Rosa ecae Aitch.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Rosa ecae' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2023-06-07.



  • R. xanthina sens. Hook. f. in Bot. Mag. , t. 7666, not Lindl.
  • R. xanthina var. ecae (Aitch.) Boulenger


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
Bent or turned downwards.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Bearing glands.
globularSpherical or globe-shaped.
(of a leaf) Unlobed or undivided.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Rosa ecae' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2023-06-07.

A shrub up to about 4 ft high in the wild, of bushy habit, taller and laxer in cultivation; prickles crowded, up to 12 in. long, broad at the base, bristles none. Leaves 1 in. or less long, with usually seven, sometimes five or nine, leaflets, which are oval or almost round, 14 in. or so long, glandular beneath, though sometimes very sparsely so, edged with proportionately large, simple, eglandular or slightly glandular teeth. Flowers solitary, about 1 in. across, rich buttercup yellow; pedicels and calyx glabrous. Fruits globose, about 38 in. wide, crowned with the deflexed, persistent sepals. Bot. Mag., t. 7666, as R. xanthina.

Native of N.E. Afghanistan, N.W. Pakistan, and bordering parts of Russia; introduced to Britain by Dr Aitchison, who found it during the survey of the Kurram valley (now in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan). The name is an adaptation of Mrs Aitchison’s initials – ‘E.C.A.’ It is closely allied to R. xanthina.

R. ecae is an interesting and dainty rose, but now largely supplanted by other more robust members and hybrids of the Xanthina group. Although sometimes found in wet, shady places in the wild, it needs a sunny position in our climate. It does not grow well from cuttings and is best propagated by suckers or, failing that, by grafting.

R. ecae received an Award of Merit in 1933 when shown by the Knap Hill nursery. Their stock came from a garden in Rutland, where plants had been raised from seed presented to the owner by Dr Aitchison (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 72 (1947), p. 371).

For hybrids see ‘Golden Chersonese’ (p. 184) and ‘Helen Knight’ (p. 185).

R kokanica (Reg.) Reg. ex Juzepchuk

R. platyacantha var. kokanica Reg.
R. xanthina var. kokanica (Reg.) Boulenger
?R. turkestanica Reg.
?R. primula Boulenger

Leaflets somewhat larger than in R. ecae, edged with glandular-compound teeth and with larger glands on the undersurface. Otherwise scarcely differing from R. ecae. Native of Central Asia, probably extending into China. Both R. kokanica and R. ecae should probably be regarded as glandular subspecies of R. xanthina.

R primula Boulenger (1936)

R. ecae Hort., in part, not Aitch.
?R. platyacantha var. kokanica Reg.
?R. xanthina var. kokanica (Reg.) Boulenger
?R. kokanica (Reg.) Reg. ex Juzepchuk (1941)

A shrub to about 8 ft high in gardens, its branches armed with straight, somewhat compressed, broad-based prickles. Leaflets up to thirteen or even fifteen on sterile growths, but mostly nine to thirteen on flowering branchlets, obovate to oblanceolate or elliptic, up to {1/2} in. or slightly more long, densely coated beneath with large glands, edged with compound, more or less glandular teeth. Flowers 1{1/4} to 1{3/4} in. wide, primrose yellow.R. primula has an interesting history. It was raised from seeds collected for the Arnold Arboretum by F. N. Meyer in 1910 near Samarkand in Russian Central Asia, and was at first grown as R. ecae, this being the name under which the seed or plants were distributed. However, the name was questioned by those who grew the true R. ecae as introduced by Aitchison, and in 1926 E. A. Bunyard sent a foliage specimen to Boulenger, then nearing the completion of his monumental treatment of Rosa. From this sterile piece Boulenger described R. primula, but he also cited the photograph of the Meyer “R. ecae” published in New Flora and Sylva, Vol. 8 (1936), to illustrate an article by the American rosarian Horace MacFarland, and took the epithet primula from the latter’s description of the flowers as ‘pale primrose’ (p. 242 and fig.). Boulenger promised a more detailed consideration after he had studied a mature plant (one was sent to him by Bunyard in 1936/7). But illness, followed by his death in November 1937, prevented him from taking the matter further.Although Boulenger treated R. xanthina in a wide sense, he nevertheless considered his R. primula to be distinct from it and its varieties (var. ecae and var. kokanica) in its more numerous leaflets with more numerous teeth, and more broadly based prickles. This conclusion, based on very limited material, might have been modified or withdrawn had he lived to study this rose in more detail. R. primula is very closely allied to R. kokanica, both differing from R. ecae mainly in having somewhat larger and much more glandular leaflets. Indeed, Boulenger identified as R. xanthina var. kokanica a specimen collected by Meyer near Samarkand. Plants very similar to R. primula occur in northern China.R. primula received an Award of Merit in 1962. It is perhaps no more ornamental than other members and hybrids of the Xanthina complex, but the scent given off by its foliage, especially after rain, is more powerful than that of almost any other rose. The fragrance was likened by E. A. Bowles to that of Russia leather.