Famous Rose types
(Old Roses and other Rose Classics)
'Président de Sèze' (1836), a rose of a unique color mix of magenta and lilac with paler edges, 'Tuscany Superb' (1848)

Damask Roses
One of the smallest groups of Old Roses. It is said to have been brought back from Persia by Robert de Brie, somewhere around 1260. There are two groups of Damasks: the Summer Damask, flowering once in summer, and the Autumn Damask, which has a second flowering in autumn.
The 'Autumn Damask', or 'Quatre Saison' as it was originally known in France) was the first rose in Europe to produce two crops of flowers every Summer.

Some of the best Damask Roses:
Celsiana (before 1832): a typical Damask Rose
Isaphan (before 1832)
Madame Hardy (1832): one of the classic Old Roses. Hardy, who was in charge of Empress Josephine's renowned rose collection at Malmaison, named this rose after his wife.
La Ville de Bruxelles (1849)
Omar Khayyam (1893): a rose that was first raised from seed from a rose on Omar Khayyam's grave at Nashipur in Persia. It was planted on the poet Edward Fitzgerald's grave at Boulge, Suffolk in 1893.

Albas (White Roses)
A very old rose of uncertain origin and parentage. They are similar to, though more refined than R. canina. Start to flower in mid- to late June. The dozen or so varieties in this group are all quite different from the other ancient roses. Their growth is generally larger, reason why they were formerly known as Tree roses. It is generally agreed that they are the result of a natural hybridization between the Damask rose and Rosa canina. Their flowers are white, blush and pink in color and their foliage grey-green. Despite their delicate appearance they are tough plants which will grow well even under difficult conditions.

Some of the best Alba Roses:

'Madame Legras de St. Germain', one of the most perfest of the Old Roses.
'Queen of Denmark' (Königin von Denmark) (1826), an unusual Alba rose because of its smaller flowers and richer pink color.
'Madame Plantier'
'Maiden's Blush' (15th century or earlier). In France known as 'Cuisse de Numphe'. The name 'Cuisse the Nymphe émue' refers to the deeper colored clones of this variety.
'Blanche de Belgique' (1817)
'Maxima' (15th century or earlier)

Centifolias (Provence Roses)
Over 200 varieties of Centifolias were introduced by the Dutch between 1580 and 1710. Roses in this group are prone to mildew.

Moss Roses
The first Moss rose apparently was the result of a sport from a Centifolia at the beginning of the 1700's.

Some of the best Moss roses:

'Mme Louis Levêque' (1898), 'Général Kléber' (1856),
'Goethe' (1911), the only true single Moss available today

Chinas and their Hybrids
Descended from the old Chinese garden varieties, the R. chinensis first emerged in Holland in 1781 and was named 'Parson's Pink China' (now known as: 'Old Blush). Modern rose varieties owe the remontancy factor (repeat blooming, free flowering) to this group.

Some of the best Chinas:
'Cramoisi Supérieur' (1832), 'Comtesse de Cayla' (1902), 'Fabvier' (1832), 'Cécile Brünner' (1881), 'Mme Laurette Messimy' (1187), 'Old Blush' (1789), also known as 'Parson's Pink'.
Further Reading:
Classic Roses by Peter Beales
The English Roses: Class Favorites and new selections by David Austin
In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher
David Austin's English Roses: Glorious New Roses for American Gardens  by David Austin and Clay Perry
100 Old Roses for the American Garden by Clair G. Martin
Best Rose Guide: A Comprehensive Selection by Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix
Unless otherwise specified photos on this page © Alessandro Carocci Buzi and Lilly's Rose Garden.
Bourbon Roses
Roses which emerged from the cohabitation of the old China rose 'Parson's Pink' with the Damask 'Quatre Saisons' on the Ile de Bourbon (now renamed Ile de la Réunion) in the southern Indian Ocean. It was the head gardener to the Duc d'Orléans, M. Jacques, who named the first one 'Bourbon rose'.

Some of the best Bourbon Roses:

'Honorine de Brabant': striped rose
'Madame Pierre Oger' (1878)
Bourbon Rose
Madame Pierre Oger
'Souvenir de la Malmaison' (1843): probably one of the best Bourbon Rose.

Portland roses were named after Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland. They stem from a hybrid between an Autumn Damask and R. gallica 'Officinalis', known since 1792.

Some of the best Portland roses:

'Comte de Chambord' (1860)
'Jacques Cartier' (1868)
'Indigo' (1830)
'James Veitch' (1865)

Hybrid Perpetuals
From the thousand varieties of Hybrid Perpetual raised in the latter part of the 1800's only a hundred survive today. Their ancestors were the Portland X China Hybrid (1816) crossed with both Hybrid Chinas (Gallica X China crosses) and Bourbons.

Some of the best Hybrid Perpetual roses:

'Baron Girod de l'Ain' (1897)
'Baroness Rothschild' (1868)
'Reine des Violettes' (1860), a purple Hybrid Perpetual rose
'Ferdinand Pichard' (1921), a striped Hybrid Perspetual rose

This type of rose developped from a hybrid between R. moschata and 'Parson's Pink China made by Champneys in 1802 in South Carolina and named 'Champneys' Pink Cluster'.

Some of the best Noisette roses:

'Mme Alfred Carrière' (1879)
'Lamarque' (1830)

English Roses
Strictly speaking these are not ancient roses, but they are considered classics by most rosarians, and so deserve their place in this list.

Some of the best English Roses:

'Emily', one of the most beautiful and frangant of all English Roses,
'L.D. Braithwaite' (1988), 'The Countryman' (1987), 'Bibi Maizoon' (1989),  'Claire Rose' (1986), 'Country Living' (1991),
'Charles Rennie Mackintosh' (1988), an English rose with lilac old rose flowers.
Hybrid Musks
The same remark we made for the English Roses, goes for the Hybrid Musks. Hybrid Musks came on the market in 1913 as 'Pemberton Roses'. At first they were either 'Moonlight', with semi-double white flowers or 'Danaë' with smallish flowers of soft primrose-yellow, which both flowered throughout the summer. Their scent can be traced directly back through the Noisettes to R. moschata, hence their name.
Some of the most famous Hybrid Musks are (in alphabetical order):
'Ballerina' (Bentall, 1937), not a typical Hybrid Musk, but a beautiful rose
'Belinda' (1936),
'Buff Beauty'
'Francesca' (1928),
'Lavender Lassie' (1960),
'Nur Mahal' (1923), one of the few red Hybrid Musks
'Penelope' (Pemberton, 1924) one of the best Hybrid Musks
'Prosperity' (1919)

Seedlings or hybrids of R. rugosa, a very hardy species from northern Japan, China, Korea and Siberia.

Some of the best Rugosa roses and their hybrids:

'Blanc Double de Coubert' (1892), a superb rugosa with pure white flowers exuding an excellent perfume;
'Rosearie de l'Hay' (1901), one of the best and most popular of all Rugosa hybrids;
Sarah Van Fleet' (1926), one of the most reliable of the Rugosa Hybrids, which seldom sets fruits;
Max Graf' (1919), one of the best roses for ground-covering.

Read more about Rugosa roses

Teas and Hybrid Teas
Teas were very popular in the latter half of the 19th century, while hybrid Teas, together with the Floribundas, are the most common roses of the twentieth century. They arose from crosses between Teas and Hybrid Perpetuals, combining the elegance and perpetual flowering of the Teas, with the robustness and free flowering of the Hybrid Perpetuals. Teas are classified as Old Garden Roses, while Hybrid Teas are Modern Roses.

Some of the most beautiful and historic Teas:

'Archiduc Joseph' (1872), 'Duchess de Brabant' (1857), 'Gloire de Dijon' (1853), 'Parks Yellox Tea-scented China' (1824), said to be the original Tea Rose.

As for the Hybrid Teas, we will detail this group on the Modern Rosespage.

See also: historic and collector's roses
Hybrid Musk
Lavander Lassie
1959, Kordes
Gallica Roses
(French Roses)
A very old race of rose which some date form the mid-twelfth century. The original Gallica rose, 'Rosa Mundi', a striped rose R. Gallica versicolor , supposedly first appeared as a sporting of the R. Gallica Officinalis. Given its very ancient ancestry we can never be sure that the specimens we call Gallicas today are indeed of these very old species.
Qualitatively and quantitatively one of the best flowering old roses.

Some of the best Gallica Roses:

'Camaïeux' (1830), 'Duc de Guiche' (1835), 'Cardinal de Richelieu' (1840), 'Charles de Mills' (ancient, but uncertain origin),
Gallica Rose
'Camaïeux' (1830)
Classic Roses by Peter Beales
Classic Roses
by Peter Beales
More information:
Lilly's Rose Garden - Ideas for planning and designing your Rose Garden
The Rose in Literature
Botany of Roses
Roses around the World
In Search of Lost Rose
byTthomas Christopher

More information:
In Search of Lost Roses
100 Old Roses For The American Garden
(Smith & Hawken)
by Clair G. Martin

More information:
100 Old Roses for the American Garden
Recommended Reading