top: Kronprinzessin Viktoria, Souvenir de la Malmaison, Comtesse de Barbantane
above: Catherine Guillot, Champion of the World, Commandant Beaurepaire
Originally this was a group based on a cross between the Autumn Damask (Rosa damascena × bifera) and a China rose. The Damask influence carried on through the early Bourbon roses, but in time the class became difficult to distinguish from Hybrid Perpetuals, on the one hand and Hybrid Teas on the other. Excellent autumnal bloomers and as a group quite fragrant.
Given the complexity of parentage in the Bourbons it is not surprising that they display four different habits of growth.
- (E.g., Souvenir de la Malmaison) Very short and compact; behaves more like a Floribunda than a typical Bourbon.
- (E.g., Reine Victoria) Lithe of cane, quite bushy and large, up to 6′ tall, and tending to spread outward.
- (E.g., Mme. Isaac Pereire) Long basal canes and short flowering laterals.
- (E.g., Eugène Desgaches) Intermediate type between 2 and 3, the canes stout but upright and spreading.
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