History of Garden Roses
Gallica roses are descended from Rosa gallica , a wild rose native to southern and central Europe, Asia Minor and the Middle East . It was one of the prime ancestors of modern garden roses and formed the foundation of mainstream rose breeding.
The oldest known form, R. gallica 'Officinalis', the Apothecary's Rose, was introduced into France from the Near East about the early 14th Century. It was originally grown for medicinal use in the form of rose-petal syrups or conserves and later formed the basis of a rose-petal industry. It is also known as the Red Rose of Lancaster and from it came the famous sport 'Rosa Mundi' ( R. gallica 'Versicolor'). Later hybrids were raised in the 18th - 19th century and most Gallicas grown today date from this period.
Rosa gallica was one of the parents of the Damask roses.