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The true musk rose is an ancient species from southern Europe and the Middle East that, until recently, was thought to be extinct. A related, hardier species from Asia was introduced during the late nineteenth century and nearly superseded the true European musk. In cultivation since the fifteenth century, the Rosa moschata is the parent of many important varieties including the fragrant Noisette roses. The musk rose is found in both single and double forms, Rosa moschata plena, and bears extremely fragrant, alabaster white flowers beginning in late May and continuing into the fall. In England it is also known as the Autumn rose, and was mentioned in Medieval herbals and in the writings of Shakespeare.