China rose

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Waist-high rose bush situated next to Benjamin Franklin College bike path, and across from Yale Health and Grove St Cemetery. In spring, the plant has red flowers and light green leaves; its branches are mottled crimson and brown and are visible in the winter, when the shrub lacks leaves and flowers. Rosa Chinensis is native to south-west China and can grow up to 1 to 2m tall with single, semi-double or double flowers with red, white, pink or purple petals–it can grow in hedges or form thickets. China roses were cultivated in their native lands before the Europeans discovered them. Their floral scent is one of the ways that they lure insects to pollinate and who receive pollen or nectar as a reward–their scent is a particularly important pollinating syndrome when there are poor visual cues for pollinators.
Bella Gamboa, Elita Farahdel, Anthony Mark
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Irregular low shrub
Date of tree entry: 
1.04 m
There is some other reason the DBH cannot be measured accurately
The bark has peeling grey-brown areas, and smoother crimson areas.
Twigs & branches
The branches are thin but strong and smooth, and have reddish-brown bark. The twigs and branches of the rose are covered in small, prickly thorns, which help defend the plant against herbivores.
Ovate leaves that are coarse with prominent margins and have 3–5 leaflets, where each leaflet is 2.5–6 cm long and 1–3 cm broad.
Reproductive Structures
Roses have hermaphrodite flowers with radial symmetry. They contain both male and female reproductive structures, with many male stamens and female carpel that has a style similar in size to the stamens; the pistil is prominent and placed in the center of the flower. The flower is comprised of petals that are often doubled and for a voluminous and striking flower of about 4-5cm in diameter. Roses can be pollinated by bees, but they can also self-pollinate and be propagated asexually using stem cuttings.
The fruit is an edible red hip one to two cm in diameter; however, it has layered hairs around the seeds that can cause digestive issues if not removed prior to consumption.
  • Rose Bush in Winter
  • Rose Bush in Spring (March)
  • Rose Bush in Spring (April)
Natural range of distribution: 
Not known in a a truly wild situation; generally grown as indoor plants but can be grown outdoor in tropical or other climates that never freeze. It grows best with a lot of light and is pollinated by bees.
Origin, history, and uses: 

Origin and History

The China Rose is thought to originate from South-Central and South-West China. They were found cultivated and bred in China as many as 1000 years ago. How exactly they were developed is somewhat unclear, as they was no record of them until the tenth century. They are thought to be responsible for the repeat blooming trait of being able to bloom multiple times, and have the interesting characteristics of getting darker with age. While it has been cultivated for many centuries in China, they took a backseat to the chrysanthemum in terms of prestige. However, this species is of great importance and is considered to some to be the common ancestor of most modern roses. 


Vegetative plant parts, flower buds, and flowers are used as a kitchen herb in soups, for example. Seeds also have nutritional value as a source of vitamin E, and are typically ground up and mixed into flour or added onto food. Has contributed to the breeding of modern roses due to the repeat blooming trait. 

Beyond their practical functions, roses have wide cultural usage—they feature in a slew of writing, music, and artwork from various cultures, ranging from the thirteenth century Romance of the Rose to the 1980s song “Every Rose Has Its Thorns.”

The China Rose blooms for a long period from April to September; its flowers might continue to open for as long a period as April to November. After germination, rose seeds remain dormant for several months, prompted either by winter or artificial cooling for cultivated plants. After their period of dormancy, the rose seeds begin to sprout, first unfolding cotyledons, then the growth of basal side shoots and the main stem. Later, the flower buds, flowers, and fruit subsequently emerge

- U. Meier, H. Bleiholder, H. Brumme, E. Bruns, B. Mehring, T. Proll, et al. “Phenological growth stages of roses (Rosa sp.): Codification and description according to the BBCH scale.” Annals of Applied Biology 2008 Vol. 154. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.2008.00287.x

Media and Arts

Rosa Chinensis

A bright flower that embraces the sun,

the very sun that rises early over its homeland,


The China Rose, in a China

that rose through the cracks in the iron bowl

and breathed a second life,

all amidst the fragmented debris and blood shed,


Yet also pink, and white, and purple.

For like the rose of its people,

from October to March,

it’s simpler to hide the beating of hearts,

but then comes April and up to September

its brilliance becomes too much to temper.

Yin and yang are like day and night, and

even though the dark is comforting, 

we must,


welcome the light.

- Anthony Mark

Shrub Canopy Area: