Chestnut Rose is also known as Chinquapin Rose and Burr Rose. It originated in China and was introduced from the Botanic Garden at Calcutta in 1824. It was named after William Roxburgh, assistant surgeon to the East India Co. who sent the rose to Calcutta Botanical Garden; from there it reached England and quickly traveled to America.
This rose was originally identified by Lindley in 1820 from a Chinese painting and was given the name R. microphylla, but the name was changed when it was found that another unrelated European rose had already been given that name. In China, it has been grown for generations and has been known as Hoi-tong-hong.
The Chestnut Rose is unique in many ways. The pink, lightly fragrant flowers open from mossy-looking buds irregularly throughout the growing season and are followed by bristly, globular hips that resemble chestnut burrs. The odd, pale brown bark of the branches, combined with leaves divided into many small leaflets (as many as 15), makes this rose a fascinating specimen plant, especially if allowed to reach its mature size.
The ‘Chestnut Rose’ is readily distinguished by its grayish-dark brown, exfoliating bark. During the winter, the plant seems entirely dead. However it is, in fact, all but indestructable, and is a great starter rose for timid gardeners. The calyx and hips are both covered with prickly spines that resemble the fruits of chestnut trees. The ‘Chestnut Rose’ foliage is dark green, rough, and relatively small while the hips are large and initially green, they orange-yellow as they ripen.
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