The issue of Rosa chinensis

Many users post photos of the cultivated garden roses that frequently and erroneously are identfied as Rosa chinensis.
Unfortunately this is just a common plance and actually these rose are only complex hybrids that cannot receive a botanical name.
I had written a journal post to raise users’ awareness on what R. chinensis really is:

In these days I noticed that there is a user who provide a high number of wrong identifications as R. chinensis to observations of such double-flowered garden roses. So, how to address such issue (if it represents an issue for the community) and to stop the spread of a false belief?


The easiest thing to do (albeit likely least effective), is to send them a message privately or as a comment in one of the observations they have made an ID on linking your journal post. Hopefully the outcome is that they read it and amend their ID’s, but it probably isn’t too important considering the cultivated status?

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I’m not sure if there’s a way to do this, but if something isn’t already in the system, you might make a curatorial request and see if they could add “Rosa x (cultivated hybrid)” to the list of taxa to choose from. That would give people someplace to put these where they feel like they’ve been identified.


We used to have one of those for daylily hybrid and then someone took it away again. Very frustrating. So I wonder if there is some kind of debate around that approach.

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From an earlier comment - I have learnt to ID simply as Rosa.
If someone adds a species later, I add a comment - cultivar / variety of Rosa, (NOT a random and wrong species - but I don’t write that)

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I’ve been going through the observations of the species in California and bumping them back up to genus level, leaving a comment saying that species names don’t really apply to cultivated hybrids.

Unfortunately in at least one county, there are now so many captive genus-level Rosa observations that new Rosa observations now get automatically marked as captive unless they are IDed to one of the native species, which is an issue.

I’m always a bit hesitant correcting people who identify roses to genus, maybe they know something I don’t?

I do bump it up to genus-level if it’s clearly wrong like someone marking it as a native rose like Rosa californica where the petals, leaves, or hips are wrong.

Maybe in such cases where they’re identifying a cultivated rose inappropriately, asking for the cultivar name per ICNCP might help cut down on this? For example:

And at least on the other side of the US the identotron will happily auto-ID a cultivated rose as a leaf disease, because there are RG observations of the disease, but all of the (oh so many more) observations of cultivated roses are sad, gray casual. We need the auto ID to become aware of cultivated species sooner rather than later.


I was wondering that myself. “Rosa hybrid” isn’t a valid scientific name, it’s more of a description, so I guess that could be why those options aren’t generally offered. They’re useful, though…

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