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Howard Payne






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The Tea Rose

In 1830 the Blush Sweet-scented Chinese Rose, one of the many varieties of R. chinensis, was crossed with the Yellow Tea-scented Rose, R. odorata, to give us our first Tea Rose. The former had been taken to England in 1809, and had double pink flowers. The latter is, itself, almost certainly a descendant of R. chinensis, and had reached England in 1824. Thus the Tea Rose came from a crossing of jR. chinensis on to a descendant, or hybrid of the same species, and this species had already played a major part in the development of the Bourbon Rose and the Hybrid Perpetual.

The name Tea Rose may have been derived from an alleged resemblance in its perfume to that of tea, but it seems more probable that it was so named because both of the parent roses had been brought to England by the tea traders. The raising of the Tea Rose in England and, later, of the Hybrid Wichurai-anas in America are the only two great advances in rose history not made by Frenchmen. Our wild plant identification app will teach you to see difference between roses type.

By crossing a Hybrid Perpetual (Mme Victor Verdier) with a Tea Rose (Mme Brevy), in 1865, Pierre Guillot of Lyons produced the first rose to be classed as a Hybrid Tea, though for some years it was called a Hybrid Perpetual. He named the beautiful long, pointed new rose La France, and it is still to be found in a few gardens, though it has disappeared from almost all nurserymen's catalogues. It marked a tremendous improve­ment, and the beginning of the present-day type of rose.

Thus in the nineteenth century roses advanced from the species to the Hybrid Teas. Actually, it had all happened within about fifty years, and it was mainly due to the extensive use of R. chinensis in the hybridizing. The ever-blooming habit and the good form of its double types had been transmitted to the progeny, and the hybridists had carefully selected and re-selected their seedlings, aiming all the time at longer petals and more pointed formation. Though they were not produced in large numbers, the autumn blooms of the Hybrid Perpetual type had made the name seem appropriate at the time of their introduction, but it has since become very misleading, for the Hybrid Teas, which have succeeded them, bloom much more constantly.