History of Garden Roses
Damask roses are divided into two groups - Summer (early flowering) and Autumn (recurrent flowering). The original summer Damask, Rosa damascena, is said to be the result of a cross between R. gallica and R. phoenicea which is from Syria and not hardy in Britain. R. damascena was highly prized from classical times as the main source of rose-water and later for 'attar of roses'. Today R. damascena 'Trighintipetala' (Kazanlik Rose) is widely grown in Bulgaria for the rose perfume industry.
The Autumn Damask, Rosa x bifera 'Quatre Saisons', also known as the Four Seasons Rose, is believed to be either a sport of the Summer Damask, or the result of a cross between R. gallica and R. moschata which is from the Himalayas. It was an important parent in 19th century rose breeding because of its prolonged flowering habit.
Rose damascena is thought to be an ancestor of the Alba group.