Rugosa roses derived from the ancestor of this group: Rosa rugosa, also called ‘Ripple Rose’ because the leaves are so strongly veined, which causes a wrinkled effect. The Rosa rugosa is a shrub that was brought to Western Europe around the end of the nineteenth century from Japan, China and Korea. Rugosas grow well in poor, sandy soils and its flowering season is longer than that of most old roses, starting in early summer and continuing for some four months. Their other feature is the large, rounded hips; however most hybrids and the double types do not produce hips. When R. rugosa was introduced to cultivation in the West in 1845, European breeders, mostly French, were slow to use its good qualities. At the turn of the century, Cochet-Cochet in Coubert introduced ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ and ‘Roseraie de l’Haÿ’. Other breeders raised excellent hybrids, such as ‘Conrad Ferdinand Meyer’, about the same time.
The natural range of R. rugosa is a very cold area, so it is an exceptionally hardy species, generally hardy down to -40°C and most hybrids hardy to -34°C, but they also tolerate heat very well.