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Mr. Smarty Plants - What is a Demaree Rose?

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Wednesday - August 14, 2013

From: Rio Hondo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification
Title: What is a Demaree Rose?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Have been told the Apache Plume is the Wild Rose after which the Wild Rose Pass north of Ft. Davis was named. However, other research indicates it was the Demaree Rose. What is true and are there any photos of Demaree Rose?

ANSWER:

The story from the Texas State Historical Association is that Wild Rose Pass was named for the Demaree rose that grows at springs and seeps in the area by Lt. William H. C. Whiting who traveled in the area in 1849 along with Lt. William F. Smith, both US Army engineers, exploring a route between El Paso and the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1849 it wasn't known as the Demaree rose, but only as, I suppose, a "wild rose".  It was named Rosa demareei in the 1920s for the botanist, Delzie Demaree by another botanist, Ernest J. Palmer.  Demaree had a BS in botany from Indiana University, an MS in botany from Chicago University and a PhD from Stanford University.  He taught mainly in Arkansas and Texas and was a prolific collector of plants.  He had a personal collection of more than 50,000 specimens that he donated to SMU that are now on permanent loan to BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) Herbarium. North Carolina Herbarium also has a large number of his specimens, many collected in the southeastern US.  He was apparently quite a character.  He is reported to have killed rattlesnakes and mocassins by stomping on them with his kneehigh lace-up boots which apparently offered him enough protection!  He got to most of his collection sites on a Greyhound or Trailways bus, pulling the cord where he wanted to get off and then coming back to wait beside the highway to hail the next bus passing by. He lived from 1889 to 1987.

The Type Specimen for the Demaree rose is in the Harvard University Herbaria collected by Ernest J. Palmer in 1928 in Jeff Davis County "below high west-facing cliffs of Mount Livermore, Davis Mountains."

BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas) Digital Herbarium shows a collection specimen for June 11, 1926 and names D. Demaree as the collector.  The collection locality is described as "Davis Mountains, up Limpia Canyon to Mt. Livermore (elev. 6000 to 8300 ft)."  You can see an image of the specimen in the BRIT collection.

Now, why don't you see an entry for Rosa demareei in our Native Plant Database?  It's because there has been a lot of taxonomic rearranging going on. You can see in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) that Rosa demareei (along with quite a few other names) is now a synonym for Rosa woodsii ssp. woodsiiRosa demareei E. J. Palmer is no longer a valid name.  Things get a little confused when you go to the USDA Plants Database.  They list Rosa woodsii var. woodsii (but not Rosa woodsii ssp. woodsii).  If you click on Texas on the distribution map on the page, you will see that Jeff Davis is one of the counties where this plant occurs.  Here is a Plant Guide from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for Rosa woodsii var. woodsii with photos.  If it were listed it in our Native Plant Database, we would list it as Rosa woodsii var. woodsii since our database follows the nomenclature used by the USDA Plants Database.

You can read the type description of Rosa demareei given by Ernest J. Palmer in "The Ligneous Flora of the Davis Mountains, Texas."  Journal of the Arnold Arboretum Vol. 10 (1929) pp. 8-45.

 

From the Image Gallery


Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

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