A new way of developing rose sports?

Dr. Casmir Mekdeci is a rose breeder living in North York (Toronto), Ontario. He was instrumental in saving Percy Wright’s Rugosa ‘Musician’ from extinction, since his was the last remaining plant sometime in the 1970’s. Three years ago in the fall, to his dismay his largest shrub (he had two or three) was accidentally dug out and discarded. Only a few roots remained in the hole. In an attempt to save it, over a period of three weeks he watered the ends of the roots with a plant rooting hormone (#3). The following spring a root developed a plant. But it wasn’t ‘Musician’! Instead, it had sported to a shrub with semi-double (10 petals), apricot coloured flowers.

The interesting thing about ‘Musician’ is that the colour of the flowers is unstable. It begins a creamy yellow and then changes to pink and finally to red. This could be a factor why a sport was able to develop from a root. Regardless, this could be a new way to develop rose sports. As far as I know, they have never been developed this way before. Some research should be done to see if there is potential to develop new roses by this method.

Dr. Mekdeci has named this 'Musician sport ‘Yukon Dawn’ but is open to suggestions for a better name. I’m going to suggest to him he call it ‘Apricot Chimes’.

Finally, judging from a photo Dr. Mekdeci sent me, this sport has more prominent stamens than ‘Musician’. Therefore, unlike ‘Musician’ (a triploid) the pollen might have some fertility. Thus this sport could be the key to develop a wide range of colours in Rugosas including yellows. ‘Hazeldean’ (yellow) is the staminate and ‘Hansa’ is the pistillate parent of ‘Musician’.

How did he rule out that the original plant was not grafted to a different rootstock?

Henry, the original plant Percy Wright sent Dr. Mekdeci apparently was very small. If I recall correctly, it was only a root stolon. ‘Musician’ doesn’t sucker readily.

That is bizzare, yet interesting. How big was the root piece?

I’m recalling a Mermaid sport sold at Sequoia (Little Mermaid, I think…) that resulted when a plant was burnt down to the root.

This is interesting.

Paul sent me a few years ago a mossy rose. I planted in one area and moved it to another. It took a whole year for it to recoperate…

This December, I’ve seen a rose coming up. I’m 100 percent sure it’s Paul’s rose coming back from the root. I said to myself, “Eh-- leave it.”

It will be very intersting to see if it comes out differently. I’m thinking it was in the ground only as roots for a whole year or more. Because the plant is very tiny. I also recall my Cardinal de Richelieu also did the same thing although I didn’t keep that one.

The fellow who owns Corn Hill Nursery gave a paper at WFRS in Houston about growing roses from root segments. He would be one to ask to see if there’s the potential for variability coming from root eyes, dormant and otherwise.

My one sport is from Europeana, and it came from a tiny root that happened early on when I didn’t have the heart to throw away some pruned pieces and stuck them in the ground. One made a puny root. The next year the puny root put up a toothpick sized stem that bloomed normal Europeana and ALSO a six foot long, thick cane with blooms twice the size and petals of Europeana. It’s now a full sized climber about eight feet tall.

Ann, perhaps it is Dr. Huey rootstock that is coming up from the ground?

Randy Hughes and I wrote an article on root cuttings in rose and highlight their propensity to generate sports.

Link: www.ars.org/About_Roses/propagating-root-cuttings.htm


Interesting suggestion, but this bush repeat blooms readily and has the color of Europeana, not the color of the not so good Dr.

And for a short while it was connected to an ownroot cutting of Europeana.


Dr. Huey has few petals whereas Europeana has at least 3 times as many. Also, Europeana has dark red new growth. They both mildew like mad though :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds very interesting Ann. I wonder if it mildews like Europeana? I love the rose. The color virtually smolders.

Mildew isn’t a problem in my garden. A few multiflora ramblers have less than perfect leaves maybe one fall in five, and The McCartney Rose has a problem the same falls.

Living on top of a hill with breezes, winds, and the occassional tornado has its advantages to offset that most of my big roses grow lopsided with most of their canes pointing east. I didn’t really notice until we transplanted some big roses and the bed ended up looking

east /// west

So we dug up the second rose from the west and turned it 180.

FWIW the best Europeana has ever grown for us is now, where it’s sited next to a drip in the irrigation system. It may prefer wetter roots.

I grew large numbers of Europeana in containers for resale and invariably they would succumb to mildew just as they were about to reach their peak.

You should get your clone to some climates where this can be tested.

Red climbers are very popular.

I didn’t think it would be a factor, but because of Enrique’s comment about a sport being developed because of fire damage I should add this information. Apparently the hole where the ‘Musician’ shrub had been planted was piled high with snow containing a lot of salt from the driveway. Therefore, the remaining roots could have been damaged from the salt. So was it the rooting hormone, the salt or the combination of the two that caused the sport? Maybe it was none of these. I’m inclined to think it would be the rooting hormone, and that is what I will experiment with to see if I can develop sports from root cuttings.

David, your comment in the article “Propagating Roses Through Root Cuttings” you wrote with Randy Hughes: “This seems to be a unique and exciting way to create new cultivars from old.” I couldn’t have said it better.

If I’m not mistaken, ‘New Dawn’ originated in a similar way? That is it originated from a latent bud?

I agree, it’s a wonderful article.

It’s not only a wonderful article, it makes me want to go out in subfreezing temps and dig up some roses.

I had always assumed that New Dawn came from above the ground because I see some repeat on a few stems of Dr. W. van Fleet. Below ground would make more sense.

I forget where I read it. As I remember from the story, New Dawn sprang from the roots of a plant that had been buried and repeatedly run over.

I forget where I read it. As I remember from the story, New Dawn sprang from the roots of a plant that had been buried and repeatedly run over.

Maybe it’s just me, but I always wonder how these things happen. I mean, ok, maybe it’s been dug up, mulched over and lain on it’s side, but then the roots would be all dug up…right? Years ago my mother had some white rose that she loved but couldn’t remember the name of, and she claimed it got killed entirely by getting run over by a lawn mower. I could not figure it out. Even pruned down it wasn’t a small rose. I don’t see how anyone could have missed it, and then run over it enough to kill the whole thing. It seems like you would have really had your work cut out for you.