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for June 8 - 14, 2010

Rosa moschata
This is the double musk rose (Rosa moschata f. plena).

The musk rose is a deciduous shrub rose typically growing up to 8' tall with a rounded, full habit, and smooth grayish-green leaves; its true origins are not fully known, but it has been found growing in a semi-wild state in Pakistan. It is widely adapted in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 10, and is relatively free of typical rose diseases in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. This species, including its double-flowered form as seen here, has been cultivated since at least the mid-sixteenth century in Europe, and for much longer in the Middle East for both ornament and medicine. It bears small-to-large clusters of 2" white flowers that begin opening later in the year than most roses, but it continues to bloom steadily until the end of autumn, which is unusual for a species rose. The stamens produce the unusual scent for which the rose is named. The musk fragrance is only reliably strong in the morning and fades quickly as the flowers mature, replaced by a gentler, though sweeter aroma that originates in the petals. Some of its unique qualities have lent themselves to some of the earliest cultivated hybrids, and it is a parent of historically important hybrid groups like the damask and the noisette. Thus, the musk rose is a direct ancestor of the majority of modern roses. You can see, and smell, the double musk rose in the Fragrance Garden inside the National Herb Garden.

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Last Updated   June 14, 2010 3:36 PM

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