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ROSA gallica var. officinalis

Image of Rosa gallica var. officinalis

Mark A. Miller



Botanical Name

ROSA gallica var. officinalis

Plant Common Name

Gallica Rose, The Apothecary's Rose

General Description

Highly fragrant, semi-double flowers of crimson pink are the highlight of this regal old-fashioned rose. One of the most famed and ancient of cultivated roses, the apothocary's rose has been grown since early times for its fragrant petals that were used medicinally, to flavor food, and to make perfume. European in origin, this vibrant pink-flowered shrub rose is relatively compact, very thorny and may sucker. It was commonly grown during medieval times but is still cultivated and valued today. The foliage is quite robust and disease resistant.

Rosa gallica has relatively dense stems lined with very prickly thorns. Its compound leaves have three to seven bluish green leaflets. Each leaflet is oval with serrated edges. The fragrant roses bloom in spring or early summer and are solitary. Each semi-double bloom is bright crimson pink with a flush of yellow stamens on the center. Blooming may last five to six weeks. Bees and other insect pollinators visit the blooms and smooth, oval, reddish brown hips follow.

Roses prefer full to partial sun, moderate temperatures and perfectly drained, slightly acid soil with average to good fertility. They grow best in places with slightly dry climates, because such climates disfavor the fungal diseases that plague them. For this reason, it is important to maintain good airflow within and between planted roses through good planting and pruning practices which will dissuade fungal attacks. Roses are also susceptible to a suite of viral and bacterial diseases as well as insect pests, so it is wise to select a robust and resistant cultivar when choosing a rose. This hybrid is relatively cold-tender and will not winter in areas such as the northern United States.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Width

    3'-5' / 0.9m - 1.5m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Europe, Mediterranean, Turkey

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Hot Pink, Crimson

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Blue Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number

    Single, Semi-Double

  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing