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 ‘Noisette Pulchella’

Probably a cultivar of Rosa noisettiana Redouté. Catherine Gore lists ‘Purple Noisette’ synonyms ‘Red Noisette’ and ‘Noisette with small Pink Flowers’ in her section of Noisette roses with pink or flesh-coloured flowers.  She describes it as having arching shoots and small, very double, light pink flowers with narrow petals, which is a reasonable description of ‘Blush Noisette’, one of the few surviving early Noisette roses, but which is also a reasonable general description of the group.

Horticultural & Botanical History

The Noisette brothers, rose growers in France and America, used China roses, particularly ‘Parson's Pink’, in the development of the repeat flowering Noisette group of roses, although the original cross, Rosa moschata Miller x ‘Parson's Pink’, was made by John Champneys in Charleston, South Carolina.  This rose was listed as ‘Noisette Champnagagna Rose’ by Catherine Gore, with ‘Champnayana’ probably intended.  The second generation of the original ‘Champneys' Pink Cluster’ was a little different in habit, smaller and more compact, and was distributed under the name ‘Blush Noisette’, described by Catherine Gore as the ‘Flesh-coloured Noisette Rose’.  She comments: ‘This shrub, sent from Charlestown by Phillip Noisette, is the type on which the species Noisettiana was founded by Bosc and Pronville.’  There was considerable interest in these new roses, well summarised by Rivers: ‘Since its introduction to France so many seedlings have been raised from [Blush Noisette], and so many of these are evidently hybrids of the Tea-scented and other roses, that some of the roses called “Noisettes” have almost lost the character of the group; for in proportion as the size of the flower has been increased by hybridising, their clustering tendency and the number of them in one corymb, has been diminished.’  [Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863)].  William Paul also admired the character of the early Noisette roses: ‘But we are losing the old style of Noisette, and multiplying kinds hybridised with the Tea-scented.  This is a matter of regret; for however much we may extend the range, or improve the delicacy of the colours, by this process, we are rendering a hardy group of Roses tender, and blotting out the prettiest feature of the group – flowers produced in large and elegant trusses.’  [Paul (1848, 1863, 1888, 1903)].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.847/1843] and described as a noisette rose in the 1843 and 1845 catalogues.  Plants were presented to the Sydney Botanic Garden on October 24th 1846 [RBGS AB].  The three roses listed as Rosa semperflorens in the Camden Park catalogues are early acquisitions, before 1843, and their identification is uncertain.  They are probably early cluster-flowered Noisette roses, perhaps derived from crosses with Rosa semperflorens Curt.  The three roses are clearly described as Noisette roses.  Noisette roses grown today are either pillar roses or climbers, some of them vigorous climbers.  This was not the case in the early- to mid-19th century when many Noisettes were described as dwarf or compact in habit, including the ever popular Rosa ‘Aimee Vibert’ whic see.


The specific name Rosa semperflorens used by Macarthur is probably a reference to its China parentage, although this was Rosa chinensis rather than the Crimson China in the original crosses.  The varietal name Noisette pulchella probably indicates that it is an early Noisette rose.  We could hypothesise that it is the type rose ‘Blush Noisette’, but an article in The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1844 by ‘A.H.B’ makes this unlikely as it describes both ‘Noisette pulchella’ and the ‘Common Noisette’, probably ‘Blush Noisette’, as being suitable for both standards and dwarfs, suggesting that they were different roses and probably smallish shrubs.  I have found no other reference to the ‘Noisette pulchella’ mentioned here.  Whatever the identity of the present rose, Rosa semperflorens, the ‘ever blooming Chinese’ rose, was almost certainly grown in the gardens, as John Macarthur presented plants to the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1819.  [RBGS AB].  Rosa semperflorems was ticked in a copy of the Hort. Reg., October 1831.  Although this originally belonged to James Bowman, it is likely that this plant was grown by Macarthur earlier than 1843.

A form of Rosa semperflorens Curt. is another possibility.  George Don, in his General System of Gardening and Botany, describes the Crimson China rose, Rosa semperflorens, as bearing solitary flowers, single or semi-double, and deep crimson: ‘There are some very splendid varieties of the species with semi-double crimson flowers in our gardens, and the French appear to have some others still more beautiful, which have not yet been imported.’  He gives the common name of ‘Ever-flowering china rose’, and a cultivation date in Europe of 1786.  He also describes it as being between 3-10 feet tall.  The rose Don is describing clearly includes more than the rose now known as ‘Slater’s Crimson China’.  The variation in size, as well as the varieties he describes, suggests that a number of hybrids are included.  His reference to the ‘still more beautiful’ French roses may include early Noisette roses.  William Paul, in The Rose Garden, writes of Rosa semperflorens that ‘there are perhaps no roses more beautiful late in the year when the autumn is mild.  There are some very handsome blood-coloured roses here.  All are of a branching habit and of moderate growth.’  Rosa semperflorens was introduced to Britain by Gilbert Slater of Knots Green in 1789 as Rosa chinensis var. semperflorens and is commonly known as ‘Slater’s Crimson China’.  The single form is figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine [BM t.284/1794].  See also Rosa noisettiana Redouté var. noisette purpurea.

Published Feb 10, 2010 - 04:57 PM | Last updated Jul 30, 2011 - 04:35 PM

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, France or USA

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Rosa semperflorens v. Noisette pulchella 

Confidence level low