The oldest Alba rose has semi-double flowers and is known as ‘Semiplena’. It is the white rose that the Yorkists chose as their badge in the 15th century.
A fully double form called ‘Maxima’ was the emblem of the Jacobites in the 18th century. Again, DNA analysis has established that they are the result of a cross between Rosa gallica and a relation of Rosa canina (the dog rose), indigenous to Europe including the UK.
The Albas were never a large group, but some important Alba hybrids were produced in the first half of the 19th century, whose colour ranges from white to blush to light pink.
They are very hardy, vigorous and long-lived, with grey-green leaves and one of the most refined fragrances of any rose.