Way back in the late 1980s, I acquired a plant of Rosa achburensis from a small, PA mail-order nursery called Appalachian Wildflower Nursery. Its owner, Don Hackenberry, was quite a character and included funny and fascinating little notes with each order. He offered many rare seed-grown plants (I still have the Corydalis nobilis I got from him too); I don’t know for sure, but I am assuming he originally grew this rose from seed from a seed exchange or a seed trade with another collector. If I remember correctly, he said it was originally collected in Kazakhstan, and apparently he introduced it to cultivation outside of Central Asia (according to this post).
I recently ran across an online reference that says Rosa achburensis is a synonym for Rosa canina, and I do see some similarities, but several other main references that mention it, including IPNI (The International Plant Names Index), RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society), and The World Flora Online, say that R. achburensis is the accepted name and don’t mention R. canina. IPNI does give Rosa arnoldii as a synonym, which is confusing, because photos of that species show very different-looking hips. Another reference says that R. achburensis is synonymous with R. aciphylla—and it sure does look like Redouté‘s illustration of R. aciphylla—but then Kew says R. aciphylla is a synonym for R. canina, which takes us back in a circle. Argh! If I ever find more definitive information, I will update the name I use; until then, I’m sticking with Rosa achburensis. I did find a French nursery that offers R. achburensis with photos and a description that exactly match my plant, so I feel pretty confident that my plants are correctly identified.
So, as far as what this rose actually looks like: Usually reaching around 5 feet tall, R. achburensis produces arching, thorny canes that carry blue-green foliage and single, bright white flowers with a prominent cluster of golden stamens in the center. Its flowering period is rather short (usually a week or two in June here, depending on how hot it is), and it doesn’t rebloom, but it does produce a fantastic display of rich orange-turning-red red, oval hips, which is reason enough to grow it. I have read it can get black spot, but I don’t find it to be particularly disease-prone. Full sun produces the best flowering and fruiting. Based on its natural range, I’m guessing it may be hardy down to Zone 4 but can’t guarantee that. I can say with confidence that it has been fully hardy here in my Zone 6/7, PA garden for over 30 years.
Collected in early November 2022. At least 15 seeds.
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.