French Rose (Rosa gallica)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
French Rose
Rosa gallica

An essential oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery[100], as an additive to bath water and in skin care preparations[238]. Rose water, made by a cold infusion of the petals, is also added to bath water and skin care preparations[238].

The dried petals and buds are used in pot-pourri[238].

  • Medicinal Use

    The petals are antibacterial, astringent and tonic[4, 61]. They are taken internally in the treatment of colds, bronchial infections, gastritis, diarrhoea, depression and lethargy[238]. Externally, they are used to treat eye infections, sore throats, minor injuries and skin problems[238].

    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].

    The essential oil from the flowers is used in aromatherapy to counter depression, anxiety and negative feelings[238].

  • Edible Use

    Petals – raw or cooked. They can be added as a decorative garnish to salads[238], and can also be crystallised or preserved in syrup. They are also dried and used as a flavouring in tea, beverages, cakes etc[177, 183]. The dried petals and flower buds are an important ingredient in the Northern African spice mixture ‘ras-el-hanout'[238].

    Rose water, made by cold-infusing the petals, is used as a flavouring in various confections, especially ‘Turkish Delight'[238].

    The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[102, 183]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[102].

  • Cautionary Notes

    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.

Cultivation & Habitat

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].
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]. 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]. A very ornamental plant[1], the flowers have a spicy fragrance[245]. It is cultivated for its essential oil in Eastern Europe[100]. There are some named varieties[200]. ‘Officinalis’ is the Apothecary’s rose, it has been cultivated for its medicinal virtues[200]. Plants produce suckers[200]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[80]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
S. and C. Europe.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.