Plant profile: Stanwell Perpetual

Our first roses are blooming. One that has never been prettier is Stanwell Perpetual.

Stanwell Perpetual in full bloom

Stanwell Perpetual is an unusual rose. It was supposedly discovered in 1838 as a seedling that resulted from a cross of a Scot Rose with an Autumn Damask Rose.

Scot Roses are cultivars of the dune or burnet rose Rosa spinosissima (syn. Rosa pimpinellifolia), a wild rose that grows on sandy soil in Asia and Europe, including Scotland. Burnet roses are characterized by very prickly stems (this is what “spinosissima” means). They also have leaves with 7 or more leaflets that resemble those of burnet (Sanguisorba species) or Pimpinella, the plant genus that brings us anise. This is what the famous taxonomist Linné had in mind, when he gave the Scot Rose its two scientific names (he initially thought that there were two species).

Stanwell Perpetual inherited these features from its Scotch parent. Count the leaflets on the picture below, there are often 9 of them. Also, the twigs are wickedly spiny.


There are at least seven leaflets. Photo: Hubert Steed)

A lot of thorns are typical for this rose

From its Damask parent, it got the ability to flower “perpetually”, not just once in spring. The old rosarians liked this feature and selected for it. Modern roses are almost all repeat-blooming, although the biggest bloom is still in May and June.

Look near the gate for Stanwell perpetual’s small light pink flowers that fade to white. Also, smell their delicious scent.

Stanwell Perpetual’s flowers are often light pink

Some other roses are blooming now, too, which means that our annual Rose Walk is coming up. We already placed labels on all roses and are updating the guide.