Betty Bland

I rooted some cuttings of Betty Bland and did a root tip squash today and learned it is triploid. Modern Roses lists it as diploid. There’s a plant of it at the MN Landscape Arboretum which I’ve enjoyed looking at while I’m out there. It usually has a second flush of bloom in the fall which impresses me and seems to be quite hardy. I love Therese Bugnet and it’s interesting to see the similarities it shares with Betty Bland, it’s paternal parent. They seem to have similar flower form and fragrance. Betty Bland being a triploid helps explain the limited fertility I’ve experienced with trying to use its pollen and trying to germinate the relatively few seeds it produces through open pollination. Have others tried Betty Bland as a parent?



Hi David:

Thank you for squashing root tips! It gives us definitive answers. I have not tried Betty Bland, but it sounds like it would be worth trying!


Hi David,

Could you tell us what a “root tip squash” is and how it works in fairly simplistic terms for some of us non-technical botany types? Never studied this in engineering in college. LOL


Frank Skinner stated that the parentage of ‘Betty Bland’ is Rosa blanda x a HP (probably ‘Captain Hayward’) and that would make the cultivar a triploid. However, because of the extreme hardiness (Zone 2) of ‘Betty Bland’ it is unlikely that a HP is in the parentage.

In the 1940’s the Canada Department of Agriculturere did some chromosome testing of several roses, and I seem to recall that ‘Betty Bland’ was determined to be a diploid. But there have been some mistakes of chromosome testing of roses many years ago and perhaps this was one of them.

Griffith Buck used ‘Betty Bland’ in his breeding programs. According to him, the pollen had good fertility but the seeds germinated poorly. Frank Skinner also worked with ‘Betty Bland’ but didn’t have much success with it. Percy Wright, however, had good success with ‘Betty Bland’ and developed several cultivars.

Perhaps the best ‘Betty Bland’ hybrid other than ‘Therese Bugnet’ is Robert Erskine’s ‘Betty Will’ (‘George Will’ x ‘Betty Bland’). The flowers are similar to ‘Therese Bugnet’ in flower form and colour but more double. The shrub in comparison is thornier, shorter and more compact.

In my opinion there is no advantage using ‘Betty Bland’ to ‘Therese Bugent’ in a breeding program as a staminate parent. I would expect similar shrub and flower characteristics in the progeny.

Hi John,

A root tip squash is taking a root tip in active growth (cells are dividing rapidly) and then isolating cells with condensed chromosomes which can be easily seen and counted. Treating the root tip with cold for a day allows for more cells to be at the right stage for counting. Before examination the roots are softened (with acid usually) so they can be flattened more easily so the chromosomes can be spread and counted. The squashing comes into play when one puts a lot of pressure on the microscope slide to flatten, squash, the cells.

If someone wants more details, I summarized the technique and included pictures in an article in the RHA newsletter (Spring 2004 I think).




Thanks for the explanation. It was in the Spring issue as you mentioned which I read at the time, but didn’t tuck it away in my memory bank!


I have been using what I assume to ‘Betty Bland’ to try to produce giant rose bushes for our nothern climate. It grows to 8ft here. When the pollen is accepted by a rugosa it produces a good crop a seeds. The seedlings show the pollen parent, reduced thorns, less rugose, unfortuntely they are not at an age to flower. I am curious if what I am using is indead Betty.

The plant that I have, I suspect is a Rosa blanda X polyantha, especially when looking at the structure of the pistils. they are long and loose unlike a cassorhodon (sp?). Whatever it is, I like using it.

A couple of cultivars to keep in mind that have or may have ‘Betty Bland’ as a parent. Isabella Preston’s ‘Conestoga’ is op ‘Betty Bland’. Small, double white flowers. This cultivar is still in existence. ‘Martin Frobisher’ likely has ‘Betty Bland’ or ‘Therese Bugnet’ as its staminate parent. Also, Bob Erskine’s ‘Carlos Perpetual’ is ‘Lac La Nonne’ x possibily ‘Betty Bland’. The latter has double pink (100 petals) flowers and is the hardiest (Zone 2) everblooming rose in existence.