No rose plant is completely thornless. Most rose growers call rose varieties "nearly thornless" or "virtually thornless" because even so-called thornless roses have a thorn or two. Thornless roses are a boon to gardeners who wish to avoid being bloodied during annual rose cleanup chores and a lack of thorns makes them a safer choice for spots near walkways or in yards where children play.
Smooth Touch Roses
Bred by California rose aficionado Harvey Davidson, the Smooth Touch line of roses boasts 95 per cent thornless stems. Smooth Snowflake produces sweetly scented clusters of creamy-white blooms with ruffled edges all season long. This compact bush grows less than 3 feet tall. Smooth Angel is a large, creamy-white rose with an apricot centre. It grows to 4 feet.
A vigorous, old-fashioned climber that produces bouquets of small, double flowers, Rosa banksiae is evergreen in mild climates. An early and profuse bloomer, it comes in yellow (lutea) or white (alba plena) varieties. Its canes reach 20 feet long, making it suitable for covering an arbor. The rose originated in China and is named for Lady Banks, wife of the director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England.
Snow Goose is a white David Austin rambler rose with long, arching stems and multipetaled white blooms. While most ramblers bloom only once, Snow Goose is a repeat bloomer, bearing sprays of small flowers with a sweet musk fragrance on its thornless stems. It grows 8 to 10 feet tall.
Other thornless white roses include shrub roses know also for their fragrance, such as Mme. Legras de St. Germain, Mme. Plantier, Pure Perfume, Mme. Alfred Carriete, Clotilde Soupert and Aimee Vibert. Climbing Iceberg rose is a thornless white floribunda with long canes suitable for trellising.