Fragrant Varieties of Rose
Authors: D. V. S. Raju, Markandey Singh and Namita
Division of Floriculture and landscaping
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-110012

In everyday life fragrance plays an important role in many biological functions. Flowers have been known for a long time to be source of sweet fragrance. For centuries roses have played an important role in human society. Their ornamental value is not only for their size and shape. The abundance of flowering and their fragrance have attracted attention. As plant breeding has evolved over the last centuries into a science rather than art, and plant production has become an industrial process, the focus has changed to plant production parameters rather than flower fragrance. This became even more pronounced after the emphasis is more on vase life and the flower fragrance had a negative correlation with the vase life of cut roses. In case of roses this has led to the development of many beautiful roses in the sense of flower colour and shape with an enhanced vase life but with only a portion of the fragrance of earlier cultivars and wild species. Rose flowers provide one of the most important essential oils which are indispensable in perfumery production. More than 400 volatile compounds have been identified by GC-MS and it has been found that most of these substances belong to the following three major biosynthetic pathways: phenyl propanoids, fatty acid derivatives and terpenoids. Most modern rose cultivars lack a distinct scent because selection for disease resistance, long vase life as well as appearance of the blossom dominated the breeding activity for many years. About 20% of all rose varieties known today are classified as fragrant. The fragrance profiles range from flowery aspects to fresh citrus, spicy aspects and a typical musk scent. The three species Rosa damascena, R. centifolia and R alba are predominantly used in the production of rose oils. There are actually over two dozen different sorts of rose scents that contribute to the rose's fragrance, with some roses having a mixture of these various perfumes. The seven basic scents that are most often found in hybrid tea roses include rose, nasturtium, orris, violet, apple, lemon, and clover. Some of the other scents are fern or moss, hyacinth, orange, bay anise, lily-of-the-valley, linseed oil, hone, wine, marigold, quince, geranium, peppers, parsley, and raspberry. Some of the famous garden rose varieties known for their fragrance are


Double Delight is a hybrid tea rose. The buds are long, pointed to urn shaped. The double blossoms (35 petals) have a rich, creamy white to pale pink center with deep, ruby edging. It has a bushy habit, growing to about 4-5 feet with a 2-3 footspread. The blossoms have a strong fruity fragrance.


Elle is a hybrid tea rose. She displays above average disease resistance, especially to black spot and mildew. The blossoms are a soft, shell pink set off by glossy, dark green foliage. The blosoms have a spicy, citrusy scent. Elle promises to make an excellent cut flower.


This is a climber. It blooms in clusters of large flowers in vibrant red with white stripes, on long canes. The scent is exceptional. This is a recurrent flowering variety.


A hybrid tea and an AARS winner. Memorial Day produces pink flowers with a lavender glow. The fragrance is damask type.


This HT was developed in 1992. Buds are urn shaped, flowers bright, non fading yellow, double, 3.5-4 inch, exhibition form, borne mostly singly. Midas Touch is a hybrid tea with a warm, musky scent. Foliage large, medium green, tall upright bushy growth


The is a hybrid tea and is very popular among rose growers. The flowers are strongly scented and velvety.


This is a striped variety with burgundy and creamy white stripes and spicy fragrance. Flowers double, 25-30 petals, 4-4.5 inch, exhibition form, borne in large clusters, prickles moderate, foliage large quilted medium green , matt, compact medium growth.


Sheer Bliss is a delicate, pale pink hybrid tea developed in 1985. Flowers white pink centre, large double, 35 petals, exhibition form, borne singly, spicy fragrance, medium brown prickles, foliage medium green, bushy growth.

Papa Mielland

This HT variety evolved by Alain Mielland in 1963 is a winner of James Alexander Gamble Fragrance Medal. The buds are pointed, flowers dark velvety crimson, large double with 35 petals, exhibition form, intense fragrance, foliage leathery, glossy, olive green, vigorous with upright growth.

Lady Hillingdon

The buds are long pointed, flowers deep apricot yellow, semi-double with tea fragrance, foliage bronze with bushy growth.

Blue Moon

This hybrid tea was developed in 1965. The buds are long pointed, flowers lilac, double, 40 petals, 4 inches, intense fragrance and vigorous growth

Blue Perfume

This HT variety was developed in 1978. the buds are ovoid, flowers mauve bluish, large, double, intense fragrance, foliage glossy with upright growth.

General MacArthur

This Hybrid Tea variety was developed way back in 1905. The flowers are rose red, double, 20 petals with intense damask fragrance, foliage leathery.


This HT was developed in 1964. The buds are ovoid, flowers dark red, double, 48 petals, 4-5.5 inch, exhibition form, intense fragrance, foliage leathery, dark matt, vigorous bushy growth.

Charles Mallerin

This Ht was evolved in 1951. The flowers are blackish crimson, double 38 petals, 6 inch flat, intense fragrance, foliage leathery, dark, vigorous irregular growth.

Chrysler Imperial

This HT was developed in 1952. The buds are long pointed, flowers deep red, velvety, very double 45-50 petals, 4.5-5 inch, exhibition form , borne singly intense fragrance, foliage dark, semi glossy, vigorous compact growth.

Fragrant Delight

This floribunda variety was evolved in 1978. Flower light orange salmon; reverse deeper, double, 22 petals, 3 inch, intense fragrance, foliage glossy, reddish.

Rose Sherbet

This is the first variety bred by legendary Dr. B. P. Pal. A seedling of well known rose ‘Gruss an Teplitz’. Colour glowing deep pink, scented and good for mass planting as hedge.


A HT variety developed by Bhattacharji in 1964. Long and bold buds, ranging from pure red to scarlet open into large, loose flowers. Gloriously scented.


A HT variety developed at IARI in 1980. Greenish white buds developing into creamy white, very large, high centred and well formed blooms. The flowers are borne singly and in bunch of two or three on a strong shoot. Upright tall growing bush with light green foliage. Very good exhibition rose, vigorous with strong fragrance.


A HT variety developed at IARI in 1980. Rose Bengal coloured well formed blooms of very large size and high centre are borne singly on medium and strong shoots. Highly fragrant. Medium spreading bush.


A HT variety evolved at IARI in 1991. Shining red, high centred double blooms are produced in singles on strong and straight stems. Sweet fragrance. Recurrent blooming habit tending to produce quality blooms even in off season.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am working as scientist in floriculture