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Rosa x damascena - Mill.                
Common Name Damask Rose
Family Rosaceae
Known Hazards There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation, this species is probably a hybrid involving R. centifolia[11, 74].
Range W. Asia.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Rosa x damascena is a deciduous Shrub growing to 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Rosa x damascena Damask Rose
Rosa x damascena Damask Rose
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Fruit;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Young shoots - raw or cooked[105, 177]. Best used when they are still red-coloured, they are peeled before being eaten[183]. Petals - cooked. They are the source of 'attar of roses' and 'rose water', and are used as a flavouring for drinks, sweets, baked goods, ice cream etc[183]. The petals are also used to make jam[74]. Fruit - raw or cooked. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter[200], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds[K]. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards. The leaves are used as a seasoning. The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground into a powder and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[102, 183]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[102].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Aperient;  Astringent;  Cancer;  Cardiac;  Tonic.

The petals are applied externally as an astringent[240]. They are also made into a preserve and used as a tonic that helps to put on weight[240]. The buds (the report does not say if it is leaf or flower buds) are aperient, astringent, cardiac and tonic[240]. They are used for removing bile and cold humours[240]. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[214].
Other Uses

An essential oil obtained from the flowers is much used for perfumery and as a flavouring[1, 46, 57, 171]. 1000g yields 0.5g of oil[61].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most soils[11], preferring a circumneutral soil and a sunny position[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes water-logged soils[200]. The plant resists frost[74]. A very ornamental plant[1], the flowers are very fragrant[245]. This species is commonly cultivated for its essential oil[57]. It is a parent of many varieties of perpetual-flowering garden roses[1]. Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[18, 20]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[18, 20]. Grows badly with boxwood[18]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[80]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Seed. Rose seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[80]. One possible way to reduce this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 - 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 - 32°c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3°c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate[80]. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested 'green' (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[80]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5°c[200]. It may take 2 years to germinate[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if the plants are more than 25cm tall, otherwise grow on in a cold frame for the winter and plant out in late spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring[78]. High percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 - 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame[78, 200]. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed[78]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions. Layering. Takes 12 months[11].
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[11]Bean. W. Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[57]Schery. R. W. Plants for Man.
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[74]Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[80]McMillan-Browse. P. Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
[102]Kavasch. B. Native Harvests.
Another guide to the wild foods of America.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[171]Hill. A. F. Economic Botany.
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some a bit of detail about the plants it does cover.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[214]Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994.
A quarterly magazine, it has articles on Himalayacalamus hookerianus, hardy Euphorbias and an excellent article on Hippophae spp.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.

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Subject : Rosa x damascena  

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