From Brent Dickerson: "Teas are so called because many discern in their blossoms the scent of "a newly-opened sample of the choicest tea". Their supposed ancestry is R. chinensis x R. gigantea, the latter being a high-climbing Chinese rose with large primrose-colored blossoms fading quickly to white.
The British introduced the first two cultivars to the West in 1810 and 1824; the French quickly began hybridizing with them. The spiralling starry form now usually associated with an unfurling rose bud derives from the Tea and, to a lesser extent, the China.
Teas are considered by many aficionadoes to have the most exquisite form and coloration in the world of the Rose. The problem confronted by the French, however, was that the bushes producing these blossoms were frail (at least, in France and England!), and the blossoms very susceptible to damage from the weather. Some took to growing them as greenhouse plants; others tried to improve the plant by cross-breeding. Several interesting results were produced, as we shall see in other categories below. In the history of the Teas, however, the most important crosses were with the Bourbons. This began a new race of Teas, most of which were quite unlike the old ones: large, vigorous, thick-limbed shrubs, often with perfectly healthy, beautiful glossy foliage.
The colors range throughout the rose palette (reds, pinks, whites, blushes, yellows, oranges), but most special to Teas are the colors of dawn: tones of gold, warm pink, and rose shading into each other, with delicate tints and highlightings. "
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 2005, All Rights Reserved.