Easily mistaken historic roses

Easily mistaken historic roses

Some historical roses have been confused or even described as identical for a long time. According to old literature and catalogues there are clear differences.

One of the most common confusions happens with the Gallicas: "Jenny Duval" and "Président de Sèze". Both have a great play of colour. In addition, Gallicas like to play with their colours anyway, depending on the weather and location. We describe the colour of "Jenny Duval" like this: Pink in bloom, carmine-pink in the centre, turning bluish-purple on the outside, pale at the edges and mauve as they fade. Président de Sèze' has a similar appearance: Flower cherry-red to purple-violet, back almost white and also turning mauve when fading.

What are the differences now? "Jenny Duval" flowers singly or in 2 to 3 flowers, is not very densely filled, the inner petals are smaller and quartered, the flower slightly quartered and the stamens sometimes visible. The petals curl slightly towards the centre.
In "Président de Sèze"the flower is rich and stands together in several, it is double, the stamens often visible. When fading, the petals turn outwards.

The damask roses "Mme Hardy" or "Félicité Hardy" and "Mme Zoetmanns" both have white, double flowers, so that they cannot be distinguished at first sight.
In 'Mme Hardy' (= 'Félicité Hardy') the growth is upright and spreading, up to 1.80 metres tall and there are numerous spines on young shoots. The foliage is abundant, light green and soft, the mostly 7 leaflets are elongated oval. The flower is very rich and stands singly or in groups, it is large, densely filled, often quartered, initially cupped, later the petals are turned outwards, but the innermost petals are bent inwards, forming a rosette around the green eye. The flower is very perfect and has long, pinnate sepals. The buds are pale pink, pure white when open. The fragrance is strong.

In 'Mme Zoetmanns' the growth is upright and well branched, 1.50 metres tall. It has pointed spikes and bristles. The foliage is medium green and smooth, the usually 5 leaflets are elliptical. The flower is clustered, large, double, sometimes quartered or untidy, barely visible to the eye. It is relatively early flowering and does not have as clearly pinnate sepals as 'Félicité Hardy'. The colour is pale pink, later almost white, the fragrance good.
The leaves of "Félicité Hardy" or "Mme Hardy" are more elongated, softer and the flowering more regular, the buds longer, the sepals more pinnate than those of "Mme Zoetmanns". Unfortunately, one has to compare both roses and look closely.

It is easier to distinguish between the two moss roses "Alfred de Dalmas" and "Mousseline". Both roses are relatively low growing, "Mousseline" perhaps more compact. "Alfred de Dalmas" has numerous straight spines, while "Mousseline" is finely spined. Both have rounded leaflets, are brownish mossy and remount well. But the flowering is clearly different. "Alfred de Dalmas" florishes in several or in clusters with small to medium-sized flowers, while "Mousseline" has medium to large flowers singly or in 2 to 3. The most obvious difference is the colour. "Alfred de Dalmas" flowers pink, somewhat lighter at the edges, while "Mousseline" has pink buds but then quickly turns white.

Already Gebr. Schultheis "Deutsches Rosenbuch" (1889) list "Mousseline" (Moreau-Robert 1880) as a white, remontant moss rose and "Alfred de Dalmas" (Portemer 1855) as a pink one "Flower medium size, double, pink, extra fine mossy bud." Regarding "Mousseline" it says: "Flower large, double, beautifully mossy, blooming well, light pink when opening, changing to pure white. Strong growing, delicate colour. This beautiful variety is a very good remontant."
A Portland rose is unfortunately offered by most rose schools under two or even more different names through the error of a great English rose expert: it is the beautiful, pink-flowered "Mme Boll" (Boll 1843). In the English-speaking world, this rose is incorrectly called "Comte de Chambord".

"Comte de Chambord" (Robert et Moreau before 1860) is described in older literature like this:
Wilhelm Döll "Der Rosen-Garten", published in 1855, already names "'Comte de Chambord'", pale-flesh coloured, medium sized" among the "newer and newest several times flowering Damascene = roses (Rose perpetuelle)", which came on the market between 1847 and 1854. In 1885 the Belgian Max Singer notes in his "Dictionnaire des Roses" two different "Comte de Chambord", a vivid garnet-red Bourbon rose and a Remontant hybrid, which is described as follows: weak growth, branches unevenly humped, dirty green, somewhat prickly; flowers of moderate size, somewhat double, colour pale flesh-coloured. This does not correspond to the 'Comte de Chambord' on the market today, which is everywhere identical to 'Mme Boll'. The old "Comte de Chambord" does not seem to be in trade anywhere anymore.

Authors: Hella Brumme and Eilike Vemmer

Experience more?

Direct booking


Travel planner

For arrival by car:

Google route planner

For those arriving by public transportation:

INSA travel planner

surrounding area: