Please help identify a rose

Hi everyone,

I have been struggling to help a friend identify a rose. Hopefully some of you familiar with old garden type roses can help. I took some pictures of it and have them here zlesak | Flickr

A virus was found in this rose and this virus has been found subsequently in some other roses. It was growing here in the Twin Cities. There is a stray bloom on it now, but it is typically a spring bloomer only. THe plant was growing in the greenhouse over the winter and put in the cooler for a bit before planted outside at my friend’s house that is working on his Ph.D. research with roses and viruses.

This rose suckers and is cane hardy and blooms on old wood. I wish I had good photos of some blooms that the Japanese beetles didn’t eat. It has generally paired prickles near where the leaves attach on the stems. I counted the chromosomes and it happens to be triploid.

It seems strange to have the light bristles all over the flower bud receptible and neck, but then abruptly stop below that on the main stem of the plant. It gets about 4-5 feet tall or so I think when somewhat mature. It is a double pink, but unfortunately the beetles got these flowers. The recepticles are kind of square which seems kind of different. The stipules are somewhat smooth.

Even if you can’t say what cultivar it is in particular, would someone have a rough idea of what class of rose it could be?

Thank you!!!



Wow, that is totally unlike anything I have ever encountered before. The receptacle shape reminds me of ‘Banshee’ a bit, but the rest of the features are nothing like that variety. I can’t even guess what class that might be, David. I’m going to guess that it is some kind of species hybrid, possibly involving one of the North American natives? The twinned thorns at the leaf axils remind me of R. nutkana.

In agreement with Paul about having Banshee pop into my mind as well. Those prickled receptacles just aren’t that common. The shape as well.

An odd thing- those prickles are almost R. laevigata like, which doesn’t fit your part of the world at all. Not roxburghii like.

The twinned thorns at the base of the leaves …when I read about it, I though R. multiflora platyphilla (Seven Sisters), but the thorns on yours are not at all multiflora like…more like Betty Bland or some of the Canadians.

Way out in left field: do you have access to a library copy of Hansen’s rose book that he did in the ? 20’s that’s one of the South Dakota pubs? There’s a huge list of described roses there that are lost.

That could be the double form of ruxburghii.

I have no expertise in identifying roses but when I looked at your pictures and description it looks very much like ‘Dr. Merkeley’ I had just taken cuttings yesterday to make my first attempt at propagating and the thorns on an otherwise smooth stem were very familiar. There are still a few blooms and even a few buds and the receptacles and the stem attached to it are bristly. Peter Harris examined it carefully when he was here a few weeks ago and could probably describe it better than I can. I also looked at my ‘Banshee’ which is just finishing blooming and the receptacles were smooth.

In the picture Peter too you can almost see the thorns. The bush is about 1m high but spread more than 1.5m

I liked that last suggestion so much that I went and cut this Dr Merkeley tonight for you consideration … looks close to my inexperienced eyes. I will put the leaf below in another post.

the whole cutting

It looks like a member of the Cinnamomeae in at least one way (mostly paired prickles below the leaves), and it might be Dr. Merkeley, but I don’t know that variety enough to say that it is or is not what David has posted the pictures of. The prickly receptacle and peduncle are close, as is the leaf. Riku’s pictures likewise look close. Perhaps some others who grow Dr. Merkeley can take a look at their plants and offer some discussion.


If it aids in ID and future discussion, the sourcing for mine is from Cornhill Nursery in New Brunswick, and it is 2 years in the garden. I’ll take a look at my labeled Foecundissima (European vendor labeling) and my R. cinnomomea plena (Cornhill) that are supposedly the same rose.

What is clear on the two versions and sources of “Foecundissima - R. cinnomomea plena” in my garden is there are no “random cane thorns”. On my versions the thorns are only located at the junction corner edge of the leaf to cane. Usually dual giving the appearance of being off set from each by 90 degrees. On my version of Dr Merkeley this is also honoured but with a frequent occurence of a third thorn displaced below the other two. This trait is quite consistent … I do not see this third thorn on the species.

… my hat off to Leo … what a great lead.

Wow, thank you everyone!!! Dr. Merkeley seems to be the likely identification from these pictures and knowing how hardy this rose supposedly is compared so some of the other good leads!!! I really appreciate everyone’s help.

Thanks again!!! My friend Dimitre is really thankful and impressed with the wealth of knowledge there is among rose lovers!!



Just one more bit of info triggered from your hardy comment and from a novice (myself), I find both my Foecundissima - R. cinnomomea plena suffer significant cane die back in my zone 3a garden … Dr Merkeley has not so far … right up along side of with what appears to be unrelated species crosses that produced Mrs John McNab and Wil Alderman. What ever happened naturally to produced Dr. Merkeley out of a R. cinnomomea plena - assuming that is a parent - worked for hardiness in my garden on the prairies.

Looks a bit like Rosa villosa var. duplex (R. pomifera)…