Beginner question: lavender plus lavender = yellow???

Does this make any sense, or did I mix up my tags somehow. My notes, which usually make sense and are accurate, don’t make sense to me on this one. The notes with this seed – and it was the only one to gerninate from this cross – said Pam’s Choice x Sweetness.

Can 2 lavenders make yellow offspring? Is it likely this is correct, or did I screw something up here?

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Hi Kathy,

I can understand why you might question the tags, but with roses (in my experience) almost anything is possible. Looks like a pretty seedling. Is it fragrant?

One of my new seedlings from a cross between a white/pink blend seedling and a red seedling, is lavender. I don’t know where that came from either.

Sure they can! I’ve actually had a yellow sport on my Lavender Pinocchio. The whole plant was weak enough that neither survived but there is yellow behind them. Suntan Beauty is behind Pam’s Choice and it contains Golden Rapture which was out of Julien Potin, as well as Yellow Jewel which came from Golden Glow. Tom Liggette used to claim that lavender was a “recessive-recessive yellow”. Lavenders generally contain a great deal of Foetida which is why they have such issues with cold, dry storage devitalizing them. It’s yellow that makes Lavender Pinocchio take on the “chocolate milk” tones before it fades out, leaving the lavender. Study Suntan Beauty, it’s generally a dirtied yellow. As is Lavender Pinocchio.

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Jim, surely you’ve read LeGrice’s paper on Unusual Colors in Roses? Your seedling has the admixture of colors he wrote about.

Kathy, that is a lovely rose!!

Hi Kathy, strange things can happen. I crossed Arjuna

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with Smooth Buttercup looking for thornless roses and got this mauve.

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The colour was a throw back from Blue Moon used in creating Arjuna.

Here was the chart developed by Steve Mculloch, one of our consultants many years ago to help him predict the possible outcome of crossing two colors. It used to be on the old website some time ago. As you can see there is no data for the lavender x lavender cross, but you can see that yellow can appear from most combinations.

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Hi Kathy,

I think what we need to remember that the color pathway for red expression and for yellow expression is different.

I’m not an expert on this topic, so maybe one of the other members can explain it better.

When I started taking genetic classes, oh sooo long ago, it was explained that white really isn’t a color at all. It’s a break (or several) in the biochemical pathway to produce color. Now, add the fact that you can have both reds and yellows expressing at the same time (and not necessary see them both) and you have quite a confusing situation!

Soooo…if I understand correctly, lavender/purple/mauve is actually an expression of red that has either moved further along the biochemical pathway or the pH of the cell is such that red doesn’t appear (to us) as red. I think if the expression of red is strong enough, you’ll never see the yellow. Or, the actual red color we see is accentuated by the yellow in the background.

Then, if something happens to block or diminish the red biochemical pathway you will see the background colors coming out! Which may be what happened in this instance.


Wow – those are very cool explanations, and that helps a great deal.

Thanks, folks. No fragrance I can pick up. Here’s today’s picture of it . . .

I think it’s turning pink on me.

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Kathy that’s a beauty!

I have a yellow seedling from Fabulous! x McCartney. You just never know.

Kathy, that is beautiful. (You think it’s turning pink?)

You’re going to have a wonderful phototropic rose there. I can see where the shadow on the lowest petal has prevented the change to pink from occurring. In full sun, that will be a riot of colors in full flush. Who knows? You may even find some of the pinks fading to mauve.

I love it. (I’m a sucker for mutable roses.) Is that its first bloom?

(BTW, without researching pedigrees of your two parents, I can reassert that yellows very frequently figure into lineage of mauve roses.)

It impresses me quite a bit of Sheila’s Perfume. I hope it has that kind of vigor! Sheila is like Mme. Alfred Carriere, NEVER needs budding unless your desire is to dwarf it!

Kathy, that is a lovely rose you have there and I hope something comes of it for you. The explantion of tones in roses is fantastic(do we have anyone on here that is into genetics to explain it bit further). I have heard that pink overlays yellow. After looking at your rose Kathy in the 2 shots, first, basicly yellow, second, turning pink. Kathy can we have a shot at the end of it’s bloom time please to see if it did go pink, more than yellow.

John Moe, thanks for that chart on colors. In general I guess it would work as guide, has anyone sort of used it and tested it ?

It’s lovely, Kathy, congratulations!

I had a similar result with Rt 66 a couple of yrs ago, and looked into it’s lineage and found “Fantastique” in it’s makeup, which was almost the identical coloring of my seedling. The plant has matured into an incredible rose, with all the positive attributes of Rt 66, but in a totally different coloration and form, with much larger and showier flowers. Initially I questioned whether this was a careless mistake of mislabeling on my part. Today, I would be more inclined to think ‘my mistake’, but at that time I was working with so few numbers.


It would take a lot of crosses to prove out anything, but he does provide an interesting rationale for it. Mitchie and I did use it when selecting parents when working with yellows with some degree of success. As Steve wrote in the March 97 issue of our newsletter for the PNW Rose Hybridizers Group (since disbanded) when we first published the chart the following – “ When I first started hybridizing roses as a teenager, I didn’t have a feel or even an understanding for the inheritance of color in roses. All I knew was that the color pink was very dominant and would show up in nearly every cross that you made. In order to better understand the inheritance of color in roses, I checked out Modern Roses 5 from our public library. It had the parentage and descriptions of many cultivated roses in existence. For every rose listed in this book with a definite clear parentage I recorded the color of the rose, and noted the color of each of its parents. If the parents were not available, I passed over that variety. I spent nearly a summer working on this little project! From all this data I developed a chart that you can use to help predict the possible outcome of crossing any two roses. You might be surprised how accurate it can be. Of course I make no guaranteed with this chart, but it can be a useful guide.”

With Help Me Find and a computer today, his project time would not take a summer!

Thank you very much for your expalation of it John

The most potent fragrances in roses (the so-called Rose Ketones) are produced by the oxidative degradation of carotenes.

Yellow roses are colored by carotenes produced in the plastids. A specific enzyme, if present, snips the carotene molecule into three fragments. When these are oxidized, they become very fragrant ketones (beta-damascone, beta-damascenone, beta-ionone, among others).

If two fragrant mauve roses happen to be heterozygous for both red pigment and for the carotene cleaving enzyme, some of the offspring will be yellow or yellow blends - and not so fragrant as the parents.

Non-fading yellows are least fragrant. What scent they have is usually terpenoid, rather than carotenoid.

The carotene-cleaving trait appears to be linked to the cluster-flowering habit of the Synstyles. Among the Tea-Noisettes, for example, the deepest yellow varieties have large flowers in small clusters (e.g., Duchesse d’Auerstädt). The many flowered varieties lose their yellow quickly (e.g., Alister Stella Grey). ‘Jaune Desprez’ seems to be intermediate.

I don’t know what to make of ‘Marechal Niel’, though.

Eugster & Marki-Fischer (1991)


Karl, I am not sure if others have had trouble, but the link does not open for me. I would like to read it if possible.

David I tried the link above. It worked for me but is extremely slow. So try it again. If that does not work pm me with your email address and I will send you the copy I have on my hard drive.