From the American Rose Annual:
The Yellow Rose of Texas
Percy H. Wright
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The little verses in a recent issue of the "American Rose" magazine on the identity of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" as simply the old-time hardy 'Harison's Yellow' struck a responsive chord when I read it. Although Saskatchewan is a long way from Texas, it happens that I had heard before of "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
The late Dr. F.L. Skinner of Dropmore, Manitoba, whom no private horticulturist on this continent has a more renowned name, once sent me pollen of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" for use in rose breeding. He described the flower as identical to that of 'Persian Yellow', but the plant as different, more vigorous, growing up to nine feet instead of five feet or so that we are all accustomed to seeing 'Persian Yellow' reach.
It turned out that the rose he had under the name which has given me the title of my essay, was indeed 'Persian Yellow', and that the increased height and vigor are due to its being on its own roots. How many people, rosarians included, are aware that 'Persian Yellow' will indeed grow to nine or ten feet when on its own roots? And yet, the species to which it belongs, Rosa foetida, is described as attaining ten feet in the "Rosa" section of that encyclopedia of roses, Modern Roses 7.
'Persian Yellow', in the section on varieties of roses, is given the name foetida persiana, which would lead one to conclude that 'Persian Yellow' itself would attain the same height—unless by some rare chance it might be a dwarf selection of the typical species. It isn't; I can myself attest to that, for I have seen 'Persian Yellow' plants all of nine feet high, right here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where, on account of our northerly location, one would expect somewhat less height than in the more lush country farther south. Many rose cultivars have their vigor increased by being budded on multiflora or some other understock, but 'Persian Yellow' is the exception. Its natural vigor is very considerably reduced by having multiflora as its rootstock.
In writing the foregoing, I am not disputing the identification of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" as 'Harison's Yellow'.