The origin of this taxon is somewhat confused. The Flora of China[
] treats it as a species of cultivated origin, but with three vars of wild origin in China - var. gigantea (Crép.) Rehder & E.H.Wilson; var. pseudoindica (Lindl.) Rehder; and var. erubescens (Focke) T.T.Yu & T.C.Ku.
Plants of the World online (http://plantsoftheworldonline.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:733521-1) treats it as a wild species with one var (erubescens).
The US National Plant Germplasm System treats it as a hybrid species of garden origin with no vars, (https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=32120) but gives one of the vars specific status as Rosa gigantea Collett ex Crép. (https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=5357).
Rosa chinensis pseudoindica (Lindl.) E.Willm.
Rosa gechouitangensis H.Lév.
Rosa indica odorata Andrews
Rosa odoratissima Sweet ex Lindl.
Rosa oulengensis H.Lév.
Rosa pseudoindica Lindl.
Rosa thea Savi
Rosa tongtchouanensis H.Lév.
Common Name: Tea Rose
Rosa odorata is a prickly, evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub with scrambling to climbing, branched stems that can grow 6 metres or more long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine - the fruits being sold in local marhets in India. It has a long history of cultivation for its fruits in China and India[
], and is commonly grown as an ornamental, where it is valued especially for its very fragrant flowers.
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.
A hybrid species of garden origin, Rosa chinensis x Rosa gigantea.
Not known in the wild.
Rosa odorata is a very cold-hardy plant, being able to tolerate dhort periods with temperatures down to around -10 to -15°c when fully dormant[
Most Rosa species require a sunny position if they are to flourish and flower well. They prefer a circumneutral pH, succeeding in a range of soil texturess so long as they are moist but well-drained[
Rose species will often hybridize freely with other members of the genus[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked.[
]. 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.
The seed of roses is generally a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground into a powder 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[
Rose species in general grow well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[
]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[
]. Roses often grow badly with boxwood[
An extract of the whole plant is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an astringent and humectant[
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 reduce 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 can 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[