Banksia hybrids...

A recently acquired Purezza rose (Tom thumb x Banksiae hybrid)is now blooming for me. While my assumption is that the thing would be sterile, it does have pollen which I will probably go ahead and collect when it ripens. While not quite as disease-free as the species, this has nonetheless been impressive – more resistant than its two neighbors, New Dawn and Vielchenblau. Would I be wasting my time attempting to use its pollen?

I’m hoping to use a recently acquired R. Banksiae lutescens (single yellow) for some hybridizing. Anyone have any thoughts? …Experience with this group?? I’m assuming I should hit diploids with its pollen to keep future options open, but the best prospective rose I can come up with that is in my garden would be Perle d’Or. It seems I could do better. I don’t want to dilute the yellow I have in the banks, and I don’t know if Pd’O will allow it to come through fully…

(Sorry Northern gardeners. I’m looking for something that won’t denude to BS in MY climate!)

The most recent issue (Winter 2005) of the RHA Newsletter (which all members get) has an article about some modern Banksia hybrids. I think you’d find it most interesting–worth your time (and $10 membership dues, which would also bring you the next 3 issues of the Newsletter and help to support this forum).

an FYI, I now have banksia hybrids germinating from a variety of seed parents this Spring. They have now been carried succesfully into the third generation.

I plan on doing some backcrosses and linebreeding in the future.

At least initially, some blackspot resistance was retained in the offspring.

I grow banksiae hybrids since height years now, up to a few thousands yearly.

Backcross is probably a good idea as the species original character is mostly lost after second generation.

Purezza being a miniature derivative has a reduced fertility as often observed for such vars.

Amazing is high amount of recurent seedlings when lutescens is crossed with Chinas or Teas. Quite easy crosses and fully fertile progenies. Easier with lutescens pollen as it blooms so much ahead of others.

Sp behaves like Chinas do with other sp compatibility and progeny fertility wise and no more difficult.

Another point is that allmost every banksiae hybrid is very desease prone when young and most are no more than species banksiae when one year old.

Species and most hybrids are not mildew resistant but rather to very tolerant.

Species banksiae seeds do germinate poorly the first year and very easily the second one.

With yellow Chinas that are not better colored than lutescens I got comparable colored seedlings.

Hope this helps

Pierre Rutten

Thank you!

I’m quite frankly surprised to hear of folks using it. I see little or no reference to offspring aside from Purezza, and for deep southern gardens, it seems an obvious parent. I know of nothing quite so healthy in my garden, and to have a little yellow to boot??!

(Personally, I can’t fathom why Mansuino (Purezza’s hybridizer) invested all his efforts into the white lady banks (R. banksiae banksiae) and not the yellow (R.b.lutescens). It would seem a more desireable parent.)

Pierre, from what you say, I gather you see promise in lady banks’ use. I should think that a truly disease-resistant and recurrent offspring would have a real market. (I know I’d be all over it. R.b.lutea is very popular here, being the most popular non-recurrent rose in the south.) I gather the progeny of a banks rose can have fragrance as well. Is the hardiness the only reason there are so few Banksiae hybrids around??

I do recognize the potential for mildew in cooler climes, but that is seldom an issue for us in the deep south. I have personally never seen such on a banksia here. In fact, as I say, it is the only rose I could consider “disease-free” here.

Pierre, you need to look into marketing your babies deep south stateside!

I finally got my Rosa banksia lutescens old enough to produce a lot of pollen to store…and we had a cold snap during the first growth push last week! Grrr. I hope the bud tips didnt fry off (freeze dry). I had planned to use it on Belle Epoque which is an extremely easy seed setter, is nearly thorness, has a lot of yellow in it and is very disease resistant. Banksia blooms too early to be a seed parent here unless I store pollen for 1 yr. I have Freedom pollen in the freezer but… the rainy season in Mar/April is horrible for trying to cross anything.

Uncommon Rose is offering ‘Lila Banks’ this season. It’s a potent (triplod) pollen parent and occasionally produces hips and viable seed as well. It carries foetida fellow through it’s grandparent ‘Pinnochio’. Resists blackspot.

IT’s offspring, ‘Riverbanks’ (a fertile triploid seed and pollen parent) also carries china yellow.

It’s a matter of time before yellow is presented in offspring. Untested disease resistance. It is expected to be released soon.

Thank you Robert. You support some of the ideas I’m interested in. The progeny is interesting, but for myself, it is departing enough from the species that I don’t know if I personally would find the journey worthwhile. Does the BS resistance carry through that far down the line??

Have you worked with the yellow banks? One of my big enthusiasms is the extremely high disease-resistance of a yellow species as stock. I also enjoy the form of the species.

jadae, I feel your pain. In the past, I always did my pre-spring-growth pruning before the Banks bloomed, and then had nothing to hit with the pollen… Hopefully you will have luck this year.

Babies will be marketed only if able to find real market.

As extreme earliness is lost with recurrence as well as massive simultaneous show, needed are flowers, colors and performance comparable to other vars with a plus or a difference at least somewhere.

Pierre Rutten

Phillip, you’re missing the point, that being that you now can put yellow banksia back onto fertile banksia hybrids that have already been created rather than going back and having to do the initial work from scratch. The yellow is there in the lineage already. The hard part is done. Go ahead and try the yellow banksia. You now have a much better shot at achieving your goals.

Pierre you are right about marketing. If we could patent genes we would have more of a reason to distribute such hybrids. As it is I figured if there are other people interested in creating more of these types of hybrids I might as well give them something to work with. I certainly won’t be able to do all the work I’d like to do in my lifetime.

This is carrying on in the tradition of hybridizers like Ralph Moore who have shared their work so others might make the next leap. It’s the right thing to do. Otherwise the work is pointless. Thanks, Robert

Regarding Philip’s comment above:

(Personally, I can’t fathom why Mansuino (Purezza’s hybridizer) invested all his efforts into the white lady banks (R. banksiae banksiae) and not the yellow (R.b.lutescens). It would seem a more desireable parent.)

Although HelpMeFind list the parentage of Purezza as “Tom Thumb X R. banksiae banksiae”, I’ve seen a number of other references that listed R. banksiee lutescens as the rose used in the cross that created Purezza. Does anyone know for sure? I live in Philip’s part of the world (if the LA stands for Louisiana) and am also interested in Purezza.



I apologize if I didn’t clarify my thoughts. I did catch your point, but wondered if a.) the longer departure from banksia maintained all of its stronger traits and, more to the point, b.) if introducing the yellow from a foetida ancestor didn’t increase the chances of BS-prone progeny. My point, which I neglected to clarify, was that R.b.l provided a relatively disease-free (BS-free) source of yellow – something the foetida route certainly didn’t (to the mind of this grdener in the deep south). What are your thoughts?

Mark, I’m not 100% sure, but have seen other references to R.b.b. as the species parent. Regardless, I suspect Purezza is probably a dead end. I think there are ploidy issues, and at the very least are fertility issues from what I understand. I believe Pierre confirmed that above.

Pierre, My Purezza is very young and in a pot still, and while I have seen photos of some pretty impressive flushes of bloom on Purezza plants, obviously I have not yet had such. Are the photos anomolies? Does Purezza not typically provide such? And do your babies not compare favorably?

I don’t know what would be involved in the marketing of such, but if other recurrent banksia crosses were available I would certainly be interested. I went to lengths to get Purezza, but it isn’t commonly available.


Mark, I stand corrected on the parentage. I just did a search and several sources list R.b.l. as the parent inlcuding ARS. This makes more sense actually. I was getting R.b.b. confused with R.b.normalis. The double form would not likely provide pollen.

Thanks for correcting me.

(But dang it, the things still pretty sterile!)

I think this is a strange discussion. First of all Purezza has no known descendants. Second of all black spot resistant roses can descend from roses descended from foetida. Look at ‘Knock Out’ and most of the latest generation of disease free roses including ‘Baby Love’.

There are no guarantees no matter what you use as far a disease resistance goes. Yes, you can breed toward certain goals and toward disease resistance but that’s about all you can do. As Pierre has pointed out, rose diseases can adapt to and circumvent genetic resistance.

If yellow banksia is well adapted to you area, use it and hope for yellow if that’s your goal. Perhaps you should try a yellow tea as Pierre suggested if you are afraid of the foetida connection? You’ll be one step closer to your ideal and so on. There’s no such thing as a perfect rose for all climates.

R. primula is bs free here but getting to get either one as a seed parent is highly difficult so I scrapped that idea. Both bloom super early and R. primula self-pollenates so readily and fast that it isnt even worth trying.

Robert I agree that there is no such thing as a perfect rose for all climates.


What I wrote does not apply to your plants. By the way, do you realize the amount of wonderfull achievements Ralph Moore got after your age.

Said Ralph Moore, as you do know it, does not at all share his achievements with us Europeans. Very, very few released vars are sold here. Others are forbiden by RM himself…

Years ago I got Purezza and found it only once blooming, not as strong as sp and allmost sterile when b. lutescens and normalis are fully fertile. So I started from scratch. Same for varied suposed sterile other species crosses and found various ways to overcome sterility and go further.

Here Purezza bloomed abundantly when large enough but once. It is reported to be reblooming or everblooming in part of California at least.

If you are not looking at intraspecies variability and when fertile, small progenies from species crosses are allright.

Another point is that there are different and aventually better pathes to explore. i.e. Kordess is actually releasing dwarfs and miniatures with full wichuraiana resistance to BS and PM.

And consider how many species are left unexplored…

My preference is for my own original and different pathes. Better yet: for as many as possible different pathes.

You think one way and I do another. It is a very good point as a breeder has to be aiming at nonconformism and originalty.


Pierre Rutten

Hi Pierre, yes I know Mr. Moore doesn’t allow distribution of certain cultivars throughout Europe. As you know this has to do licensing arrangements made with Meilland and others.

I don’t know the details but fortunately there is no limitation so far on the seedlings produced by some of these cultivars. Moore’s work is being spread around as you know, even if it may not be directly linked to something Moore produced himself.

Mr. Moore has also enjoyed a particularly long healthy life. We should all be so fortunate.

In the world of roses there are many paths as you say. We each have to choose our own and decide for ourselves what should or should not be shared with others.

I agree too in that there is little need to create more of the same. This is becoming especially apparent to me. We do not need more of the same.

Thanks, Robert