Breeding Yellow Rugosa Question

So here is a question? I am thinking about crossing a rugosa to one of the yellow diploid species or maybe a triploid hybrid if one around here is pollen fertile. Would it work better to cross these to a white rugosa or does it matter? Many of these similar crosses just list the rugosa as R. rugosa but I am thinking that if it was a pink rugosa the best you could hope for is a mix of pink with yellow due to co dominance of the yellow color? I really would prefer to use the rugosas I already have because at least two of them are some of the more healthier ones but none of them are white and I think genetically they probably are strong on pink and the magneta coloring. The rugosas I have are Dart’s Defender, Dart’s Dash, Ann Endt, and scabrosa; plus in the near future I should have some rugosa hybrids of these crossed with other species but these too should lack any white coloring. So what do you think?

someone some years ago had a post here of a database of percentages of colors in offspring between different colored parents. here’s what I got out of it- in order of dominance. (someone correct me if i’m wrong…)

white, yellow, pink, red.

In other words, it’s easier to turn red yellow than white (rubra vs alba). The earlier rosarians where trying to use white to turn yellow and had difficulties because they weren’t aware of this.

where, were, whatever

I hope Tom Silvers chimes in because he has made a similar cross and posted his result on HMF.

Your question about the progeny of white + yellow vs. pink + yellow is one I’ve also wondered about. It’s too early to tell you any of my own results with regard to bloom color. A couple of years ago I made my first cross between ‘Schneezwerg’ and R. xanthina spontanea (this species is totally healthy in my climate, purchased from High Country Roses) with exactly this end in view. Xanthina refused to take any foreign pollen; Schneezwerg happily accepted Xanthina. I now have one surviving seedling of the original 5 from that cross, but it has not bloomed yet. Unfortunately I have since discovered that Schneezwerg is susceptible to blackspot–thus defeating the purpose of using it as a parent. This year I decided to try Xanthina pollen on all my Rugosas. Only Ann Endt and Trollhattan set seed–no telling what they will produce, but I’ll take anything at this point. I have been looking for a promising healthy white Rugosa to try my luck again with the white + yellow principle.

I don’t know what yellow species you plan on using but I have found R. xanthina very finicky as a breeder. Based on repeated failures trying to cross it with Fru Dagmar Hastrup, I must guess that pure Rugosa + pure Xanthina = does not genetically compute. The three Rugosa seed parents that successfully set seed with Xanthina all show signs of non-Rugosa roses in their ancestry. Somehow that extra je ne sais quoi in their background seems to help those crosses take.

Every year I work with R. xanthina spontanea I wonder how long it will take before I truly understand and appreciate this wonderful healthy yellow species.

Do you remember Arno (Treasure Trove) posting a thread about his R. rugosa alba x Golden Chersonese cross? There’s a link below.

Good luck!


We used to have a chart on our home page that Steve McCulloch had made some years ago. It was listed under the articles tab, but I don’t see it any more. Don’t know why it was removed. Here is a link to a chart that sure looks a lot like what Steve did.


John I have been looking for that chart for awhile. The one I saw a long time ago was more complete however but I will study this one however.

Betsy I don’t know what species I plan on using right know. What I have available to me are the Spinossima hybrids, which should be mostly triploids I think. But just trying to get a plan in my head right now. Then when I settle on a plan I will obtain whatever rose I think will do what I want or I will use what I have available. Right now I am leaning towards R. primula (think it is diploid) or maybe one of the R. ecae hybrids. I think the spinossima hybrids might lead to infertility based on information on just straight R. rugosa x R. spinosissima crosses but maybe the hybrids would work differently.

Thanks John, that does look awfully lot like the one I saw as well, slightly more updated with more colors…


Remember ‘Topaz Jewel’? It was:

‘Golden Angel’ X ‘Belle Poitvine’: yellow triploid mini X pink diploid Rugosa. ‘Topaz Jewel’ is actually a better yellow than its seed parent, and it has none of the pink blend tones one might expect from a Rugosa cross. ‘Topaz Jewel’, unfortunately, has proven to be largely unwilling as a parent. (Moore managed one hybrid from it: ‘Peach Candy’, which looks pretty much like most any other miniature; all resemblance to the Rugosa side of the family is gone)

Now, I don’t know for a fact whether Ralph tried mating it with any of his other Rugosa derivatives or not. I would have. I’ve not attempted to mate ‘Topaz Jewel’ with “Magseed” before, but its an intriguing idea. It brings together two Moore hybrids that are both Miniature X Rugosa crosses, one yellow and one red. (Magseed is in fact, quite a good red) The only way that cross might even remotely work is to use ‘Topaz Jewel’ pollen in “Magseed”, and as “Magseed” is such a poor seed bearer, often rejecting the pollen given it, the odds are slim. Still, it might be worth the attempt.

One other possible avenue might be through ‘Agnes’. Peter Harris managed a cross using ‘Agnes’ on ‘Golden Showers’, although the result was, by his own admission, rather poor. (see link) I’d take a different approach and put ‘Agnes’ on something like ‘Golden Angel’ instead, so you are at least matching two triploids. I would select a yellow hybrid rather than one of the species, so you can at least get that first step out of the way.

I have budded a few sticks of multiflora with “Magseed” a few weeks back, and they appear to be doing well. With any luck I can offer you one of these next Spring, Adam, as “Magseed” has been very useful to me and I feel it has huge potential as a breeder.


I’ve always wondered about the depth of color in Golden Threshold and how that (ultimately) came from Brown Velvet.


Pelargonidin seems to be highly useful in retaining yellow tones without dispersing the oils so quickly. That is, at least, my observation and hypothesis. Pelargonidin in general also seems to help retain petal substance.

Brown Velvet is most like highly saturated with pelargonidin. I SWEAR I read somewhere tha Mary Sumner is a descendant of Orangeade, which is where I am guessing the russet source is coming from. If you watch Orangeade over a year, you will note it can get purple blemishes, black marks (not burns) and russet overtones depending on the weather. This combination of traits is the sign of the ability to throw russets. My assumption is that russet of the orange spectrum (ie. not mauve spectrum like Honey Dijon) is basically an intensity of pelargonidin and the ability to be phototropic.

Hi Paul,

Topaz Jewel’s pollen is highly potent to my nose. It will make my sinuses really violent in no time flat. I was actually just passing by it at some restraunt (I think McMinnimins), picking a bloom and playing with it while daydreaming. I would have never even cared about it because I had assumed it was hard to use. So I tried out the pollen since my nose said it was different. It stuck on Rememberance. I’m gonna harvest the hips soon. I used it cause it was blooming. There was no thought behind the cross.

I hate Topaz Jewel as a plant. I dislike the thorns, the way it grows and the look of the foliage. Its also a very stiff plant. But the blooms are really enchanting. If I can remember in the future, I think I will try it on Flower Carpet Amber. I am assuming its a fertile triploid but I dont know for sure. It could be a tetraploid too. If I were to use Topaz Jewel in a serious manner, I would possibly cross it to a very fertile tetraploid yellow that has a lot of positive qualities and good yellow retention. I would then try to cross back the probable triploid to a willing diploid rugosa with a graceful habit. Personally, I like Jens Munk the best. I am sure there are a lot of options to try. That is just one off the top of my really, really exhausted mind =/

In animals, albino is epistatic… it masks all other colours so an animal can be genetically black but still look white due to being homozygous for albino. I’m beginning to wonder whether white in roses is something similar. On Paul’s blog some time back he put up some progent of his ‘Midnight Blue’ x (‘Orangade’ x fedschenkoana) seedlings (see link) and we had a short discussion about how some whites will actually breed like a different colour (like orange or red… whatever was being masked by the white). As a result of this conversation I did a couple of crosses onto rugosa ‘Alba’ x ‘Golden Emblem’, an old, 1916, yellow/gold McGredy HT, to see if yellow rugosa could be bred. Lots of seed from that cross coming up now too… will get back to you in three years when they flower (LOL). I’ve also got a ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Gold Coin’ (Mr Moore yellow mini) that I’m hoping will flower this year, its second year in the ground… so far it’s mini, nice and clean and thornless. OP ‘Gold Coin’ seedlings all flowered yellow, the same as its parent, almost look like cuttings of GC. If it flowers this year I’ll post it here to add to the mystery :slight_smile:


I know that the white in Rosa rugosa alba is a color supressing, specifically peonin/cyanins, agent. I dont know much more.

Topaz Jewel was counted diploid by David.

Many to most yellow roses have more or less efficient anthocyanins supressors.

Most seedlings from rugosa derived x any microphyllae show no to little anthocyanins.

Lot of good thoughts. I will have to think about these things. Thanks for all the help. Simon ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Gold Coin’ sounds interesting. I crossed Ann Endt x Sequoia Gold this summer, that did not take but I will try again this summer. I did get a few seeds out of Rise n’ Shine x Purple Pavement, I highly doubt these will be fertile if they grow and I really doubt they turn out yellow.

"I crossed Ann Endt x Sequoia Gold this summer, that did not take but I will try again this summer. "


Redo that cross, but the other way round! You will be much more likely to get seed from ‘Sequoia Gold’.

I second what Paul said about using ‘Ann Endt’ as a seed parent… it hates foreign pollen. It loves its own pollen and makes truck loads of OP hips with bazillions of seeds that germinate easily to make little clones of itself but put anything else on it and it almost always fails. Last season, out of 2-30 pollens I put on it the only one to take was a little mini called ‘Cricket’, and then something ate it :frowning: Rise n’ Shine is on my list to apply rugosa pollen to this season as well as are some of my Benardella minis that seem to do very well here, like ‘Waltz’ and ‘Benardella’s Pearl’. I also tried to get ‘Holy Toledo’ to take rugosa pollen last season and that didn’t work so I’ll be trying it the other way around this season. Frank bred a lovely rich yellow mini called ‘New Hampshire’ that I’d like to try again with rugosa too.

In animals, albino is epistatic…I’m beginning to wonder whether white in roses is something similar.

Without diverging to split hairs over the definition of epistasis, I think the answer is ‘sometimes’. To split the hair just a little bit, even when it’s not strictly an epistatic trait ‘white’ can indeed mask the presence of the requisite genetic machinery for colors.

Biochemically (and hence, genetically) there are a lot of ways to get white. While white means that there are neither anthocyanins or carotenoids. This can happen by short-circuiting any number of steps along the way by any number of mechanisms (including epistatic ones).

Moreover, there’s white and then there’s fluorescent white, the latter being due to the presence of rosafluene (a carotenoid pathway by-product) and related compounds.

From a practical standpoint breeders should simply not assume that white parents will always give white progeny.

Regarding Betsy’s comment, “Unfortunately I have discovered that Schneezerg is susceptible to blackspot - thus defeating the purpose of using it as a parent.” I’m not aware of this Rugosa being susceptible to blackspot in cold (Zone 2, 3) climates. Therefore, because of its other excellent qualities (very good cold hardiness, very good repeat bloom, high fertility as a pistillate parent, wide diversity of the progeny’s plant characteristics), this cultivar is my choice to develop a yellow Rugosa. I’ve dabbled a bit in this respect and will step up such a breeding program next year. In my opinion, ‘Schneezwerg’ has been much neglected in Rugosa breeding programs since Dr. Svejda’s work. Let’s not forget that with her development of the ‘Schneezwerg’ hybrid ‘Jens Munk’, she produced one of the greatest quality Rugosas. So with the right combination of staminate parents, this standard of work could be accomplished again.

I know someone on here bred a BEAUTIFUL apricot rugosa hybrid seedling…I forget who, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that could help open the door to yellower rugosas. I’ve heard ‘Topaz Jewel’ is rather poor grower and overall rather weak here in the Mid-Atlantic region and I wouldn’t be inclined to use it.

I would love a yellow rugosa, would possibly using Spinosissima hybrids of the yellow persuasion be a possible channel to introduce some good yellow coloring? Hazeldean, while Triploid and having a tendency to ball is a pretty clear yellow.

  • Max