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Hybrid roses are roses which have been cross-bred or bred by special plant breeding techniques based on the old China Roses.

Rosa chinensis.

Rosa chinensis. Credit: Javier Martin .

Hybrid Roses and Rosa Chinensis.

Hybrid Roses are simply roses which are the result of cross-breeding between two similar parents. The very first rose which seems to have started rose hybridization and got it going, was Rosa chinensis.

The very first Tea Roses were bred by using Rosa gigantea × Rosa chinensis. 

The majority of ornamental roses are Hybrids that were bred for their flowers. A few, mostly species roses, are grown for their attractive or scented foliage (such as Rosa glauca and Rosa rubiginosa), ornamental thorns (such as Rosa sericea) or for their showy fruit (such as Rosa moyesii). See Images of Rosa gigantea.

Hybrids can be created naturally from Species (Wild) roses, or by direct human intervention. If you would like to see exactly how roses are cross-bred, or maybe you want to try it for yourself, it's easy. Just check out this website which shows you the step by step process.

Roses belong to the genus Rosa, and their family name is Rosaceae which has around 100 members. I have dealt with the very earliest roses on the Old Garden Roses page, so now let's branch out a bit for another little piece of history.

The true hybrid roses which are the most popular today are the Hybrid Teas. But where did they come from? Following the earliest known roses came the Tea Roses, and they are the basis of the Hybrid Tea Roses which I'm sure are the top of the list of the most popular roses for anyone. But to get the Hybrid Teas, the Tea Roses were crossed with the Hybrid Perpetuals. See these on the Old Garden Roses page.

Just about all the roses we see today are Hybrids dating back to Rosa Chinensis. Each one has a parentage which can (hopefully) be identified. On this page I hope to gather some of the loveliest of these very old hybrid roses into one picture gallery, along with their parents.


Rosa centifolia L. × Rosa gallica L. = 'Alain Blanchard' (Vibert 1839).

Rosa alba

R. arvensis and R. x alba. = R. alba, "Maiden's Blush." Before 1400.

Rosa 'Frau Karl Druschki'

Rosa 'Frau Karl Druschki', Peter Lambert (Germany, 1901).

This rose came from a cross between: 'Merveille de Lyon' (a hybrid Perpetual) and 'Madame Caroline Testout', a Hybrid Tea.

Rosa 'Mme Caroline Testout'

'Mme Caroline Testout'.

And 'Mme Caroline Testout' came from 'Mme. de Tartas' x 'Lady Mary Fitzwilliam'.

The Hybrid Musk Roses.

Hybrid Musk Roses were created by John Pemberton (1853 - 1926). He was a clergyman and after his retirement, he began to breed roses. He used the climbing rose 'Trier' and he crossed it with Hybrid Teas to produce highly fragrant roses with 'clusters' of buds.

He first called these roses Hybrid Teas but later changed that to 'Hybrid Musks' because of a link between 'Trier' and 'Moschata' (the Musk Roses).


Hybrid Musk 'Moonlight' 1913. Pemberton.

Rose Penelope 20070601

Rosa 'Penelope' 1924. Pemberton.

Rosa 'Felicia'

Rosa 'Felicia', 1928. Pemberton.

Perfect fragrant Buff Beauty Hybrid Musk. Pale Apricot. Pemberton 1934.

Perfect, fragrant 'Buff Beauty' Hybrid Musk. Pale Apricot. 1934. (Later found to have been bred by Ann Bentall).

Other Hybrid Musks by Pemberton are:

'Clytemnestra', 'Cornelia' , 'Danae', 'Francesca', 'Kathleen', 'Nur Mahal', 'Pax White' , 'Prosperity', 'Robin Hood', 'Thisbe' and 'Vanity'.

The next generation of Hybrid Roses were the Hybrid Tea Roses.

Occasionally you may come across a lucky find: the 'sport' of a certain rose. An example right here is Rosa 'Bicolor atropurpurea', before 1590, which is a sport of Rosa foetida. The following two photos are of two different types of Rosa foetida: the yellow and the orange. The third image is a 'sport' of either one (Uncertain which one, but it may be the orange). We had a sport on a Red Camellia bush once, it was just one flower which was striped on a bush which with plain pink flowers. So we took it off and grew a whole new bush (as a cutting).

'sport' can form on the same rose bush because of environmental problems such as radiation and exposure to certain chemicals, but it can also happen as a chance mutation - an error in the genetic code of the parent bush. As you can see, it can lead to a completely new species of rose, if the environmental conditions are just right. And this is how random mutations occur in all species in Nature - Natural Selection in progress before our very eyes.

Rosa foetida

Rosa foetida yellow.

Rosa foetida 'Bicolor'

Rosa foetida orange.

Bicolor (Gerard 1596)

Rosa 'Bicolor atropurpurea', before 1590, a 'sport' of Rosa Foetida'.

Home. Return from Hybrid Roses to Types of Roses.

"The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose". - Kahlil Gibran