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Welcome to the June 2002 edition of my web site! The roses I write about are the Old Garden Roses and select shrub and miniature roses of the 20th century. For tips on rose culture, pruning, propagation and history, see "Other resources on this site". To return to this page, click on the "thorn icon" in the margin at left. Articles from the previous months are archived and can be viewed by clicking on the listings in the left margin. Oh, and please don't write to me for a catalog or pricelist.....this is an information site only.....not a commercial nursery. If you wish to buy roses, see my sponsor, The Uncommon Rose. Thanks!

A Check-List of Lawrencianas
by Brent C. Dickerson

Copyright 2002 Brent C. Dickerson


Some subjects are meaty, some are dry, some dry to the point of complete desiccation. It is, perhaps, in this lattermost category that we may place lists of obscure and extinct roses classified in an obscure and extinct class! Such is the case, then, with the present check-list of Lawrencianas. There are about fifty or so in this class. What are they-or indeed what were they? They were miniature Chinas, and were exploited modestly as a class in the first half of the Nineteenth Century, after which rosedom lost interest in them. Such few among them as had wider distribution or more enduring fame than the others are described in Appendix Two of my The Old Rose Adventurer, which also has such details of their history as the records afford. Our present business is to sigh deeply, be resolute in our duties, pull on our rubber gloves, and muck through the dross of old rosedom to come up with a complete chronological listing, which follows these opening remarks. Though few breeders interested themselves in working with the Lawrencianas, the ones who did were the elite
professionals of their day: Laffay, Miellez, Vibert, Mauget, Hardy. These roses were, it seems, the play-things of the dedicated, delicacies to be tinkered with in the toy-shop of the master's realm. A certain contingent of
the roses on our list may be suspected, wisely, of being synonyms; other roses not on this list, such as Bizard's 'Némésis' seem to be midway between standard Chinas and Lawrencianas, and could be included in either grouping. Finally, the Lawrenciana best known to us today, 'Pompon de Paris', does not appear under that name in the catalogs of the era; it is probably simply Colville's 'Pompon' of circa 1806. Can the class be resuscitated? Perhaps intensive sowing of masses of China seed would yield its due proportion of miniatures-and the group would be off and running again. Their place, however, has been taken by the modern Miniature Rose and, to some degree, the Polyantha; it is likely then that the fate of the Lawrenciana class is to be comprised of treasures only of the fading memory.

Above; Rosa indica pumila, from Redoute's illustrated Les Roses. This rose is mentioned in the text of the volume and is supposedly Colville's 'Pompon'.

At right; Another of Redoute's roses illustrated is R. flore simplici, which is very close to 'Miss Lawrance's Rose', varying from it only in tecnhical character.

The Listing.

R. flore simpliciArranged chronologically. "Br. unk." means "Breeder unknown." A hyphen before a stated year means by that year. As possible, flower-color and major synonyms are included. In a number of cases in which the particular rose in question has not been described in the literature, we are forced to trust the descriptive name bestowed as indicating the real color of the flower.

'Miss Lawrence' (Br. unk., -1799) Syn. 'Simple', 'Single Lawrence'. Pink,
single.
'Miss Lawrence Rouge' (Br. unk., -1799) Syn. 'Rouge'. Carmine, single.
'Pompon' (Colville, circa 1806) Syn. 'Bijou', 'Nain', 'Pompon Bijou',
'Pumila'. Pale rose pink.
'Lawrence' (Sweet, 1810) Pink. Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence'.
'Double' (Vibert, -1819) Purplish pink.
'Lawrenciana' (Redouté, 1821) Pinkish red.
'Pumila Flore Simplici' (Br. unk., -1824) Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence'.
'Rosea' (Lawrance?, circa 1825) Pink. Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence'.
'Pourpre Noir Simple' (Hardy, 1826) Blackish purple, single.
'Rose Double' (Br. unk., -1826) Pink, double.
'Rouge Double' (Br. unk., -1826) Red, double.
'Alba' (Mauget, 1827) White.
'Blanc Double' (Mauget/Laffay, 1827) White, double.
'Dieudonné' (Mauget, 1827) Syn. 'Violet'. Violet.
'Rouge Foncé' (Miellez, 1827) Dark red.
'Rouge-Pâle' (Miellez, 1827) Pale red.
'Carné Plein' (Br. unk., -1828) Flesh, full.
'De Chartres' (Laffay, -1828) Syn. 'Nain'. Light pink.
'Indica Minima' (Br. unk., -1828) Bright pink.
'Indica Minor' (Br. unk., -1828) Blush. Prob. syn. 'Pompon'.
'Pompon Rouge-Foncé' (Miellez, -1828) Dark red. Prob. syn. 'Rouge Foncé'.
'Poupre-Foncé Double' (Br. unk., -1828) Dark purple, double.
'Rose Pleine' (Br. unk., -1828) Pink, full. Prob. syn. 'Rose Double'.
'La Gloire des Laurencias' (Miellez, -1829) Crimson to bright purple.
'La Lapone' (Br. unk., -1829) Syn. 'Petite Lapone'. Cerise.
'La Liliputienne' (Miellez, -1829) Dark rose pink.
'La Miniature' (Br. unk., -1829) Dark pink to rosy crimson.
'Belle Liliputienne' (Laffay, circa 1830) Bright pink.
'Cramoisi' (Laffay, circa 1830) Dark crimson.
'La Mouche' (Miellez, -1830) Cerise to flesh pink.
'Caprice des Dames' (Miellez, -1831) Purplish pink to violet.
'Duc de Chartres' (Br. unk., -1831) Pink. Cf. 'De Chartres' (-1828).
'Bicolore' (Laffay, -1833) Pink, spotted lilac.
'Pygmée' (Bizard, 1833) Color unknown. Sown in 1828 from seed of 'Indica
Minima'.
'Simple Rose' (Br. unk., -1833) Pink. Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence'.
'Indica Minor Rubra' (Wood, -1834) Red. Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence Rouge'.
'À Rameaux Horizonteaux' (Laffay, -1835) Flesh.
'Blanc' (Laffay, -1835) White with flesh.
'Cramoisi Double' (Br. unk., -1835) Crimson.
'Master Burke' (Feast, circa 1835) Color unknown.
'Nigra' (Br. unk., -1835) Dark crimson purple.
'Pourpre' (Br. unk., -1835) Purple.
'Retour du Printemps' (Br. unk., -1835) Bright pink.
'Zelinette' (Br. unk., -1835) Color unknown.
'Jenny' (Br. unk., -1836) Syn. 'Rubra'. Bright crimson purple to rose.
'Pourpre Nain' (Br. unk., -1836) Purple. Prob. syn. 'Pourpre'.
'Pompon Ancien' (Br. unk., 1839) Light pink. Prob. syn. 'Pompon'.
'Belle Laurencia' (Beluze, circa 1840) Color unknown.
'Pretty American' (Boll, circa 1840) Color unknown.
'Lawrencea' (Br. unk., -1841) Color unknown. Prob. syn. 'Miss Lawrence'.
'Multiflore' (Br. unk., -1841) Dark rose.
'Double Blanche' (Vibert, 1842) White.
'Pourpre Brun' (Br. unk., -1844) Brown purple.
'Blush' (Br. unk., -1846) Syn. 'Ancien', 'Fairy'. Pale pink. Prob. syn.
'Pompon'.
'Pallida' (Br. unk., -1846) Light pink. Poss. syn. 'Pompon'.
'La Désirée' (Br. unk., -1848) White? Pink?
'Double Multiflore' (Br. unk., -1853) Color unknown.

Copyright 2002, Brent Dickerson

Addendum, from conversations on the Internet:

Pierre Rutten wrote: About Lawrencianas; they were not lost but disappeared from rose nurseries. Difficult to grow when rose disease became prevalent and so easy from seeds that one can grow them as annuals; they became a Lyon's seed speciality maintained more or less continuously and up to now by the german company Benary. Rediscovery by Correvon appear from ignorance of this fact.

Paul Barden wrote: This doesn't surprise me in the least. The story about Correvon has the smell of Great Mythology in the making. This could explain the fact that we currently have what appear to be at least two different strains of 'Rouletii' available to us; they may simply be seed strains, and may not be related at all to the original 'Rouletii', when you consider how easily this strain reproduces from seed.

'Oakington Ruby'It is good furtune to have other similar Miniatures in our collections, and I am most grateful for 'Oakington Ruby' above all others. Sometimes touted as a sport of 'Rouletii', it is clearly a different shrub altogether, with more pointed foliage of a redder coloring, and the bloom is MUCH fuller than 'Rouletii'. I have often wondered if 'Oakington Ruby' might in fact be one of the Lawrencianas rediscovered, but that's wishful thinking more than anything.

Pictured at right: 'Oakington Ruby'

For a glimpse into Ralph Moore's opinions on the dwarf Chinas, check out http://www.rdrop.com/~paul/moore_chinas.html Excerpted from that article:

"All these (referring to his own early modern Miniature hybrids) derived their miniaturization not from rouletii but from 'Oakington Ruby'. So of today's miniatures, probably as much as half then trace back to 'Oakington Ruby'. Though quite different, both Rosa rouletii and 'Oakington Ruby' are pure china. Also, many years ago I grew, in two separate years, quite a population of self 'Old Blush' seedlings. From the lot I got several dwarf or miniature types. These ranged from 6 inch to about 14 inches in height with small 3/4 - I inch double flowers. Colors ranged from near white through several shades of pink to the lavender, 'Mr. Bluebird'. One was almost an exact duplicate of my 'Pink Joy' which along with 'Centennial Miss' and 'Patty Lou' were grown from self seeds of 'Oakington Ruby'. Thus all these varieties of pure china origin should rightly be classed as chinas (OGR or Old Garden Roses) as proposed by Scott Hanson of Arizona. What we know today as Miniature Roses are a hybrid lot - a totally new form of the rose."

It may also be of interest to know that Ralph Moore has also drawn on the genes of the seed grown "Fairy Roses" (Likely Parks Seed Company strain) for his breeding work. He refers to the strain as R. polyantha nana, which I believe is also how Parks Seeds refers to it. 'Green Diamond' (1975), 'Snow Magic', (1976) and more recently, 'Fair Molly' (2001) all have R. polyantha nana in their ancestry. The seed parent of each of these was an un-named seedling from R. polyantha nana, likely open pollinated, and possibly simply grown from a packet of the Parks seeds 'Fair Molly' is the most Lawrenciana-like of the three, and is a veritable bloom machine, the flowers often obscuring the foliage! It came from the cross "R. polyantha nana seedling" X 'Fairy Moss'. Tha plant is dwarf and very densely shrubby and rarely grows more than 15 inches tall. The blooms are a kind of Apple blossom pink fading to near white, semi double (2 rows of petals) and opens flat to show stamens. I thought you might be interested in this extra little bit of information, albeit of much more recent historical value."

"BCD" wrote: > A Check-List of Lawrencianas > > by Brent C. Dickerson > > 'Master Burke' (Feast, circa 1835) Color unknown.

Paul Barden Wrote: Brent, et al; Curiously, in her 1964 volume, 'The Miniature Rose Book', Margaret Pinney goes into some detail about the Lawrencianas, making use of what catalogs and references she had access to at that time. This includes William Paul's 'The Rose Garden', 1848, among others, and Robert Buist's 'The Rose Manual', 1851. In the latter volume she found a reference to 'Master Burke' that is quite amusing:

"Master Burke when three years old, had fine, full-blown and very double flowers, and the half of a common hen's egg-shell would have covered the whole bush without touching it - it is now 7 or 8 years old, flowers regularly every year and has never yet attained two inches in height - the rose is about the size of a buck-shot".

The color of 'Master Burke' is not mentioned here either, frustratingly, and surely the description of the rose is at least somewhat fictionalized! It seems unlikely that a rose like any that we currently know could reach the age of 8 and yet fit fully under half an egg shell! Even 'Si' and 'Hi' can attain a height of 12 inches in a few short years. I think such a description must be taken with a grain of salt (a very TINY grain of salt), in the same way that we must interpret modern "catalog speak" in our current age. It comes from a school of describing a product whose mantra is "say anything about it as long as it sells the thing!"

Brent also made a remark about reviving the Lawrencianas by sowing quantities of China seed to obtain dwarf cultivars. I expect Monsieur Dickerson is aware that Ralph Moore did this very thing in the 1950's and 1960's using 'Old Blush' seed. From his 1967 volume, 'All About Miniature Roses' Mr. Moore states:

'Old Blush' X self, 1951"More recently several lots of self-set seeds obtained from a plant of the China rose 'Old Blush' (Parsons' Pink China) supposedly in cultivation before 1759, were planted and the seedlings observed. In all three lots, gathered in different years, the germination was only fair to poor. But 'Old Blush' produces hips readily and each hip contains several medium size seeds. From the first lot quite a number of the seedlings were very definitely of the miniature type. One plant which has grown no taller than 10 inches in seven years has tiny leaves and tiny miniature pink buds opening to one-inch pink flowers (same color as R. roulettii) with seven or eight petals. It has on occasion set a few seed hips.

"From the same lot also came other miniature roses ranging in height from 10 to 12 inches. Most of these were very bushy with double one- to one and one-fourth-inch flowers ranging in color from pale pink to medium rose-pink.

At left: One of Ralph Moore's seedlings from self seedings of 'Old Blush'.

"One of these produces orange colored hips containing one to three seeds none of which appears to contain an embryo. Another grew into a dense free blooming plant with flowers almost duplicating 'Pink Joy' (which is a self seedling of 'Oakington Ruby') . Cuttings of this plant were difficult to root. Still another one of these seedlings grew not over 8 inches high and bore soft pink double flowers resembling 'Peggy Grant'. Cuttings of this were also difficult to root.

"The only seedling of the lot to be introduced was one which has slightly larger foliage and lavender-blue (or magenta) colored semi-double flowers. This selection, 'Mr. Bluebird,' grows readily from cuttings and has proven quite cold hardy. Some seed hips are produced, carrying up to five seeds, but germination is very poor. However, among its self seedlings have been several growing not more than 6 to 8 inches tall with miniature leaves and tiny double flowers usually not more than one-half to one-inch in size. Petals are usually very narrow (lance shaped) . No seeds have been observed on any of these seedlings but some pollen is produced."

As you can see, it is quite possible to produce Miniature Chinas in this manner. This year I have decided to breed one of my large plants of 'Oakington Ruby' to see what kinds of very dwarf offspring I might get. I will likely use 'Old Blush' and possibly 'Rouletii' as pollen parents, among others. This is purely an experiment to replicate some of Ralph Moore's early work with 'Oakington Ruby' so that I can see for myself the variety of seedlings that result.


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