Saturday, 2 July 2011

A Rose by Another Name

Sorry about the title - it's supposed to be a joke. I'm not sure that it works (?) Still. Never mind. Onwards!

In the last article I talked about trying to find the Roses on the list that Leo Grindon published, for the Manchester area, in the mid-19th century. Well, I think that I might have found one of them, and possibly a second - plus one that isn't even on the list.

The one that appears to be more or less definite is the Field Rose (Rosa arvensis). This corresponds to the picture above (although it could be some sort of hybrid, of course). Ironically this plant is on Hardy Farm and I pass it quite regularly (you never know what could be 'hiding in plain sight'!). A couple of key characteristics of this plant are that it has creamy white flowers and the style (the female part in the middle of the flower) is on a short column. An important question is: was it planted in the spot where it grows (as many trees and shrubs were in the 1970/80s) or did arrive of its own accord - perhaps bird seeded? I suppose we'll never know.

Last week I also found, in a hedge in the Albemarle allotments in Withington, a plant with straight prickles - which could be Soft Downy-rose (R. mollis) - but, for various reasons, I'm not sure.

Finally, I've recently found a plant which nearly keys out as Round-leaved Dog-rose (R. obtusifolia). Everything fits (flower colour, sepals, prickles, presence of small, reddish glands on the leaf edges etc.) except that it's supposed to have hairy leaves - and the two specimens that I've found have completely smooth and hairless leaves - baffling!

Dave Bishop, July 2011

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