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Common Name: Manipur Wild-Tea Rose
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: T.Kiya
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: T.Kiya
Illustration of the leaves and flowers
Photograph by: Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) and William Botting Helmsley (1843-1924)
Rosa gigantea is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 15.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.
E. Asia - S.W. China from Mengzi and Kunming west to Burma and Manipur.
Ravines and grassy hills, thickets and wood margins in W. Hupeh[
Succeeds in most soils[
], preferring a circumneutral soil and a sunny position[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes water-logged soils[
This species is not very hardy in Britain, tolerating only light frosts[
]. Another report says that some provenances might tolerate occasional lows to -10°c[
]. It succeeds outdoors only in the milder areas of the country[
] and is best grown against a south-facing wall[
Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[
]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[
]. Grows badly with boxwood[
Closely related to Rosa odorata, and considered to be no more than a subspecies of that plant by some botanists[
The edible fruit is sometimes sold in local markets in the Himalayas[
]. There is at least one named form, 'Belle Portugaise' has flowers 10 - 12cm across, the petals are rated very highly for their culinary uses[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The fruit can be very large for a rose, and can be up to the size of a small apple[
]. The fruit is up to 30mm in diameter[
], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds[
]. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards.
Petals - used as a flavouring in sorbets, confections etc. Very fragrant[
The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[
]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[
The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[
Seed. Rose seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[
]. One possible way to shorten this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 - 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 - 32°c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3°c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate[
]. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested 'green' (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[
]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months[
]. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5°c[
]. It may take 2 years to germinate[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if the plants are more than 25cm tall, otherwise grow on in a cold frame for the winter and plant out in late spring.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring[
]. High percentage[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 - 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame[
]. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed[
Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.
Layering. Takes 12 months[