Compiled by Jeanne Rose – 2017

There are several plants, eight or so, that produce an essential oil that have a scent of licorice, some say the scent of Anise. The scent you associate with food and with Licorice drops and Licorice whips or Licorice pipes candy. These plants come from a variety of disparate botanical families and includes trees, herbs, vines and their fruit, roots, leaves and seeds. This same scent from a diversity of families is why everyone should learn basic botany and chemistry before they begin to say they are expert in aromatherapy.

The families include Fennel and Anise both in the botanical umbellifer family Apiaceae; and Anise myrtle from Australia, Syzygium anisatum, of myrtle tree family Myrtaceae; Licorice root, Glycyrrhiza glabra, of the legume family Fabaceae; Magnolia spp., blossoms, of flowering plant family Magnoliaceae; Star Anise, Illium verum, of the tree family Schisandraceae; Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, of the Sunflower or Asteraceae family; and Basil, Holy Basil or Tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorum, of the Lamiaceae or mint family.

The scent is often from isomers of anethole, cis (Z) and trans or (E) anethole. Trans anethole is the preferred scent/taste while UV radiation or acidic conditions cause trans to revert to its isomer image cis-anethole which is toxic, and possesses an unpleasant scent and flavor.

Anethole is only slightly soluble in water but is highly soluble in ethanol. This difference causes certain liquors that are anise-flavored to become opaque and slightly opalized when diluted with water, called the ouzo effect and which is visible when adding water to absinthe or ouzo.

Anethole has antimicrobial, antifungal, insecticidal activities against bacteria, yeast, fungi and insecticidal against insect larvae. It is a mosquito repellent.

Closely related to anethole is isomer estragole, found in Tarragon of the Asteraceae family and Basil of the Lamiaceae family. It is considered to be carcinogenic, but this effect is dose dependent. Limit your use and quantity of usage of these herbs.

           These licorice or anise-scent herbs include:


Anise Seed (Pimpinella anisum L.) of the Apiaceae family is an annual herb whose essential oil contains 90% trans or E-anethole and methyl chavicol. These Licorice scented, tasty seeds were once used as payment for taxes, in spiced cakes to prevent indigestion, as a flavorant for soups, breads, liqueurs like Anisette and even as a token to avert the ‘evil eye’. The leaves can also be used to flavor foods. This gentle herb and seed along with Fennel seed is good for children who have diarrhea and can be used stuffed into ‘sleep pillows’ to assist for a restful night sleep.

I have used Anise-scented essential oil, either from Anise seed or Ravensara anisata, in the “Holiday Kit” I once made, as the scent is so evocative of the Italian cookies made at the Christmas Holidays. It is a great memoristic scent of holiday bread and baked goods.

The essential oil is used in foods, mouth wash and medicinally to stimulate peristalsis.

I have an Anise seed oil from 1910 that I found in my basement. It is an Eng-Skell bottle from a firm founded here in San Francisco. The oil smells as it is supposed to and I assume has oxidized and possibly chemically changed into it mirror image. Old essential oils are very interesting to have and to analyze.


Anise wood or Havozo (Ravensara anisata) Essential oil from the bark of this tree of the Lauraceae family contains (E)-anethole and methyl chavicol (61.62%) and (E)-anethole (20.09%). The EO, because of the large amount of methyl chavicol whose odor which is very Anise seed like, can be used much the same as Anise seed. It can be used in food and cooking, and therapeutically by both inhalation and application in massage oils to relieve indigestion or a single diluted drop on the pillow case to relieve insomnia.

This EO can also be used in many different massage oil blends to relieve muscle aches and pains is best if blended with Juniper Berry oil (usually Juniperus communis) and Cypress oil (Cupressus sempervirens). I like to mix these three oils in my Bruise Juice in massage oil for

aching muscles, and as in inhalant to warm and uplift the spirit and to soothe and relax me. Also, this formula can be used as an external massage for cellulite.

Formula: In two ounces of carrier oil add 3 drops each of Havozo, Juniper Berry oil and Cypress oil.

Caution is requested however, as there is so little information on this specific species for aromatherapy.


Clove buds are the sun-dried, unopened flower buds of the Clove tree, Syzygium aromaticum from Indonesia and other locations of the family Myrtaceae.  Clove oil contains eugenol which composes 72–90% of the essential oil and is the compound most responsible for clove aroma.

Eugenol in my opinion, does not smell much of licorice/anise. The difference(s) between Clove Bud, Clove Leaf and Clove stem is that Clove bud is the fruit, Clove leaf is the leaf of the tree and Clove stem is the stem. They have different chemical constituents. They are all used in aromatherapy and the applications are different. See page 87 in The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations for uses of these items.

In 200 BC, the Chinese used them when as courtiers, needing a fresh breath, had to have them in their mouth when addressing the Emperor. Clove buds are warming and spicy and are now used to flavor foods, making pomanders and used in medicine. Cloves supply vanillin to the industry.

The EO is antibacterial, antiviral (against herpes), and analgesic, which helps in headache and toothaches. In skin care Clove oil is highly diluted and is used for the spicy scent as an antibacterial in aftershave products or products for problem skin. Clove bud oil is effective in perfumery as a fixative or as part of a ‘Carnation’ scent.


  Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.)  is a perennial herb of the Apiaceae family that contains trans-anethole of about 68% and 10-12% estragole. The primary component is delta-alpha-pinene, anethole and fenchone. The essential oil exhibited antibacterial activity particularly against the dysentery bacteria. The essential oil is used as a massage for stomach and intestinal problems, inhaled in a blend of other useful EO for breathing problems that originate from nervous origin, and for pulmonary congestion, and the essential oil is used by inhalation for scent, relaxing the breathing, and helping lactation. The essential oil is used as a popular extract (diluted in alcohol) to flavor food. The EO can also be used in moderation in perfumery and blends to lend its licorice scent to a formula.

Organoleptically, The oil is pale, clear, gold colored and with sweet, honey and herbal licorice notes.

A Mediterranean plant that is cultivated worldwide for food and medicine. 800 pounds of seed can be produced per acre. The herb or seed tea is a mild carminative. In this case it is often the herb tea that has the best medicinal benefits. The herb tea is used as a mild carminative, or a tonic aperitif tea and often medicinally as an emmenogogue. Some say it has psychoactive powers. The tea is very popular flavor in food, bread, and pastries.

“O’er the other flowers it towers, The Fennel with it’s yellow flowers,
And in an earlier day than ours, Twas gifted with wonderous powers,
Lost vision to restore.” -Wordsworth


  Holy Basil or Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is a perennial of the Lamiaceae family and contains eugenol. For me, it is only slightly licorice or anise scented. Ocimum tenuiflorum (synonym Ocimum sanctum), commonly known as holy basil, tulasi, or tulsi, which is native to the Indian subcontinent and widespread as a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics. It is revered as the ‘elixir of life’.

Tulsi essential oil has been found to consist mostly of eugenol (~70%) β-elemene (~11.0%), β-caryophyllene (~8%) and germacrene (~2%), with the balance being made up of various trace compounds, (mostly terpenes).

This particular Basil has been shown to have some antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus and is better known as an adaptogen and astringent herb used as an Ayurveda remedy for various things including removing stress and for longevity. Also, it is used in Thai cuisine and as an insect repellent when leaves are added to stored foods and grains.

Basil is a good example of how a chemotype alters the scent of a plant.  Basil can grow in various areas from the very hot to the less hot. The hotter the area the more that the Basil will reflect the heat by producing more chavicol. If the area is higher in altitude, the Basil may produce more Linalool. There are chemotypes CT thymol, CT eugenol, CT chavicol, and CT linalool. Light intensity and higher temperature encourages camphor. Classifying by chemotype is more prevalent now than it was 10-15 years ago. Another way to say it is that chemotype refers to the particular plant that have the same morphological (body shape) characteristics, but which produce different quantities of the chemical constituents in the resultant essential oil.


Licorice or Black Licorice root of Glycyrrhiza glabra is an herbaceous perennial normally used as an herb or herbal extract and a fragrance oil is made. When analyzed this root scent of licorice was composed of eugenol, anethole, and estragole. I am personally not aware of the availability of a natural essential oil. The herb tea, and decoction itself has valuable therapeutic uses and is a flavorant for candies, medicines and foods.


  Star Anise (Illium verum) The fruit of this evergreen tree contains anethole, the same as Anise seed. The EO is obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of the fruit which are harvested just before ripening. This is a lovely fragrant EO used in foods, soap, perfume, toothpaste and mouthwash, and in cosmetic care for the skin. I am most familiar with it in Sambuca, an Italian liqueur that I find very delicious and have drunk often as an aperitif.

Star Anise EO is a clear oil with a strongly spicy, licorice-like odor. It is used by inhalation or massage application as an antispasmodic for gut spasms, flatulence, burping and coughs. It is used by some women by inhalation to cool a hot flash. This oil is commercially used to flavor ‘anise’ cough drops and to scent soap. Guenther mentions that animals like the flavor and it is used to flavor animal foods. I am most familiar with it in Sambuca, an Italian liqueur that I find very delicious and have drunk often as an aperitif.


  Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) contains estragole. This perennial herb of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family comes in two subspecies. The Russian Tarragon is used medicinally while the French Tarragon has the most powerful scent and taste and is used as a culinary.  French tarragon is the variety used for cooking in the kitchen and is not grown from seed, as the flowers are sterile; instead it is propagated by root division. Russian tarragon (A. dracunculoides L.) can be grown from seed but is much weaker in flavor when compared to the French variety.

Analyses of A. dracunculus (subspecies not mentioned shows methyl chavicol (16.2%) and methyl eugenol (35.8%. GC/MS analysis of the essential oil revealed the presence of trans-anethole (21.1%), α-trans-ocimene (20.6%), limonene (12.4%), α-pinene (5.1%), allo-ocimene (4.8%), methyl eugenol (2.2%), β-pinene (0.8%), α-terpinolene (0.5%), bornyl acetate (0.5%) and bicyclogermacrene (0.5%) as the main components.

The EO is considered to be an antispasmodic, antiviral and antiallergenic and is indicated for gut spasms, belching, PMS, and anorexia and chronic fatigue. This EO can be used both taken internally in tea (1-drop only at a time) and used externally in massage oils or in perfumery.  It has a very pleasant position as a bridge note in perfumery. It is widely used as a flavoring ingredient in fine foods.


  Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes lucida) or Mexican Marigold has a slight anise-flavor to the leaves. Mexican tarragon is a half-hardy perennial plant with yellow flowers.

Tagetes EO distilled from the flowers and tops is SD in Madagascar.  It has an oily fruity odor and clear orange-colored oil. Contains tagetone and has been used as an antifungal inhalant and anti-parasite when oil and tea taken by mouth; interestingly the oil is thought to ease the pain of a bunion when used externally. The plant was named after Tages, an Etruscan God, and the grandson of Jupiter who sprang from the earth as a boy and taught the art of plowing to the Etruscans.


Biography and References
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Arctander. 1960
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing. Florida. 1976
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog, Ltd. 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Guide to Food. 2000.


Comments: I want to thank Eden Botanicals for their ongoing assistance to provide the new essential oils for these essential oil blog posts as well as their support to provide better information for the entire aromatherapy community.

Biography: Jeanne Rose has been teaching aromatherapy since 1972. Jeanne has written 25 books on herbs and aromatherapy and has two home-study courses; Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies Course and the Aromatherapy Studies Course, Practitioner.  For contact information on these courses and the books see:


Eden Botanicals Basil, Fennel, Tarragon EO



HYDROSOL — PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
PATCH TEST:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapist suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species, chemotype, and terroir. Be selective.
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Be moderate in your use of any essential oil. A little goes a long way. Remember to choose the herbal use over the essential oil use normally;  an herb tea is much more mild than the essential oil. There are always contraindications for the excessive use of some plants and for their essential oils in both perfumery or aromatherapy.
DO NOT INGEST ESSENTIAL OILS: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or in honey to take internally.
DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©


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Roses ~ Grown for Scent

Synopsis: People often do not know which Rose species are used for scent by distillation or by solvent extraction ~ here is a short discussion of the Roses used.

Roses ~ Grown for Scent – Part I of 2

Compiled by Jeanne Rose ~ April 2017

I am often asked about Roses. Why doesn’t that Rose that I grow have any odor? Or why isn’t the correct odor or the odor I smell when I purchase the absolute or the distilled oil in the Rose flower? What Rose can I grow to make scent or to distill? Where can I get Roses for scent?   And I am NOT writing about Roses that smell good or good smelling varietals; I am only talking about the antique Roses, heirloom Roses, species Roses, the real Roses that were used historically and are still used now for distillation or solvent-extraction for scent and perfumery. These are 2 totally different matters. Roses have a season of odor determined by the weather ~ the fragrant ones only bloom once a year and in order to capture that scent, they have to be picked at the correct time.

If you will check any of my books you will find much information on the Roses that are grown for scent. Herbs & Things p. 101; Herbal Body Book p. 118-119; The Aromatherapy Book, p. 128-129; and 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 132-134; a long article in my Herbal Studies Course; and so, there is no sense in repeating that information here. We are discussing only heirloom or species Roses that are used for scent.

In order to get a quality essential oil and hydrosol, you must first start with the correct plant, the correct cultivar type of plant and then plant it in the best location in the correct soil, then distil it, analyze the essential oil and if the numbers (GC/MS) are correct for that particular plant, then you can plant this as a crop and be pretty much assured that the essential oil and hydrosol will be a quality product. Each species of plant will have different needs and requirements.
You will also need a three-year plan before you try to market your product.

  1. Know Your Soil.
    2. Location, Location, Location.
    3. Water source and type.
    4. Choose the correct plant that will match the terroir.
    5. Harvest at the correct time.
    6. Harvest the correct part.
    7. Choose a method of distillation and type of equipment that works for your plant.
    8. Choose whether you are distilling for essential oil or hydrosol.
    9. Distil with the art and craft of careful knowledge and many years’ experience.

Here are the species and at the end the likely sources for them.
* #1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose
* #2 Bourbon Rose, R. x bourboniana (Edouard Rose)
* #3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence rose or Rose de Mai (
confused with #5)
#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora Green Rose
(only mentioned because it is interesting)
* #5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose
* #6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or  Rose of Provins (distilled for Rosewater)
#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose (not often distilled)
#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. Cecile Bruner (peppery smelling hydrosol)I
#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria
(hip used for Rosehip seed oil

*Those starred are the only Roses that are used commercially for their scent and the ones you should try to obtain.



#1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose, ‘Alba Semi-Plena’ Rose, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817), by Redouté
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa alba flore pleno, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier blanc ordinaire,
CURRENT BOTANICAL NAME R. alba var. semi-plena, COMMON NAME Alba Semi-Plena,
OTHER NAMES Double White Rose, White Rose of York, CLASS Alba Rose,
ORIGIN Unknown; ancient cultivator, possibly introduced to Britain by the Romans.
FLOWERING Once-flowering; summer,
SCENT Strong, sweet fragrance,
GROWTH Tall shrub, 8-12 feet (2.4-3.6 meters),
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation
DISTILLATION: Available only rarely, sometimes available in the hydrosol. The scent is strong and sweet and a lovely addition to the perfumery.


#2 Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume III (1824) by Redouté
Rosa canina Burboniana, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier de L’Ile de Bourbon
OTHER NAMES Rose Jacques. ‘Rosier de l’Île Bourbon’ is from hips received from the Île Bourbon (= Réunion). The hips were almost certainly originating from ‘Rose Edouard’ which was cultivated there and in Mauritius. The rose cultivated in India as R. borboniana is actually ‘Rose Edouard’.
CLASS Bourbon
ORIGIN Raised, 1821 in the gardens of Neuilly, France, by Monsieur Jacques from seed imported from the Íle de Bourbon (now called Reunion)
FLOWERING Blooms in flushes throughout the season
SCENT Sweetly fragrant
GROWTH Vigorous bushy shrub to a height of several feet (1 meter)
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation, At upper left is illustration of the Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana, painted by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, portrait 169 out of 170, Volume III of Les Roses.
EVALUATION: The essential oil content of the varieties of R. damascena varied from 0.037% to 0.051% and that of R. bourboniana was 0.017%. Super jwala recorded the highest oil content (0.051%). A total of 32 components were identified in the different varieties of rose oil. These components constituted 78.1–93.5% of the total rose oil species. The main components of rose oil were citronellol + nerol (16.3–30.1%), geraniol (15.8–29.3%), linalool (0.7–1.9%), rose oxide (0.9–2.6%), phenyl ethyl alcohol (0.1–0.4%), eugenol (0.3–2.2%), nonadecane (7.3–14.7%). The content of citronellol + nerol (30.1%) and geraniol (29.3%) was the highest in Himroz compared with other varieties.


#3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence Rose or Rose de Mai, Cabbage Rose, R. centifolia, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817). The dark green shrub is vigorous and not as open as in some varieties of Damask.
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa centifolia, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier à cent feuilles
OTHER NAMES Provence Rose, Holland Rose, Hundred-Petalled Rose, Rose des Peintres
CLASS Centifolia
ORIGIN 16-19th century; Dutch breeders
FLOWERING Once-flowering; summer
SCENT Strong, sweet fragrance
GROWTH Tall shrub, 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1 meters) high
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation,  At upper left is a picture of the original Cabbage Rose, R. centifolia, painted by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, portrait 002 out of 170, Volume I of Les Roses.

This rose is still alive and well today and can be obtained from specialist rose nurseries. It is a sturdy shrub with a tall, spreading, sometimes sprawling habit covered in large, soft, green leaves and in the summer, pink, very double, cupped flowers.
Redouté and his botanist friend, Thory, describe it as being a shrub some 6-7 feet high ‘studded with a multitude of straight, unequal thorns’. Its flower they describe as ‘rounded in shape and composed of numerous rose-tinted petals, becoming more deeply tinted as they approach the flower’s center’. And the leaves as being arranged in groups of ‘five leaflets, rarely seven’, dark green in color and ‘deeply and almost doubly dentate [serrated]’. They suggest that it is essential to prune the shrub well in February [in their French climate] to keep it ‘very small’ so that it ‘beautifully flowers in the greatest abundance’ that will be achieved later in the growing season. This is a very sweetly perfumed rose, its attar used by the perfume industry.



#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora. The Green Rose.  A species rose from China; the date of discovery is unknown but prior to 1896. It is a green rose and is not distilled but is certainly interesting to have around. I love this Rose and have grown it wherever I can, it is strange and funny looking and wonderful.  It cannot be distilled for essential oil, but if you have enough it can be distilled for a peppery rose hydrosol. This is a good face and body spray.
NAME: Rosa chinensis f. viridiflora (Lavallée) C. K. Schneid. (1905)
COLOR: White, near white or white blend or green
CLASS: China / Bengal, Hybrid China.
ORIGIN: Discovered by John Smith (United States, circa 1827). Introduced in France by Guillot/Roseraies Pierre Guillot in 1855 as ‘Rosa viridiflora’. Nigel Pratt of Tasman Bay Roses says this rose has small, many-petalled flowers of an unusual shape, in shades of dull green and reddish brown. Sangerhausen lists Viridiflora as a Hybrid China and the date as 1856.
FLOWERING: Green.   Average diameter 2″.  Borne mostly solitary, cluster-flowered, in large clusters, rosette bloom form.  Blooms in flushes throughout the season.
SCENT: None / no fragrance or greenish scent.
GROWTH: Medium, upright.  The height of 23″ to 4′ (60 to 120 cm).  Width of 2′ to 3′ (60 to 90 cm). USDA zone 7b through 10b.  Can be used for cut flower, exhibition or garden.  Shade tolerant.  Diploid – has 14 chromosomes.


#5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose, the original Rose for attar of Rose. • Kazanlik (Bulgarian Rose). Grown extensively in Bulgaria and Turkey; this Rose can be confused with the R. centifolia as they look very much alike but originated from different areas and it may also be the centifolia Rose but just from another area. It is distilled and solvent extracted for Rose scent. The valley is famous for its rose-growing industry which have been cultivated there for centuries, and which produces 85% of the world’s rose oil. The center of the rose oil industry is Kazanlik, while other towns of importance include Karlovo, Sopot, Kalofer and Pavel banya. Each year, festivals are held celebrating roses and rose oil. The picking season lasts from May to June.
Also called ROSA CENTIFOLIA TRIGINTIPETALA is the Kazanlik, known Prior to 1850 and Perhaps the most sought after of Damask roses, ‘Kazanlik’ or ‘Trigintipetala’ is grown in quantity in Bulgaria, a country which still exports a great deal of the world’s rose attar. The flowers are deep pink, with thirty petals arranged in a somewhat shaggy halo around golden stamens.
NAME: R. gallica var. damascena f. trigintipetala Synonym, Trendaphil;
AVERAGE RATING: EXCELLENT-.  Deep pink Damask., COLOR: Pink, white undertones, ages to lighter.
ORIGIN: Registration name: Kazanlik. Bred by Unknown origin (before 1612). Damasks are related to Gallicas. Summer damasks are crosses between R. gallica and R. phoenicea and autumn damasks between R. gallica and R. moschata. Recent research in Japan indicates that both summer and autumn damask roses originated with (R. moschata X R. gallica) X R. fedtschenkoana. Gene, Vol. 259, Issues 1-2, 23 December 2000, Pages 53-59. Introduced in Germany by Dr. Georg Dieck in 1889 as ‘Rosa damascena var. trigintipetala’ Damask.
FLOWERING: 30 petals.  Average diameter 2″.  Medium, double (17-25 petals), in small clusters bloom form.  Occasional repeat later in the season.  Small, glandular sepals, leafy sepals, buds.  Armed with thorns/prickles, bushy, well-branched.  Light green foliage.  7 leaflets.
Strong, eponymous centifolia fragrance.
GROWTH:  Height of 5′ to 8′ (150 to 245 cm).  Width of 4′ to 6′ (120 to 185 cm). USDA zone 4b through 9b.  Vigorous.  Prune lightly directly after flowering is finished.  This rose blooms on old wood so be careful how you prune.  Bulgaria (Kazanlik region), Turkey (Sparta region).
INFORMATION:  – see references, ‘Kazanlik’ seems to be the same Damask-type which is also cultivated in Isparta/Turkey and Isfahan/Iran. Perhaps the most mysterious of the old rose groups; attempts have been made to track down the probable parentage of the Damasks (see above), but the suggestions seem implausible. The name refers to Damascus in the Middle East, where it was once believed these roses originated. We do know that they have been used for centuries in the production of attar or oil of roses; their fragrance is strong, and today it is the scent most often associated with roses. For potpourri, few roses are more valued than the Damasks aka Damask Rose.


#6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or Rose of Provins
PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817)
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa Gallica officinalis, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier de Provins ordinaire
CURRENT BOTANICAL NAME R. gallica var. officinalis, COMMON NAME Apothecary’s Rose
OTHER NAMES Common Provins Rose, Red Rose of Lancaster, Old Red Damask, Medicine Rose.
CLASS Gallica
ORIGIN Sport from R. gallica, ancient origins
FLOWERING Once-flowering; spring/summer
SCENT Strong fragrance
GROWTH Shrub 3 feet (0.9 meters)
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation
MORE INFO: Large, semi-double 3-4″ blooms (petals 12-18) of light red, opening to show a golden center, produced profusely on a nicely formed once blooming plant with grey-green foliage. Fragrant and shade tolerant. One of the antiquities of the Rose world. Used for medicinal purposes in Medieval times.
PERSONAL INFORMATION: This is one of my most favorite Roses. It produces lots of flowers even in poor growing conditions, it distils well for a lovely hydrosol and the petals have many uses in medicine; tea as a mild laxative, petals in jam, hips later in jam or syrups, petals infused in oil for creams and lotions and many other uses. This ancient rose is recorded as being in cultivation in the 800’s. (It was used as a medicine and perfume in the court of Charlemagne in the ninth century A.D.). Its petals were noted to retain their fragrance even when dried and powdered and for this reason, it remains the rose of choice for potpourris. It was also cultivated for its medicinal values. It is also commonly known as the “Apothecary’s Rose” and, more rarely, referred to as the “Old Red Damask” and “Rose of Provins”. They are heavy bloomers and most are very fragrant. Their compact size makes them suited for small gardens. Although Gallicas perform best in zones 4 to 8 where they go dormant naturally, they may also flower very well in zone 9 to 10 if you induce dormancy. Don’t fertilize them after the 1st of August. Remove all leaves left on the plant in December and for this effort, you will be rewarded with an abundance of beautiful blooms that your friends will enjoy each spring.


#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose is ancient and will grow 10-15 feet. It blooms once per year and the scent is heavenly pungent and fresh. The blooms can be picked for baths and to distill for hydrosol.
ORIGIN: Rosa moschata (musk rose) is a species of rose long in cultivation. Its wild origins are uncertain but are suspected to lie in the western Himalayas.
FORM…R. moschata is a shrub (to 3 m.) with single white 5 cm flowers in a loose cyme or corymb, blooming on new growth from late spring until late autumn in warm climates, or from late summer onwards in cool-summer climates. The flowers have a characteristic “musky” scent, emanating from the stamens, which is also found in some of its descendants. The prickles/thorns on the stems are straight or slightly curved and have a broad base. The light- or greyish-green leaves have 5 to 7 ovate leaflets with small teeth; the veins are sometimes pubescent and the rachis possesses prickles. The stipules are narrow with spreading, free tips. Small, ovate fruits called hips are borne, turning orange-red in autumn. The variety ‘Plena’ bears semi-double flowers, and a form with study name “Temple Musk”, found in the United States, bears more fully double flowers.
CONFUSION: This species has historically been confused with Rosa brunonii, a closely related, tall-climbing species from the Himalayas that bears flowers in late spring and which possesses a similar, musky scent. They can be distinguished in gardens by their season of flowering and by their differing growth habits.
CULTIVATION: It has been contended that no truly wild examples of the musk rose have been found, though it is recorded in cultivation as least as far back as the 16th century. It is important in cultivation as a parent to several groups of cultivated roses, notably the damask rose and the Noisette group, and is valued for its scent and for its unusually long season of bloom among rose species.
PERSONAL USE: I was able to grow this lovely Rose when I first moved to my house in San Francisco, before the neighbors planted a Redwood one one side and on the other side Eucalypts.  My Musk Rose entranced the neighborhood with its scent in the spring but the growing shade of the neighbor trees and the new foundation on my house which stopped good drainage of the soil slowly diminished my Rose until she was no more.


#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. ‘Mlle. Cécile Brünner’
GROWTH: It has delicate, small, soft pink, sweetheart buds and blooms.    30 petals on a 2.5-inch flower and a sweet spicy fragrance. Almost thornless, shade tolerant and a cold climate rose bush.  Disease-free light green foliage. Height   2′-4′ with a mild peppery fragrance.
GARDEN: The sweetheart rose is a real sweetheart in the garden. While designated for the bush form, this nickname can easily be applied as well to its ‘Mlle. Cecile Brunner, climbing’ form. Pick the flowers for baths and to distil for a peppery hydrosol.
PRUNING: THIS well-known rose is an aggressive climber, but heavy pruning is considered a necessity. However, I have found that in San Francisco, if you prune too much you won’t get many flowers the next year as they bloom, on old wood. If you’d like these demure blooms on a more manageable shrub, Mademoiselle Cécile Brunner, bush form, the climber’s parent, reaches 4-5 ft.


#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria
Rosa rubiginosa (Sweet briar or Eglantine Rose; syn. R. eglanteria) is a species of rose native to Europe and western Asia. The name ‘eglantine’ derives from Latin aculeatus (thorny), by way of old French aiglant. ‘Sweet’ refers to the apple fragrance of the foliage, while ‘briar’ (also sometimes ‘brier’) is an old Anglo-Saxon word for any thorny shrub.
GROWTH:  It is a dense deciduous shrub 2–3 m high and across, with the stems bearing numerous hooked prickles/thorns. The foliage has a strong apple-like fragrance. The leaves are pinnate, 5–9 cm long, with 5-9 rounded to oval leaflets with a serrated margin, and numerous glandular hairs. The flowers are 1.8–3 cm diameter, the five petals being pink with a white base, and the numerous stamens yellow; the flowers are produced in clusters of 2-7 together, from late spring to mid-summer. The fruit is a globose to oblong red hip 1–2 cm diameter.
CULTIVATION AND USES: In addition to its pink flowers, it is valued for the scent of the leaves, and the hips that form after the flowers and persist well into the winter. Graham Thomas recommends that it should be planted on the south or west side of the garden so that the fragrance of wild apples will be brought into the garden on warm, moist winds.
In Tunisia, natural flower water is produced from its flowers. In Chile and Argentina, where it is known as “Rosa Mosqueta”, it can be found in the wild around the Andes range and is also cultivated to produce hips for marmalades and cosmetic products.


Roses discussed above.
#1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose
#2 Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana
#3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence rose or Rose de Mai

#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora
#5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose)
#6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or Rose of Provins
#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose
#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. Cecile Bruner
#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria


Lea S. says, “When visitors to my garden ask me why certain roses can’t bloom year around I tell them they save all of their scent in concentration for the one bloom and that is one reason they smell so good.”

Sources: I am giving you these sources from the USA and must admit that I have had a difficult time to contact any of them. I have e-mailed with no response, called with no callback. So, I wish you the best of luck and hope if you do get any of the old heritage Roses from any of these companies, you will let me know. Also, there are very good sources in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so investigate those areas as well.  ~

Please let me know of any success story.

B&B Nursery & Propagators, 2578 County Road I, Willows, CA 95988, ph./fax 530-934-2676, (951) 926-1134;

Cydney Wade, Rose Petals Nursery, 16918 SW 15th Ave., Newberry, Florida 32669, US, License# 48009500,
Phone number: 352-215-6399,

Flowering Shrub Farm in 40 Voorheesville Ave, Voorheesville, NY, … I heard good things about this company but have not been able to contact. Phone: 518-526-9978 try this number. (be careful as the names are confusing), only order the original antique rose not a namesake. 24062 Riverside Drive Northeast, St. Paul, OR 97137, (800) 820-0465  This is one of the best sources for some of the authentic heirloom Roses for the distillation of scent. Antique Rose Emporium, PH. 800-441-0002, 979-836-9051 Customer Service, 979-836-0928.  9300 Lueckemeyer Rd., Brenham, TX 77833

Rogue Valley Roses, PO Box 116, Phoenix OR 97535,, Phone (541) 535-1307. Seems to carry several kinds of ‘Kazanlik’ roses and the Autumn Damask and others. [or is the address 2368 Terri Dr., Medford, OR 97504?], Phone: (541) 535-1307

Roses of Yesterday and Today, 802 Browns Valley Road, Watsonville, CA 95076, (831) 728-1901,

 Vintage Gardens, 4130 Gravenstein Hwy. North 
Sebastopol, CA 95472 (the gardens and Roses are still here but apparently being overgrown with blackberry and abandoned but aided by the Friends of Vintage Roses). (707) 829-2035,

HYDROSOL: PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
Wikipedia has many resources for this information. See taxonomy, botany, and the individual Roses.

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©
Hand carved container for Rose Oil




~ JR ~