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 setigera ‘Queen of the Prairies’

Possibly a variety or cultivar of Rosa setigera Mich. but see notes below. Gore describes the flowers of the species as middle-sized, double, globular, red or pale pink, borne in multifloral clusters, sometimes solitary, George Don as small, pale red, usually three together.  



Horticultural & Botanical History

'Queen of the Prairies' is a variety of this rose, or more likely, a hybrid, introduced by Mr. Feast, a nurseryman of Baltimore.  He introduced this new race of roses, based on Rosa rubifolia and called Prairie Roses, before 1843.  Paul considered that they were likely to be hybrids between Rosa rubifolia and Rosa multiflora, resembling the latter in bearing large clusters of flowers.  Paul, describes the flowers of ‘Queen of the Prairies’ as large, double, rosy-purple in colour, and Rivers as bright rose, somewhat flat, streaked with white.  [Paul (1848, 1888, 1903, Rivers (1854, 1857, 1863), Amat].

According to The Gardeners’ Chronicle ‘the Queen of the Prairies is a famous grower, but the flower is a poor affair, and the same may be said of two or three other of its Transatlantic friends.’  [Gard. Chron. 1853].  Thomas Rivers agreed, commenting that, although 'Queen of the Prairies' is one of the best of the new Prairie Roses, ‘I will dismiss them at once by saying, they are none of them worthy of cultivation.’ 



History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 [T.868/1845] catalogues and described in the 1845 catalogue as Queen of the Prairies. Probably introduced by Bidwill on his return from England in 1843.  ‘Rubifolia is a neat, compact, highly coloured flower with many petals but also with many anthers in the centre.  Its foliage I think more beautiful than the flowers.’  Macarthur to Bidwill, 25th November, 1845.  [MP A2933-2, p.98].  Plants were presented to the Sydney Botanic Garden on October 24th 1846 [RBGS AB].




Rosa rubifolia Vuk. (1884) = Rosa subalbida Vuk.



Published Feb 11, 2010 - 11:49 AM | Last updated Jul 30, 2011 - 03:40 PM

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, USA

  • Rosa rubifolia R.Br.
  • Queen of the prairies


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Rosa rubifolia 



Confidence level high