o How can I identify a found/unknown/mystery rose?

 


Image by: Cecilia

"While we always look with pleasure at the petals of a rose, frequently they are of the least importance in deciding where we are to classify our plant."                -- Mrs. Frederick L. Keays, from the 1938 American Rose Society Annual

Identifying roses isn't always easy. Some are very distinctive and a photo of the bloom alone will do. Others require more information, and some may never be reunited with their original names. It is helpful in such cases to assign a study name to your rose.

The list below suggests some of the information that might be helpful with the identification. In describing your rose, please include as much detail as possible and do include any distinctive characteristics the rose may have that aren't covered here. Do what you can with the photo suggestions that appear directly beneath the respective plant parts, given your photographic resources and access. Combine elements where convenient, and include a recognizable object for scale - a coin, ruler, etc.

STUDY NAME: These are always placed in double quotes, i.e. "Grandma's Pink Rose."

BUDS: shape (round, elongated), texture (smooth, mossy. If mossy, how fragrant is the moss?), shape of sepals (pointed, leaf-like)               *Photo: Side view, mature enough to show some color.

BLOOM: color (incl. reverse of petal), size, shape, petal count, petal shape, stamen and pistil color, fading or darkening of aging bloom                *Photo: Top view, side view, cluster view (if applicable)

FRAGRANCE: none, slight, medium, moderately strong, strong; describe the fragrance

BLOOM DISTRIBUTION: are blooms single or clustered

REPEAT BLOOM: none, one, a few, frequent

HIPS: shape, color, diameter, quantity               *Photo: Side view, ripe or unripe as the season permits

LEAVES: color (light, dark, med, matte or glossy), size, texture (smooth, leathery, rough, fuzzy). How many leaflets, any fragrance, any needle-like spines underneath, well or sparsely foliated?              *Photo: 2 leaves carefully pulled from stem with stipule intact, one face up, the other face down.

LEAFLETS: Shape, size. Are they fairly uniform in size? If not, describe how they vary. Are they closely or widely spaced along the midrib?

STIPULE: please describe using as much detail as possible - shape, size, color, any red striping, describe edges (plain, toothed, ragged, fringed, feathery)

THORNS: shape, size, color, many/few, straight/hooked, bristles, all the same or different sizes on the same cane, do they break off easily or are they strong?

CANES: color, slender and pliable, arching, stout and upright             *Photo: include a few thorns

GROWTH HABIT & FORM: height of plant, bush, shrub, climber, ground cover             *Photo: entire plant

VIGOR & HEALTH: slow or fast grower, any diseases?

HISTORY: Approximate age of plant - try to date the rose based on the age of objects in the surrounding environment, i.e., a cemetery headstone date, approximate age of any structure or development near which it was found, or developmental level of roadside (country backroad, freeway bypass, etc.) by which it was found. What is known about the history othis rose? A lot of these old roses have stories behind them - ask around! CONDITION OF PLANT: Has the rose been well-cared-for, neglected, or abused? What type of soil was it growing in, was it in full sun, part (or full) shade?

USDA zone

FAQ compiled by AndreaRose, Cecilia_MD7a, Wendy_in_SD, Sylvia, and Mosaic.

Entered by mosaic

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