are not reproduced. I imagine this is owing to the type with single flowers, which seeds abundantly, having been cross-fertilized through insect agency, and thus the characters of certain garden varieties have been imparted to the offspring. It appears not to have crossed any of the other types with its own pollen. In a bed I made two years ago with the seed in question (without practising artificial fertilization) I found pure eglantines. I would therefore recommend rosarians to try artificial fertilization on the other types, as, if we could get tea-scented Bourbons, and perpetual hybrids with flowers in panicles, we should change the whole aspect of the rose garden, and in a most interesting way modify the rose genus.

*Through M. Sisley's kindness R. polyantha is now in my possession. — S. H.

Rosa polyantha Bibliography