Breeding for other scents

With new introduction of species in the rose genome, we get different scents. Just look at the the fruity type scents introduced with the introduction of Persian Yellow.

Imagine if people started to use more species in their breeding program, or odd roses, and see what other scents, and traits, may result.

Who knows, perhaps in a few years, we may yet have another scent to add to the rose. But in order for that to happen, we must start using new species in our breeding program and gradually cross their hybrids with each other.

Kim’s “Dottie Louis” has R. moschata abyssinica in it, which hasn’t made it’s way in the rose genome yet. It would be an intresting rose to breed. Also a benefit, it’s thornless (with exception of rough underleaf).

I also have a seedling of 77-361, parent of Kim’s mentioned rose, crossed with Queen Elizabeth, and though it is light, it has a light polleny scent of sort of like fresh carrot juice. Although I originally made this cross with the intention of making thornless roses, I kept this thorned seedling because it was very healthy, made open pollinated hips easily, and had that light carrot juice scent. Perhaps carrots is not a scent people may like, but nonetheless… it’s new and different, and should I continue working with this seedling, perhaps one day it will create another distinct fragrance class within roses.


I don’t know if it might be the same scent, but I’ve noticed a unique scent in some of the native North American species. To me it is “grassy” and fresh – somewhat like cucumbers?? Maybe this is the same scent as the carrot scent you mentioned.

Carrots and cucumbers – sounds like a salad in the makin’s.

I’ve noticed a different scent in the flowers of Rosa arvensis also. Can’t quite put my finger on what it smells like though.

One of my favorites has to be the clove scent that the single-flowered Rosa moschata sometimes puts out. Other times, it’s not even slightly clove-scented but a totally different scent. I haven’t figured out why it’s there sometimes and not others.

Something to try, that you might find interesting – try separating the petals from the rest of the flower. The petal-less flowers (with anthers) often smell completely different from the pile of petals.

Oh, I thought of two more interestingly scented rose species. To me Rosa laevigata smells like the old orange “circus peanuts” candy. And Rosa bracteata smells like faint artificial banana flavoring.

I have yet to smell a hybrid tea or floribunda that smells like a Rugosa.

I was shocked when I smelled a bloom on ‘Marechal Niel’, which I thought I’d read ought to smell like strawberries. No chance - rather, carrot (and something slightly musty-sweet, like lipstick)! It seemed odd, but supposing all that yellow color is carotenoid in origin, I imagine it’s quasi-rational. I don’t suppose that’s any use to you, but when else will I get to talk about carrot-scented roses?