A Winged Dinosaur Soars In My GardenSaturday, May 11, 2013
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln
|Rosa sericea subsp. omeienses forma pteracantha|
Every year my Rosa ‘Blanc double de Coubert’ is usually the first to bloom. But that did not happen this year. Due to many years of growing in the shade (and growing taller and taller to get to the light) Blanc double de Coubert gave up the ghost. The first rose to bloom did so a week ago. It is Rosa sericea Lindl. subsp. omeiensis (Rolfe) A. V. Roberts forma pteracantha Franch
For short we usually call this unique rose Rosa sericea subsp. omeiensis forma pteracantha.
Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area
Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN)
GRIN Taxonomy for Plants
Taxon: Rosa sericea Lindl. subsp. omeiensis (Rolfe) A. V. Roberts forma pteracantha Franch.
Family: Rosaceae subfamily: Rosoideae tribe: Roseae.
Nomen number: 32167
Place of publication: Pl. delavay. 1:220. 1890
Name verified on: 09-Feb-2001 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 09-Feb-2001
Species priority site is: National Arboretum (NA).
Rosa sericea subsp. omeienses Forma pteracantha is most vigorous and if left alone it would spread in every direction. You do not want this to happen near pathways as she has the most vicious thorns around. Technically roses do not have thorns but prickles. Rosa sericea subsp. omeienses Forma pteracantha’s prickles are exceptionally beautiful. They are translucent and red and when grown where you get a backlight they shine blood red.
I like my Rosa sericea because it is a species rose. It is a rose in which man, and woman, have not tinkered with to “improve” it. I love it for its primitive nature. I have often wondered why botanist Giovanna Franchetti would have been involved in the naming of the rose as pteracantha. The name brings to mind primitive flying pterosaurs. All I could find is that the word pterosaur, has Greek roots, πτερόσαυρος, pterosauros, meaning winged lizard. What is winged about my Rosa sericea? Could those large prickles be like wings?
The names of plants and what these names can do to my imagination remind me of Emily Dickinson’s, “There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.”
I often wonder when I gaze upon the pale pink, almost white, Bourbon Rose, Madame Pierre Oger not only who Pierre Oger was but what do we know about his wife? There is nothing so I could go at length here on what I have invented about her! And there is that hosta, Hosta ‘Tokudama Flavocircinalis’. This hosta is not big. It is slow growing and I have had it in my garden at least 23 years, and yet, every time I notice its elegant variegation I think of a fierce and imposing Roman emperor that never was.
Going into my garden is venturing into a past that was and that was not.