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A shrub of erect habit, 5 to 7 ft high, whose stems are covered with a purplish bloom, and armed with small decurved prickles; strong shoots clad with bristles and needles. Leaflets five or seven, ovate or elliptic, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long, simply toothed, quite glabrous, of a beautiful coppery or purplish glaucous hue. Flowers clear pink, 11⁄2 in. across, few in a cluster. Pedicels naked or with a few glandular bristles, which sometimes extend on to the receptacle. Sepals narrow, entire or occasionally with a few lateral appendages, 1 in. or more long, standing out beyond the petals. Fruits red, globose or nearly so, 1⁄2 in. or rather more long, usually quite smooth and with the sepals fallen away.
Native of the mountains of Europe from the Pyrenees to the Carpathians, south through western Yugoslavia to Albania. It was once grouped with R. canina, but is easily distinguished by the beautiful purplish grey colour of its leaves and its plum-coloured young stems, and also by the longer sepals. It is really more closely allied to R. majalis (cinnamomea) than to R. canina.
The leaf-colour makes R. glauca not only one of the most distinct of roses, but also the most ornamental in vegetative, as distinct from floral, characters. Planted in groups it makes a telling feature in the landscape all the summer through, and usually sets good crops of showy fruits.
For the hybrid ‘Carmenetta’ see G. S. Thomas, Shrub Roses of Today, p. 51. The other parent is R. rugosa. (R. × rubrosa I. Preston).
R. × pokornyana Kmet – A rare natural hybrid between R. glauca and R. canina, occurring occasionally where the species grow together.
The familiar name R. rubrifolia (1789) is antedated by R. glauca Pourret (1788). It is arguable that the latter name, although the earliest, should be discarded as a source of confusion, since the name R. glauca Vill. ex Loisel. (1809) has been widely used for another ally of R. canina. However, even if the name R. glauca Pourret for the present species were to be rejected it would be impossible to maintain the name R. rubrifolia, which Villars rendered illegitimate by citing his own earlier-named species R. ferruginea as a synonym. This was a taxonomic error, since his R. ferruginea, with leaflets hirsute on both sides, was clearly not the same as his R. rubrifolia, which always has perfectly glabrous leaflets. The illegitimacy of the name R. rubrifolia means that if the name R. glauca Pourret were to be left in abeyance it would be necessary to take up the next legitimate name in order of priority, which would appear to be R. rubicunda Hall, f.