Rosa Chinensis ‘Viridiflora’: The Green Rose

Rosa chinensis 'Viridiflora' (The Green Rose)

Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’, the green rose, is a curiosity that has small whorls of bracts in place of flowers. The bracts are like tiny leaves, with jagged edges and reddish tips and/or streaks. These examples were photographed at The Antique Rose Emporium, and are neater in form than some others I’ve seen. While never showy, the rose repeats well and has a light, peppery, spicy scent.

As it lacks true flowers, Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’ is sterile. The rose has been traced back to 1845, but may be much earlier than that. Since the first chance mutation was noticed and admired enough to multiply, it has been kept in circulation by rooting or grafting.

Famously described as a little monstrosity when it was first exhibited in Paris, it is mostly grown by rosarians and used by florists.