'Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China' rose References
Magazine (2013) Page(s) 13. Vol 35, No. 1.
p12. Illustration: Redoute's Indica sulphurea - Bengale Jaune Souffre discussed in the following article.
Patricia Routley, Western Australia. 'Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China'.
There are a lot of myths around roses that you must fight your way through and you just have to part the misty myths of time to get at the truth. One of the myths is that there were just four stud china roses. Not true of course; there were quite a lot of roses that came out of China, and possibly more than one that went into that land as well. The so-called four stud chinas made famous by Dr C.C. Hurst (and here is a mnemonic I made up to help remember them: “Only the SLATER saw the PARSON BLUSHing in the PARK”) were: ‘Slater’s Crimson China’, ‘Parsons’ Pink China’, ‘Hume’s Blush Tea-Scented China’, and ‘Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China’. These days, the first two, Slater’s and Parsons’, are classified as china roses, Hume’s seemed to be a china-tea, and possibly Parks’ also, but came to be considered a tea.
In 1824 John Parks bought this last rose from the famous Fa Tee Nurseries near the port of Canton and shipped potted plants to England. I don’t know what the Chinese called it, but some names given to it over the years were R. odorata ochroleuca, R. x odorata ochroleuca, ‘Flavescens’, ‘Jaune ancien’, ‘Jaune ancienne’, ‘Lutescens Flavescens’, ‘Sulphur Yellow China’, ‘Yellow Tea’, ‘Old Yellow Tea’ and ‘Amber Rose’. It seems Dr Hurst was the person who in 1941 coined the modern name that stuck - ‘Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China’. There was a little confusion about the country of origin because plants from China were rested and/or grown on in Calcutta, India gardens before embarking again on the long journey to Europe. Some of these plants became known as ‘Indica something-or-others’, and sometimes as Bengal plants. ‘Parks’ Yellow’ reached France in 1825, America in 1828 and in 1830 it was listed as R. odorata ochroleuca by Alexander McLeay among 34 roses planted in his Sydney garden. ’Parks’ Yellow’ was a sulphur, straw-coloured, 4-inch double rose, flowering singly. Although said to be a fairly weak grower, it set many seeds and was the ancestor of many delicately coloured roses, (two of which are still grown in my garden, ‘Devoniensis’ 1838, and ‘Safrano’ 1839). But by 1882, and some say even earlier by 1842, the small, repeat-flowering rose was lost and gone. When you think about it, how many pot plants live on for decades, especially the teas from warm climates being asked to survive in England’s cold, and it is no wonder it died there. But why did 'Parks' Yellow' not survive in the warmer parts of America, Australia or France? There were thousands sold. Perhaps it just goes back to it being a weak grower to start with and possibly its numerous descendents outdid the parent in beauty. The picture on the previous page may be that of the original rose, but more likely it is one of the early seedlings. A hundred years after it was last heard of in 1882 the original, long-dead rose was usurped by a once-flowering spring climber of delicate hue which for a few decades was paraded around the world as ‘Parks’ Yellow Tea-Scented China’.
p14. ‘Fée Opale’ The climbing rose grown and sold around the world today........
Article (magazine) (2011) Page(s) 158.
The other three varieties [of Rosa odorata] (aside from the typical variety) have double to semi-double-petaled flowers, are found mainly in human-disturbed areas in the Yunnan province of China and are occasionally cultivated in other areas.
....Rosa odorata var. pseudindica (2n = 2x = 14; Jian et Al. 2010) has yellow to orange flowers and is distributed in the northwestern Yunnan province. ...
Table 1 The main morphological characters, distribution information, and chromosome number of varieties of R. odorata and R. chinensis, with respective names taken from Hurst's (1941) descriptions
R. odorata var. pseudindica; 2n = "x = 14; Double; Yellow or orange; NW Yunnan in China; Parks' Yellow Tea-Scented China
Book (Dec 2000) Page(s) 83.
Parks' Yellow Tea-Scented China
China [country] [with Parks] 1824
Book (2000) Page(s) 484.
'Parks' Yellow Tea-Scented China', syn. 'Bengale Soufre' (among many others), was imported to England from China by John Damper Parks, and released in England in 1824. Vibert is credited with introducing it to France; and it is indeed said that Hardy and Laffay had it later that year as well, whether from Vibert or independently, we do not know. Pirolle writes, "Messieurs DuBourg, Hardi [sic], and Grandidier saw it boom last year in London, and now (May 24, 1826) fanciers can see it bloom at the Luxembourg." Vibert....carefully lists it as 'Jaunâtre' ("yellowish").
Book (1997) Page(s) 18. Includes photo(s).
Book (Apr 1993) Page(s) 432.
Tea (OGR), medium yellow, 1824, (R. x odorata ochroleuca (Lindley) Rehder; R. indica ochroleuca Lindley). Introduced into England in 1824. Introduced as the original Tea rose. Flowers pale yellow, double.
Book (Jun 1992) Page(s) 55.
Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China ('Old Yellow Tea', R. odorata ochroleuca, 'Flavescens', 'Lutescens Flavescens', 'Lutescens flavescens jaune yellow') Tea. Parks, 1824. [The author cites information from different sources and a number of entries relating to how it was found.]
Book (1981) Page(s) 79.
This rose, extinct in Europe, was brought from China in May 1824 by the Horticultural Society's J. D. Parks and was described by Lindley in 1826. Crossed with an original Blush Noisette (R. moschata X Pink China), it is a parent of the old yellow Tea roses and yellow Noisettes, which, through it, derive their colouring from the yellow-flowered Yunnan form of R. gigantea.
Book (1978) Page(s) 54.
'Park's Yellow Tea-scented China': According to Hurst, this rose very soon found its way to M. Eugene Hardy in Paris, whom we have already met in connection with x Hulthemosa hardii; and it became a popular pot plant in Paris, as Thomas Rivers records in his Rose Amateur's Guide. Unfortunately it had disappeared in sixty years, for Hurst said no living material had been available since 1882.
Article (magazine) (29 Mar 1975) Page(s) 39.
At this same time, Joseph Sabine, Secretary of the Horticultural Society of London, now the Royal Horticultural Society, was busy arousing the interest of the Society's Council in the garden value of chrysanthemums, which had been first introduced to this country in 1790 from France, although they had originated in China and Korea. Sabine's appetite had been whetted by forty or so Chinese paintings sent to the Society by John Reeves. Evidently Sabine's enthusiasm was infectious, for despite a deficit £1200 (an enormous sum in those days), the Society decided to send out to China a young gardener in their employ, John Damper Parks, with instructions "to collect among other specimens, as many good varieties of Chrysanthemum as possible."
Parks set out in 1823, met Reeves and was full of praise for the kindness and advice the experienced plantsman offered. In 1824 he returned with sixteen new varieties of chrysanthemum, which must have pleased Sabine mightily, the first aspidistra to be seen in Europe, the yellow form of the Banksian Rose, R. banksiae lutea and most importantly for the future development of roses, a yellow form of the Tea Rose which was given the name 'Parks' Yellow Tea-scented China'. John Lindley, then the Assistant Secretary of the Society's garden, with a delightful disregard of mixing the two Classical languages, assigned it the botanical name R. odorata ochroleuca. There is not much doubt that Lindley was prompted to discard the Latin flavescens, meaning "yellow" in favour of the Greek word meaning "yellowish-white" as being closer to the colour of the blooms.
'Parks' Yellow' was sent by Lindley to Eugene Hardy, Keeper of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris in 1825 and it quickly became a very popular pot plant. Thomas Rivers records seeing hundreds of plants in the Paris markets "gaily wrapped in coloured paper so that the spending of a franc on such a pretty object is hard to resist". According to Hurst, no living material has been available since 1882. Recent searches, alas, confirm his statement. (It may, of course, still exist in China but that possibility has not been explored.)