Trying to figure out rose classes

I’ve been trying to figure out how to classify a rose. By that I mean what is a Bourbon, Damask, Portland, English, etc?

It doesn’t seem that there is any place or book to get a definative answer. I know some can be classified by parentage, but what about the bush form, bloom or fragrance.

I’m trying to figure out my crosses for this Spring and trying to decide what I want to do and roses to buy. My head feels like it’s going to explode.

They seem largely cultural in definition.


The glossary on HMF does have descrptions of the different classes, although they’re not all that in depth. Any good rose book should cover the descriptions of the different classes pretty well. One I like is “Best Rose Guide: A Comprehensive Selection” by Phillips and Rix. It covers each class very well and the species roses also.



I agree with Paul in his recommendation of Best Rose. The intro pages are especially good, because there’s a photo of a rose ON A STEM WITH LEAVES, as well as a description. Once you’ve read it a coupld of times, then you need to take a field trip.

Janet Inada owns Rogue Valley Roses in the southern part of Oregon and she’s a great person who really loves roses. A visit to the collection of roses she sells would give you a memorable feel for the diversity of roses. Until you see Chinas and Teas growing side by side, it’s all just theory; once you see them- it becomes memorable. Janet can also tell you what open pollinates readily in her conditions.


Paul and Ann:

I tried ordering the book from Amazon today and my handy virus program immediately closed the page. I will try from another vendor.


I’m not real sure what you mean by cultural.


Jeff, by cultural I mean of variety of things.

  1. Introducer as a person/identity, time of introduction and the relation of the former two things two the current culture of the time.

  2. General culture of the plant itself in relation to other rose plants preceding it’s introduction.

  3. Whim and subjective perception, lol :slight_smile:

For example, a variety may be seen as one class in one era and yet entirely something different 100 years down the road. The multiple meanings of culture seem to play a huge part in what labels a rose receives. This whole issue only reminds me of the term cultivar.

I wish I could be more specific but describing the multitude of scenarios that can go into labeling rose varieties would be over lengthy. I hope you get the gist, though.


Got it. Thanks. Personally I like “whim and subjective perception.”