Alika, introduced from Russia in 1906, breeder unknown.
'Alika' is a bit different from the majority of the Gallicas, in that it is a much larger shrub which shows distinct "species-like" characteristics. The foliage, blooms, and fragrance all suggest a close connection to one of the species roses, perhaps R. canina, or R. nutkana. (Purely speculative, of course) Whatever its breeding may involve, it is not a typical Gallica, with its sparsely thorned canes, (none of the usual Gallica prickles) and much taller growing habit. It is a beautiful rose though, and it will appeal to those who like simple, few-petaled blooms.
As for its origin, I quote Suzanne Verrier, "In 1906, this rose was brought to the United States by Professor N. E. Hansen of North Dakota. Used extensively in Hansen's breeding program for hardy roses, 'Alika' was in commerce by 1930." 'Alika' is also supposed to be the same rose which is described as R. gallica 'Grandiflora' which appears in the 1881Regal and Kesselring catalog from Finland(?) That is all we know about the origin of this rose.
This is a remarkable shrub which will form a tall (6 foot) thicket by suckering. It is completely healthy, and will thrive in zones as cold as USDA 3! The blooms have a wonderful "wild rose" fragrance. All in all, this is a fine shrub of distinct character. I have begun incorporating it into my breeding program to produce single, deep purple Gallicas.
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2006, All Rights Reserved.