This old rose is still grown and is one of the longest grown types of all the roses. Rosa gallica i.e. French rose, was first grown in cultivation in Europe around the 15th century. The species is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia. It was typically found in the gardens of monasteries during the Middle Ages and is sometimes called the apothecary rose due to its supposed medicinal qualities.

These roses are nice, compact shrubs of 2 to 4 feet in height. It is generally hardy and, if grown on its own roots and not grafted, may spread by underground runners. The fragrant flowers range in shades of deep red to pink and may be single, semi-double and double forms. They bloom once per season and are susceptible to powdery mildew.

This is the Red Rose that was used as a symbol by the Royal Lancaster Family in England. In the late 15th century, they fought the White Rose, York Family in the War of the Roses.

An early development with this species was its use in hybridizing. The group known as hybrid perpetuals were the result of cross breeding with this rose.

'Versicolor' is an old cultivar that has striped red and white double flowers. 'Officinalis' is a double flowered pink to red flower also known as the Apothecary Rose or Double French Rose.

 

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