Damask roses are named after the city of Damascus because they were brought to Europe from the Middle East by the Crusaders.
|R. damascena versicolor "York and Lancaster" (unknown origin, before 1551)|
These roses possess arguably the most refined fragrance of all, and were quickly turned to commercial use.
|R. damascena trigintipetala "Kazanlik" (unknown origin, before 1612)|
Kazanlik especially is still cultivated in Eastern Europe and the Middle East to produce the essence, or attar, of roses.
|R. damascena bifera "Autumn Damask" (Quatre Saisons) (unknown origin, before 1633)|
Most damasks are once-blooming (summer damasks) with the exception of Autumn Damask above, which is known as Quatre Saisons in France for its rebloom in autumn.
|Omar Khayyam (unknown origin, before 1893)|
|Blush Damask (unknown origin, 1759)|
... and very few of them are available to a gardener today.
|'Arcata Perpetual Damask' (Found)|
This is perhaps because most damasks, older varieties especially, form large, sprawling shrubs that are not easy to fit into a garden.
|Gloire de Guilan (discovered in 1949)|
|La Ville de Bruxelles (Vibert, before1846)|
All pictures were taken at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden this spring.