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ROSA CENTIFOLIA. HUNDRED-LEAVED ROSE.
Class XII. Icosandria. Order V. Polygnia.
Gen. Char. Petals five. Calyx pitcher-shaped, five-cleft, fleshy, and contracted at the neck. Seeds numerous, hispid, and affixed to the under side of the calyx.
Spe. Char. Gerinen ovate. Peduncles hispid. Stem hispid and prickly. Petioles unarmed.
Various opinions are entertained with respect to the native place of this species of rose, and it is a point which still remains undetermined. It is cultivated in gardens very extensively, as an ornamental flower, and grows luxuriantly in most parts of the United States, and throughout the continent of Europe, flowering in June.
The Rosa Centifolia has prickly stalks, which are from three to six feet in height. The leaves are pinnated, consisting of two or three pairs of leaflets, with an odd one; the leaflets are oval, broad, serrated, veined, hairy, and attached by very short petioles to a rough common footstalk; theJlowcrs are large, varying in color, generally of a pale red, and supported on peduncles which are beset with bristly hairs; the leaves of the calyx are semi-pinnate; the petals are large * and numerous; the parts of fructification are by cultivation converted into petals.
There are many varieties comprehended under this species of rose, which are indiscriminately gathered for medicinal purposes, and are found by chemical analysis not to differ essentially from each other. It was formerly regarded as the Damask Rose, until by close investigation it was found to be a perfectly distinct species.
Medical Properties and Uses. The petals of this rose possess a very highly fragrant odor, which is not entirely dissipated by keeping, but some of the flavor is lost unless used fresh; the rose-water is distilled from petals recently gathered; their taste is sweetish and slightly bitter. Water extracts the odor of the petals both by infusion and distillation; and when large quantities of them are employed in the distillation, a very small portion of yellow, fragrant, butyraceous essential oil is sometimes procured, which is of a very mild nature, possessing no pungency. They also give out a bitter principle to water, but alcohol is their best menstruum. They are chiefly used as a perfume. The otto of roses, which is procured from this species, has a most powerful and fragrant odor, and is exceedingly diffusible. They are slightly laxative, but are rarely administered medicinally, except occasionally to children; the chief use to which the petals are applied in this country, is for the distillation of rose-water, which possesses no medicinal virtues, and is only used on account of its agreeable odor
Aqua Rosce. Rose-water. U. S. Dispensatory. Take of fresh hundred-leaved roses, or petals, eight pounds, water two gallons; mix them and distil one gallon. The Dublin College orders a gallon of the water to be distilled from eight pounds of the petals! The London College takes ten pounds of roses, seven fluid ounces of proof spirit, and two gallons of water, and distills one gallon. The Edinburgh College proceeds the same as the London, substituting three fluid ounces of rectified spirit for seven of proof spirit, and adds the following notice: "The petals should be preferred when fresh, but it also answers well to use those which have been preserved by beating . them with twice their weight of muriate of soda."