[From Growing Old-Fashioned Roses
, by Trevor Nottle, p. 11:] The climbers are a group that appear superficially to be very widely divergent from each other... Most noticeable feature is their habit of growth...
by Jack Harkness, 1978, p. 149]
Synstylae and Hybrids
The name of this section means styles together. One has only to see a flower to judge how apt the title is, for the styles protrude from the middle of the flower, fused together in a slender column as if they were one. In all other respects the recognition factors are the same as for the Indicae, namely pinnate leaves, smooth hips, stipules joined to the leaf stalk, and styles protruding; in the Indicae, the styles are separate, and they do not protrude so obviously.
The base of the styles is later incorporated in the fruit; so that hips of the Synstylae usually end with a slight protrusion, like a short beak. The styles are not numerous in this section, therefore the seeds are few and the hips small.
Botanists suggest there are twenty-four species; but it is my belief that most are merely forms of one another. Nearly all of them are trailing plants capable of growing a long way, because their natural habitat forced them through shrubs or trees in search of the sun. This immediately suggests how they may be used horticulturally; and those who wish to breed ground-cover roses surely need look no further for source material.
Nearly all the Synstylae come from China; one might ask whether there is some clue to the evolution of the rose, in that each sub-genus or section appears to have a particular region, as if there was originally one prototype of each, from which its descendants varied and travelled. Nature is rarely as simple as that, and there are sufficient exceptions to confound the theorist, of which the Synstylae offer three, in the form of a species each from India, Europe and America.
I renew the reminder that the recognition factors apply to the species, but not necessarily to the hybrids