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PARSONS ON THE ROSE.
The Rose is a shrub or dwarf tree, with mostly deciduous foliage, and large, beautiful, and fragrant flowers. Its branches are slender, almost always armed with thorns, thinly furnished with leaves, which are alternate upon the stem. Its leaves are pinnate, and vary in color and character, from the rich, dark green, and somewhat rough leaf of La Reine, to the glossy smoothness and rich purple edge of Chromatella. The blossoms are variously arranged at the extremity of the newly formed branches. The calyx is single and tubular, swelling at its lower part, contracted at its opening, and divided at the edge into five lance-pointed divisions, which are whole or pinnatifid. The corolla is inserted at the mouth of the tube of the calyx, and is composed of five heart-shaped petals, which constitute the Rose in its single or natural state. The double blossoms are formed by the change of the stamens and pistils into petals or flower leaves, shorter than those of the corolla proper. The fruit or seed vessel, or hip, is formed by the tube of the calyx:, which becomes plump and juicy, globular or oviform, having but one cell, and containing numerous small, one-seeded, dry 7
fruits, which usually pass for seeds; these are oval or globular, and surrounded with a soft down. The wood is very hard and compact, and of fine grain; and if it could be procured of sufficient size, would serve as a substitute for box in many kinds of manufacture. The longevity of the Rose is, perhaps, greater than that of any other shrub. We recollect seeing a rose-tree near an old castle in Stoke Newington, England, the stem of which was of immense size, and indicated great age. "There is a rose-bush flourishing at the residence of A. Murray Mcllvaine, near Bristol, (Penn.,) known to be more than a hundred years old. In the year 1742, there was a kitchen built, which encroached on the corner of the garden, and the masons laid the corner-stone with great care, saying c it was a pity to destroy so pretty a bush.' Since then, it has never failed to produce a profusion of roses, shedding around the most delicious of all perfumes. Sometimes it has climbed for years over the second-story windows, and then declined by degrees to the ordinary height. The fifth generation is now regaled with its sweets."
The number of species known to the ancients was small, compared with the number now recognized by botanists. Pliny, with whom we find the most detail on this point, says that the most esteemed were those of Prseneste and Psestum, which were, perhaps, identical; those of Campania and Malta, of a bright red color, and having but twelve petals; the white roses of Heraclea, in Greece, and those of Alabande, which seem to be identical with J?, centifolia. According to the Roman naturalist and to Theophrastus, they grew naturally on Mount Panga, and produced there very small flowers; yet the inhabitants of Philippi went there to obtain them, and the bushes on being transplanted, produced much improved and beautiful roses. Pliny speaks also of some other species, one whose flowers were single, another which he terms SpinoZa, and also that of Carthage, which bloomed in winter. Unfortunately, all that we'find in his works on this subject is, generally, very obscure, and it is difficult to compare many he has described with those known at the present day.
Although there are no double wild roses known at the present day, either in Europe or in this country, yet, as other flowers have been found double in a wild state, it is not impossible that some of the ancient varieties bore double flowers in their native condition in the fields. Such may have been the Centifolias, mentioned by Pliny and Theophrastus, as growing upon Mount Panga, and those which, at a still earlier period, according to Herodotus, grew wild in Macedonia, near the ancient gardens of Midas.
The poverty in description which we have observed in ancient writings, and their comparatively small number of species, extends also to a much later day. In a little treatise published in France in 1536, and entitled De re Hortensis LibelluQ, there are but four species mentioned, and scarcely anything concerning their culture. An Italian work published in 1563 mentions only eight species. In the Florilegium of Sweet, a folio volume printed at Frankfort in 1612, are ten very coarse representations of roses, but with no indication of their names.
In the Paradisus Terrestris of Parkinson, a folio volume printed at London in 1629, some twenty-four kinds are mentioned. Some of them are represented by figures in wood, which are very coarse, and scarcely allow recognition of their species. In the Jardinier Hollandois, printed at Amsterdam in 1669, are found but fourteen species of roses, very vaguely described, with scarcely anything on culture.
The first work which treated of roses with any degree of method is that of La Quintyne, published at Paris irf 1690, and yet its details of the different species and varieties do not occupy more than a page and a half, while