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Old Hybrid Tea
"Damask Roses are supposed to be from a hybridization between R. gallica and R.
phoenicia which occurred in Asia Minor and became distributed throughout Syria and the
Near East and Middle East generally. The Crusaders--according to tradition--brought it
back to Europe from Damascus (hence the name) in 1254. However, there is a most daunting
and seemingly impenetrable fog around R. damascena. References can be found to "the
common Damask" as late as the 1820's, and yet what an author is referring to by this
term remains elusive. It indeed frequently seems that "the Common Damask" is
rather a Damask Perpetual! Worse, cultivars which we today consider as defining the
group--`Leda', perhaps, and 'Mme. Hardy'--seem to have been hybrids. 'Celsiana', a most
beautiful and popular rose, is possibly "typical" Damask; and yet, even it has
its mystery (current research seems to indicate that the "pre-1750" date usually
put forward is whimsical). Even 'York and Lancaster', frequently considered to be a sport
of the original (red?) Damask, is supposed by one authority to be an Alba on the basis of
a sporting back to something like the Alba 'Semiplena'! The cultivar used for the rose oil
industry in Bulgaria, `Trigintipetala', supposedly a long-ago import from Turkey, is
perhaps dependably R. damascena . . . . That said, characteristics associated with our
concept of what a Damask should look like are: upright frequently arching canes,
grayish-green somewhat rugose somewhat hirsute leaves, large fragrant blossoms in
few-flowered clusters, delicate in appearance, and ranging in color from white to deep
pink depending on the cultivar. 'Ville de Bruxelles', `Celsiana', `Mme. Hardy', 'Mme.
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