Rose Flower Species Names

There are hundreds of species of rose that grow wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere and many are fragrant and ornamental, qualities that brought them into cultivation more than 2,000 years ago. Flowers are usually single, covering the plant in one flush of bloom in early summer. Species cross so easily that many natural hybrids have occurred, both in gardens and in the wild.

Rosa gallica--French Rose, Gallic Rose

Probably the earliest cultivated in Europe, this is exceptionally fragrant and was used in medicinal preparations during the Middle Ages.

Rosa eglanteria--Sweetbriar or Eglantine Rose

The small pink flowers are nicely scented, but the real surprise is the apple-scented foliage. A large shrub and easy to grow.

Rosa foetida--Austrian Yellow or Austrian Briar

A yellow rose most often seen as the variety 'Austrian Cooper' with flame-colored flowers.

Rosa moschata--Musk Rose

A Mediterranean rose with musk-scented white flowers borne in clusters.

Rosa carolina--Pasture Rose

An easy-to-grow shrub, the pasture rose has pink flowers and is valued for its early bloom, often in mid-May.

Rosa rugosa--Rugosa Rose or Japanese Rose

This is a tough, drought-tolerant, cold-hardy rose from Asia, usually with purple-pink flowers though varieties are available in other shades.

Rosa glauca--Red-Leaf Rose

The small pink flowers of this species are ornamental, but its grown more for its beautiful blue-tinged leaves than for the flowers. It is one of the few roses that does well in shade.

Keywords: species roses, old rose names, heritage roses

About this Author

Over the past 30 years, Mara Grey has sold plants in nurseries, designed gardens and volunteered as a Master Gardener. She is the author of "The Lazy Gardener" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening" and has a Bachelor of Science in botany.