There are several rose classification schemes used throughout the world. But the most popular system is that proposed by The American Rose Society (in cooperation with the World Federation of Roses). While the other systems are still in use, the majority of internationally established societies have adopted this one.
According to the American Rose Society, there are 3 main groupings of roses: the Species, Old Garden Roses, and Modern Roses.
This is the ancestor of every rose and are commonly referred to as “wild roses.” They are easy to identify. Usually they have 5 petals, bloom once a season, and are often thorny shrubs or climbers.
Several popular Species Roses are: Cherokee Roses, Dog Roses, Gallic Roses, French Roses, and Redleaf Roses.
Species Roses flourish in temperate climates, and can be found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Old Garden Roses
Unlike Species Roses, which existed millions of years before humans walked the earth, Old Garden Roses are a class identified as of 1867.
Most Old Garden Roses bloom once a season, usually at the start of summer. They grow in several shrub and vine sizes. Although colors can vary, this class are usually white or pastel in color. These “antique roses” are generally preferred for lawns and home gardening because they are easy to grow.
Some Old Garden Roses are: China, Tea, Moss, Damask, Bourbon, Hybrid Perpetual and Noisette roses. Many antique roses have a strong, sweet scent, which makes them very popular.
Old Garden Roses are the predecessors of Modern Roses. Any rose identified after 1867, is considered a Modern Rose. Very popular, This group is the result of crossbreeding the hybrid tea with the polyanthus (a variety of primrose).
The colors of Modern Roses are varied, rich and vibrant. Most roses in this class will flower repeatedly with the proper care. Perhaps that is why horticulturists find this class so attractive.
The most popular roses found in the class of Modern Roses are: the hybrid tea, floribunda, and grandiflora. Although Modern Roses are adored by florists and gardeners, they do require a little extra care, and do not adapt well to colder environments.
After a rose has been classified into 1 of the 3 main groupings, it can be further classified by color, scent, ancestry, date of introduction, growth habit, blooming characteristics and size. It is not always possible for horticulturists to classify every rose, especially the hybrid roses which can seem to be a grouping all their own.
But after a point, it is time to quit classifying and start growing. I think we have reached that point.
Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Visit www.grow-roses-now.com to learn more about this fascinating hobby.
Copyright 2005 Ron King.