Rosa gallica

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Rosa gallica
Wild Rosa gallica Romania.jpg
Wild Rosa gallica in Romania
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rosa
R. gallica
Binomial name
Rosa gallica

Rosa gallica, the Gallic rose, French rose, or rose of Provins, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family, native to southern and central Europe eastwards to Turkey and the Caucasus. It was one of the first species of rose to be cultivated in central Europe.[1]


Rosa gallica is a deciduous shrub forming large patches. The slender, straight prickles are various in size and frequency in this species[1][2] The leaves are pinnately-compound, with three to seven bluish-green leaflets. The flowers are clustered one to four together, on glandular pedicels. Each flower has five or more petals, sometimes producing double corollas.[1] The flowers are fragrant and deep pink. The hips are globose to ovoid, 10–13 mm diameter, orange to brownish.

Gallica cultivar group[edit]

Cultivars of the species R. gallica and hybrids close in appearance are considered as a cultivar group, the Gallica Group roses. Their exact ancestry is usually unknown and other species may be involved. They are easily cultivated. The Gallica Group roses share the vegetative characters of the species:

  • forming low suckering shrubs,
  • flowers can be single, but most commonly are double or semidouble,
  • colours range from white (rare) to pink and deep purple, and
  • once flowering

Apothecary's rose[edit]

Plants with semidouble deep pink flowers have been treated as either a variety, under the name R. gallica var. officinalis,[3] or as a cultivar, R. gallica 'Officinalis'.[4] It is also called the apothecary's rose, the crimson damask rose, or the red rose of Lancaster.[5] It is the county flower of Lancashire. A cultivar R. gallica var. officinalis 'Versicolor', with striped pink blooms, is also known as Rosa mundi.[6]

The names Rosa gallica f. trigintipetala or Rosa 'Trigintipetala' are considered to be synonyms of Rosa × damascena.[7]


Rosa gallica 'Tuscany superb'
R. gallica var. officinalis 'Versicolor' (Rosa mundi)

It was cultivated by the Greek and Romans and commonly used in mediaeval gardens. In the 19th century it was the most important species of rose to be cultivated, and most modern European rose cultivars have at least a small contribution from R. gallica in their ancestry.[1]

Rosa gallica is easily cultivated on well drained soil in full sun to semishade; it can survive temperatures down to −25 °C.

The following cultivars and hybrids have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

  • 'Beau Narcisse' (Mielles <1824)[8]
  • 'Belle de Crécy' (Roeser 1836; withdrawn)[9]
  • 'Cardinal de Richelieu' (Parmentier <1847; withdrawn)[10] – this rose was used as a starting point for genetic engineering to produce the first blue rose
  • 'Charles de Mills' (<1790)[11]
  • 'Complicata'[12]
  • 'Duc de Guiche' (<1810)[13]
  • 'Duchesse de Montebello' (Laffay 1824)[14]
  • 'Président de Sèze'[15]
  • 'Officinalis'[16]
  • 'Versicolor' ('Rosa mundi')[17]
  • 'Tuscany superb'[18]



  1. ^ a b c d "Rosa gallica". Go Botany. New England Wildflower Society. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  2. ^ Clements, F. E.; Butters, F.K.; Rosendahl, C. O. (1912). "Minnesota trees and shrubs: an illustrated manual of the native and cultivated woody plants of the State". Report of the Botanical Survey. 9.
  3. ^ RHS Horticultural Database: Rosa gallica var. officinalis, Royal Horticultural Society, retrieved 2011-07-24
  4. ^ Phillips & Rix (2004), The Ultimate Guide to Roses : a comprehensive selection, London: Macmillan, ISBN 978-1-4050-4920-7
  5. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
  6. ^ "BBC plant finder - Rosa mundi". Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Rosa gallica f. trigintipetala". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2017-12-18.
  8. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Beau Narcisse'".
  9. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Belle de Crécy'".
  10. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Cardinal de Richelieu'".
  11. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Charles de Mills'".
  12. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Complicata'".
  13. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Duc de Guiche'".
  14. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Duchesse de Montebello'".
  15. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Président de Sèze'".
  16. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Officinalis'".
  17. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Versicolor'".
  18. ^ "Royal Horticultural Society, 'Tuscany superb'".