"Banshee" rose References
Website/Catalog (1 May 2015) Includes photo(s).
Banshee, High Country
Shrub (Alba or Damask), origin very old.
We’ve called this shrub Banshee for years, but Denver rosarians tell us it’s something else. For now, we’ll call it "High Country Banshee". Exceptionally fragrant, clear pink, very double blooms cover this bush in early summer. Small, dark red hips and purple foliage add interest in fall. Height 6 to 10 feet, even in light shade, with excellent hardiness.
Book (2011) Page(s) 91-94. Includes photo(s).
[From "Banshee," the Rose That Still Baffles by Rev. Douglas T. Seidel]
...If you grow Old Roses where winters are colder in North America, you've probably met "Banshee" under one of its several variations and many synonyms. "Banshee" can vary in height from 3 to 8 feet. Flowers can range from a whitish blush (sometimes with deeper centers) to medium pink, semi-double to very full. Paler types are prone to "ball" in wet humid weather, and presumably this is the source of its common name....The hip in all variations of "Banshee" is very wide, thimble or acorn shaped, an important point of identification. The foliage of all "Banshees" is the same - smooth, rounded leaflets, pea green in color, turning salmon and gold in the fall. Flowering wood can be thornless, or there can be a single prickle (or even a pair of them) under each leaf. New canes, emerging from the plant's base, are moderately clothes in red prickles and bristles. Léonie Bell described the fragrance as "sweet, with perfume, as compelling as that of Rugosas or 'Quatre Saisons'; buds open to pink perfection and pour out scent."
I've encountered at least nine variations of these very hardy, generous shrubs and there must be more. "Banshee" and its kin are among the most frequently encountered Old Roses from Virginia into Canada.
..."Banshee"-type roses are definitely to be found in early nineteenth century herbarium specimens and in horticultural literature. [see text under R. rapa Bosc]....If the clues have been followed correctly, pending DNA analysis, the "Banshee" that has mystified many of us is the old R. rapa, the 'Turnip Rose', that happily persists in gardens and in the wild even when its name is confused or forgotten.
Excerpts from the discussion (continued):
....It's quite possible that certain Cinnamomeae roses, when crossed with European OGRs like a gallica, a damask, or an alba, might generate offspring with certain similarities like a turbinate receptacle and bud shape that become red herrings when trying to nail down names and origins. A cross of Rosa cinnamomea and a damask, for instance, might appear to be superficially very close to a hybrid of R. carolina or R. virginiana and the same damask. Vibert was unique for working species into his breeding program, and it would hardly be surprising to find such a cross coming from him, but even if Sangerhausen's 'Minette' is correct, it's still not identical with the roses we know from America and Scandinavia....
there are probably different clones that fall under the umbrella of Banshee (as documented well by Ms. Bell), as well as very different cultivars that are called Banshee but don't all deserve to be. Some of the Banshee clones may vary in height, but around five feet matches most of the ones I've seen. The leaves on your 'Hallie's Rose' are indeed coarse, but I don't know that they look particularly like 'Minette' - plus, your rose doesn't have the long, foliaceous sepals that 'Minette' and 'Banshee' both seem to. I don't think that 'Hallie's Rose' is an alba; based on your picture, it looks more along the lines of a centifolia or hybrid bourbon, or some such......
[Reference is made to the article "Reclassification of Rosa rapa Bosc" by Wilson Lynes, which see]
....Many years ago I obtained a form of Banshee from the blackspot resistance USDA experimental plot at Beltsville, MD (begun in the late 1950s to mid 60s) which was listed as Great Maidens Blush (this is an alba connection) and I believe that it had come from Bobbic and Adkins in NJ. It is fragrant, turbinate, and more double (it balls) than the form at my sister's home in Albany NY which doesn't ball up there. Leonie mentioned to me that there were several forms of Banshee and she was unsure how they all were related. It doesn't preclude the fact that roses do mutate and I would guess with all of the suckering there has been great opportunity for that variance when factoring in the time and the many places it has been grown. I am not remembering any significant hips on it, but it may be because most of the blooms do not open readily for me. I suspect that suckers are the most readily available means of propagation for folks who would share plants.
Excerpts from the discussion;
...I was reading Leonie Bell's account of Banshee
when I wondered if she had chosen the wrong rose to nominate as Banshee. Why would anyone keep and passalong a screwed up rose, one that balled and wouldn't open? All those versions she had been sent were suckers or seedlings from the original plant.
She describes Banshee as possibly a cross between rosa rapa and Maiden's Blush. I've just spent two hours on google trying to find a picture of rosa rapa. What turns up are very old accounts of it at google books and a painting by Redoute. Redoute has painted it as double and light red. It has nine leaves. I could find nothing at the Canadian rose Society, other wild species groups, etc. They name rosa blanda, rosa nutkana, and rosa acicularis
Pickering did not sell it. Helpmefind has no supplier. These old accounts of this rose describe it as occurring above the the Arctic Circle, possibly on Hudson Bay, and they say Eskimo women loved to put them in their hair. Rosa blanda is called the Hudson Bay Rose. The flowers of r. rapa are described as loosely double and pale, while rosa blanda is your usually single pink western rose.
One learned English botanist last century said rosa rapa shouldn't be classified as a rose, because of the turnip shaped calyx.
The other day I happened to say that Jon's rose Rose reminded me of my rose, Hallie's rose also doing business as Banshee. Why? It was the height. I could find nothing about the height of r. rapa., except for one excerpt from Graham Thomas's book and a bit about it in Stirling Macoboy, all found when discussing JonÃs rose, Rose d'Amour. Thomas said he'd wrongly identified it as r.virginia, and it wasnÃt Rose d'Orsay either. He thought it might be rosa rapa due to the calyx. And yes, everybody said Rose d'Amour is extremely tall....
....I looked at your close-up, and you can tell from the foliage and from the sepals that there isn't a lick of virginiana in Hallie's Rose - it doesn't look anything like 'Banshee', except in the most abstract sense, and doesn't have any of the tell-tale 'Banshee' traits. It looks more pure European old garden rose to me.....
....Hallie's Rose doesn't look like the Banshees that we have in the cemetery. Our roses look like the Helpmefind photos posted by A Woodland Rose Garden - very double, paler pink, with extravagant sepals.....I have heard some speculation that 'Minette' is the same as "Banshee" - and that this rose is often found in Finland and other northern European countries. I haven't seen 'Minette,' either, although its description, including the tendency for the flowers to ball, sounds familiar. ....
.... charm of the tiny, tight-scrolled buds which unroll very slowly (so that shape almost defines the look of the bloom). Also as mentioned the Autumn colouring beginning in the photo taken this morning - and the quite significant rebloom. The canes are long, lax and wiry. Left to its own devices the shrub would mound on the ground. It is better displayed in a garden tied loosely to a large tripod where it can arch from a greater height. It is only pruned to take out dead twiggy material, and is now (after about 10 years) about 9 feet tall. I cannot see any trace of 'Alba' in any part of the plant - nor 'Damask', really. It has the 'feel' of a true or near -species, rather as the other slightly unlikely double 'Californica'. It is likely a hybrid, and wouldn't it be nice to think that it was the rose GST mentions: ' According to my old friend Gordon Coe of Elgin, Morayshire, there is at Lochloy, Nairn, a plant of 'Rose d'Amour' which was given to the then owner of the property, Miss Burnaby, in the late eighteenth century by George Washington.'....
....I have the species Rosa virginiana and once had the the High Country Roses version of 'Banshee' which looks identical to your 'Hallies.' I can see no viginiana similarity to 'Banshee' other than the outrageous, suckering. The species has glossy little leaves and smaller hips. I agree, 'Hallie' looks like a plain old Euro-OGR mongrel. Jon's photos look just like a double form of Rosa virginiana. But blooms in September?! That inplies something else is in there, but we'll never know....
.... I am certain that 'Banshee' is a hybrid - probably of Rosa virginiana (or some variant or hybrid of that species) with a European old garden rose; it's just impossible to say precisely what class that other European parent may have been without rigorous testing. "Minette" is absolutely the same rose, but it is NOT the 'Minette' of Vibert, which was an alba and whose old descriptions absolutely rule out the possibility of it being the rose masquerading with that name today. That mistake was made by a European rosarian visiting Sangerhausen, where the rose we know as "Banshee" (and which has other, equally valid old names in Scandinavia) was mislabeled as 'Minette', and careful review of the evidence was not conducted before drawing a wrong conclusion and perpetuating that incorrect name throughout Scandinavia. That mistake has arrived on our continent now through Canada, and although the gentleman I spoke with at Pickering agreed to change the name in their catalog this fall (adding that their plant came from Corn Hill, where the owner had said it may be the same as 'Banshee'), I find that they have not done so.....
....Everywhere I look, checking into this rose, I run into all things Scottish. Queen Josephine's gardener was Scottish. His name was Hewartson, according to Stirling Macoboy.
Trying to chase Hallie's Rose back to Canada, I was immediately stymied. Her married name was Nesbeth, a name found in Scotland and Ireland. www.familysearch readily turned up some Scottish Nesbeths living in Brantford, Ontario in the 1800's. Brantford is just down the road from Hamilton, where Paul Barden got his copy of Banshee. Brantford is known as the blooming capital of Canada, and the Royal Botanical Gardens are located at Hamilton. Alexander Graham Bell lived there. (Scottish.)...
....For 'Banshee', a height of about five feet is pretty typical. It suckers greatly, but it isn't a lengthy grower; it's actually pretty sturdy and bushy. 'Rose d'Amour' is supposed to be taller, but they are not the same rose. It would be pretty wild speculation to guess that Hallie's Rose is a parent of 'Banshee', though.....
..... I suspect that there are some differences between the Sangerhausen rose and those grown previously in Scandinavia as Rosa x suionum or Mustialanruusu, etc. Its blooms have a characteristic button eye and symmetrical form I've never seen in another 'Banshee', the flowers come in larger clusters than I've seen 'Banshee' do, and the receptacle appears to be both less turbinate and much smoother than typically very glandular receptacle and sepals of 'Banshee'. I do not normally find pictures of other 'Minette' specimens in Scandinavia or elsewhere like that at Sangerhausen, leading me to believe that either wood was never spread from that garden, or it has been slow to spread compared to the dominance of the pre-existing plants. I think more study will be necessary before it's possible to say whether the Sangerhausen 'Minette' is even part of the 'Banshee'/'Mustialruusu'/R. x suionum clan. Mr. Merker's initial judgment synonymizing these roses seems to have been premature.....
Article (website) (2007) Includes photo(s).
...'Banshee' is sometimes confused with 'Maiden's Blush' or others of the Alba clan...The bloom has alba-like qualities, but that is where the similarities end...
[The author reprints the article "Banshee: The Great Impersonator" by Leonie Bell from the 1977 American Rose Annual and adds photos.]
Book (2006) Page(s) 85-86. Includes photo(s).
...A rose that has been a companion of mine for many years is 'Banshee'. Experts differ as to how ro categorize this rose, some placing it with the Gallicas, others with the Damasks. I'll leave the bickering to the botanists and rosarians as I blissfully enjoy its lush perfume and robust blooms that appear for a few weeks in June. Located on the soth side, near the end of my property, this rose stands out as I walk to my back garden. Its 8-foot-long, thick, thorny canes, which bend near the top, ...Once fall approaches, 'banshee' displays a rich tapestry of fall foliage colors, including mahogany, tawny brown, and yellow. ...Although not considered a climber, 'Banshee' can definitely be used in this fashion.
Book (2002) Page(s) 23.
Banshee Shrub, medium pink, very double, 1928. Rated 6.7
Book (Apr 1993) Page(s) 40.
Banshee Shrub, pink, Origin unknown, 1928. Description.
Book (1985) Page(s) 110.
Banshee Since writing about this truly venerable hybrid, "The Great Impersonator", rather exhaustively in the 1977 Rose Annual, no further clues of any importance have turned up. I still sense it is part of the Rosa rapa complex to be found only ..
Article (magazine) (1977) Page(s) 1. Includes photo(s).
....[referring to an article by Percy H. Wright in 1940] Much was to be learned from Mr. Wright's experience. The strange name derived from the fact that many buds failed to open; this notorious fault was due to the degree of doubleness and not to unseasonal weather; the plant was capable of sporting both as to petal number and petal color, and therefore might exist in other forms (for instance, Bunyard's version must not have balled); when semidouble it was fertile with a native species having 28 chromosomes, and if this species were Virginiana (for which R. lucida is synonymous and now obsolete), then the extreme hardiness, scent, and proclivity to sucker would be explained....Mr. Wright then told how he'd tried to incorporate Banshee into his breeding program, without success, for when at all double, the offspring invariably balled. ...[From Horticulture, 1951] There has been a good deal of speculation about what the right name of the Banshee rose is, for obviously it has been renamed right in the "blizzard country" where it has proved best adapted. A letter received just today from a rose correspondent in New York . . . suggests it is none other than the famous old "Maiden's Blush" : This suggestion has been made before but Mr. Skinner [this, in 1951 ] at once denied its validity. The flower of the Maiden's Blush rose is better than the flower of Banshee, and was not troubled by balling in my climate, but the plant was so much less hardy than Banshee that they all died out within a year or two.
During the summer of 1947, Mr. Skinner took a trip to Northern Europe, visiting Sweden among other countries. While there, he noticed the Banshee rose growing in abotanical garden under the name of Rosa amoena grandiflora. "Amoena" translates to charming, while "grandiflora" means large-flowered, both but a garden name, botanically a dead-end.
Back in 1956 I initiated a correspondence with Mr. Wright with the idea of obtaining stock of his Banshee, but I need not have bothered. That spring, two sets of roots came from Crosby in the farthest northwest corner of North Dakota. The pair were labeled simply "Maiden's Blush" as they were known locally out in that most frigid part of the country. The following spring as I peered and poked at the unfolding leaf-buds, the realization struck that here were no Albas at all. Already established in the garden were Maiden's Blush, Great and Small, from Hilling's, England, and Alba Semi-plena from Bobbink & Atkins and as a collected plant. The Alba characters were fixed in my visual memory beyond any question.
That same spring, when three more arrived from the Hudson Valley, New York, each called Banshee but with extra descriptive words to indicate slight differences, their new leaves left no doubt that they and the North Dakotans were identical.
As the Crosby pair sent out first the fresh green leaves, smooth, with wedgeshaped bases, then tight clusters of buds preceded by unbelievably long sepals, I wondered why no one had written how beautiful they were. Finally, as each kind showed color, I held my breath, so to speak: they did not ball! Yes, the scent was very nice though would not be fully appreciated until a year or two later. And marvel of marvels, the less double set quite a few round dull red hips.
....In her book of 1935, Old Roses, Mrs. Keays, who must have been in close correspondence with Prof. Hamblin, expressed thanks to him for his gift of Alba Flore Pleno, "which set us right with the Alba roses from the beginning." She described her two pink "Albas", "Clustering Maiden's Blush" and "Celestial", then dropped the subject abruptly, only to resume her uneasiness about Albas in the Annuals of 1937 and 1941:
Clustering Maiden's Blush is an Alba which we have found repeatedly around old cabins and in the oldest neighboring gardens. It has the fascination of a delicate color and texture which its name expresses, Foliage is less blue than the type; the calyx is round and blunt like a thimble. The long sepals tapering to a slim point are sometimes spatulate, but not so decorative as the more fern-like sepals of the type Albas.
She also adopted Prof. Hamblin's terminology for her oddly different pink roses and called attention again to the unusual receptacle or calyx-tube:
The turbinate calyx occurs in another rose much more widely spread [than R. francofurtana] -the Alba, var. Rubicunda, where lies the ancient Maiden's Blush. In this group the blue-green of Alba gives way and the foliage is pale and not positively blue . . . The Maiden's Blush roses have a blunt calyx-tube, like a thimble . . . The pink Alba is delicately green, at this time taking on a lovely autumn salmon color. The bush is lady-like, pastellish; neat and clean . . . tough and enduring.
In some instances "thimble" well describes the shape of the green swelling below the petal mass. Her observation about the fall foliage color is accurate, too. Roses are not noted for good color then and many drop their leaves inconspicuously. A few American species develop vivid autumn color, ones like R. nitida and R. virginiana. The Banshee plants here, while not exactly flashy, are decidedly noticeable come October.
A small black and white photograph arrests our attention in that 1937 Annual: it shows Mrs. Keays' two "Albas", Clustering Maiden's Blush and Celestial. Notice that both have the Banshee foliage and, if you examine the few buds with a small lens, you will see that the calyx-tubes match two forms in the accompanying drawing.
...Other photographs reveal their secrets under scrutiny. Roy Shepherd described two Albas in his book, The History of the Rose, 1954. One, his "Small Maiden's Blush", he presumed to be "possibly a Rosa alba x Rosa centifolia hybrid", adding, "Some writers confused it with the Banshee Rose of Canada, but there are many points of difference." There may have been floral distinctions, but the foliage had to be the same. Both were Banshees; both balled. What is strange is the large clear photo of a rose he called "Mme. Zoutman", a Damask. It is plainly another Banshee, a very fine form.
When Victoria Sackville-West wrote in the 1963 Annual about her "Roses in the Garden", I had to smile at her problem with one: And finally . . may 1 mention R. californica flore-pleno? I owe this to the kindness of Mrs. Fleischman who gave me a rooted cutting straight from California. Not knowing in the least what this was going to turn into, I stuck it into the front of the border, where within two or three years it formed a bush ten feet high and eight feet through. So, beware! It flowers madly, and is in every way a treasure, only I wish I dared move it and am wondering where it is going to stop.