Closely related to Rosa odorata, and considered to be no more than a subspecies of that plant by some botanists[
Rosa duclouxii H.Lév.
Rosa macrocarpa Watt ex Crép.
Rosa odorata gigantea (Crép.) Rehder & E.H.Wilson
Rosa xanthocarpa Watt ex E.Willmott
Common Name: Manipur Wild-Tea Rose
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: T.Kiya
Close-up of the flower
Photograph by: T.Kiya
Illustration of the leaves and flowers
Photograph by: Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) and William Botting Helmsley (1843-1924)
Rosa gigantea is an evergreen shrub with long, spiny branches. These branches scramble over the ground, climbing into the surrounding vegetation and attaching itself by means of its thorns.
The plant is harvested from the wild as a local source of foods and medicines. The edible fruit is sometimes sold in local markets in the Himalayas[
]. The plant is commonly grown as an ornamental.
There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.
E. Asia - southern China, Myanmar, northern Thailand, northern Vietnam.
Ravines and grassy hills, thickets and wood margins in W. Hupeh[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Rosa gigantea is a plant mainly of the subtropics, but can also be grown in the tropics. Some provenances might tolerate occasional lows to around -10°c[
Succeeds in most soils[
], preferring a circumneutral soil and a sunny position[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes water-logged soils[
There is at least one named form, 'Belle Portugaise' has flowers 10 - 12cm across, the petals are rated very highly for their culinary uses[
Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[
Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. The fruit can be very large for a rose, and can be up to the size of a small apple[
]. The fruit is up to 30mm in diameter[
], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds[
]. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards.
Petals - used as a flavouring in sorbets, confections etc. Very fragrant[
The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[
]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[
The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[
Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[
]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[
]. Grows badly with boxwood[
Seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[
]. One possible way to shorten this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 - 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 - 32°c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3°c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate[
]. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested 'green' (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[
]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months[
]. Stored seed should be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5°c[
]. It may take 2 years to germinate[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel in a shaded frame. High percentage[
Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots that are about 20 - 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a frame[
]. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed[
Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.
Layering. Takes 12 months[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.