The Green Rose
Rosa chinensis viridiflora
The Green rose, Rosa chinensis viridiflora, is an old heirloom China rose. Its green colored roses are the result of a chance mutation. The petals of this green rose flower are actually sepals.
If you cut any rose flower in your garden and flip it upside down, those pointy green "leaves" just below the bloom are the sepals. Every rose has them.
This Green China rose has made its flowers completely out of them. How novel.
The reason for this?
It's a mystery as is the origin of the unique rose.
Rosa chinensis viridiflora was introduced by Bembridge and Harrison in 1856 though it is thought to have been in cultivation since some time in the mid 1700s.
It may be a sport of the antique China rose, Slater's Crimson China but this is not certain. They are both free-branching, twiggy shrubs that grow to about 3 feet in height.
The mature foliage is the same bright green as the sepals on the lower portion of the flower. New leaves are tinged red. The foliage is resistant to all the major rose diseases.
The flowers are not just unusual in color (the same green as the leaves at the bottom, lightening to chartreuse at the top) but they have a surprising fragrance as well. They smell of black pepper. But this only becomes apparent if you bruise the sepals.
This is a particularly good rose for southern gardens being recommended for USDA zones 6-10. You may be able to grow it in zone 5 with winter protection but it will die to the ground each winter and return in the spring.
The flowers will add interest to cut flower arrangements. The Green rose plant's continuous bloom and nicely rounded shape will make it a talking point in the rose garden.
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