Originally thought to be a species, Alba roses are now known (through modern DNA tests) to be an ancient natural hybrid of Rosa canina and Rosa damascene. Rosa canina commonly known as the "Dog Rose" earned its name from the thorns that were said to represent the teeth of the dog i.e. Canines and Rosa damascena refers to the origins of this Rose i.e. Damascus in the Middle East. The Romans who did indeed roam (for roam read conquer) are purported to have introduced Alba Roses to Britain. Rosa x alba quickly adapted to its new habitat and grew wild throughout ancient Britain. The name Alba literally translated means white and some historians say this may be why Britain was known as The Isle of Albion in ancient times but I think it is more likely to refer to the White Cliffs of Dover or perhaps it was because the ancient Brits were a pale and pasty lot! No package deals to Majorca in those days.
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Alba roses all have the following characteristics:-
-White or pastel summer flowers that are delightfully fragrant
-Large grey-green foliage on slender stems
-Upright tall growth habit
-Very hardy with good disease resistance
-Low maintenance with only a light prune required after flowering
The most famous Alba rose is commonly known as "The White Rose of York", used as an emblem for the House of York during the War of the Roses (1455-1485). This rose is still grown and loved by modern gardeners today with the only battle being fought at the local Horticultural Society.