Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Rosa multiflora Thunb. alba

This rose may be synonymous with the variety Thunbergiana described by George Don.  The flowers of Rosa multiflora alba are not pure white but a pale flesh colour.  Paul describes them as creamy white, small and very double.  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888)].  Rivers describes it as pretty and distinct.  [Rivers (1854, 1857, (1863)].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

It seems likely that Macarthur’s roses were derivatives of Rosa multiflora Thunb., a scrambling Chinese rose with a rather tight cluster of small white or pink flowers, introduced in 1804.  It existed in both single and double forms and was a favourite for many years.  Although usually grown as an arching or low-climbing shrub, dwarf forms, which continued to flower throughout the growing season, on short shoots instead of long arching ones, were long cultivated by the Chinese.  A garden form, ‘The Seven Sisters Rose’, Rosa multiflora var. platyphylla Thory., was introduced from Japan in 1815/1817.  It is figured in the Botanical Register with deep blush flowers [BR f.1372/1830].  Paul in 1848 described the multiflora roses, including alba and rubra, as generally climbing and weeping roses, producing flowers in large corymbs.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.850/1843].  Thomas Shepherd, Sydney’s first commercial nurseryman, obtained much of his stock from William Macarthur and the roses listed in his 1851 Catalogue of plants cultivated at the Darling Nursery include many featured in the Camden Park catalogues.  Under ‘Climbing Roses’ he includes both ‘Multifora alba’ and ‘Multiflora rubra’, strongly suggesting that Macarthur’s roses were climbers rather than dwarf forms.  [See also Rosa multiflora Thunb. var. rubra].


The roses now generally described as multiflora are derived from Rosa multiflora thunbergiana, first introduced into European cultivation in 1862, and can be discounted as being synonymous with the roses listed here.  These roses shuld not be confused with Rosa Thunbergiana described by George Don in the 1830s.

Published Feb 10, 2010 - 05:14 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2010 - 05:45 PM

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

China or Japan

  • Double white Multiflora rose
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Rosa multiflora alba 

Confidence level medium