Damask-R bifera-R fedtschenkoana- Hurst vs Septet vs Thebig-bear Question

Anybody care to take a crack at, or comment in layperson terms what this means?

I assume R fedteschenkoana is not answered (explained) in septet theory as being a parent by this question.

From HMF comments by “the- big bear“ under R bifera and fedschenkona

“I have to say I’m a little confused about Fedtschenkoana being the pollen parent of the Damasks.

While I am in no way any kind of genetics expert, and indeed I am only just now starting to grasp some of the very basics, I do feel that in this instance things do not add up for me, no matter what way around I think of this - and this is why.

According to Hurst’s septet theory (which I don’t believe has been debunked, but please correct me if I’m wrong) and all the scientific (including genetic studies) discussions that I have found by all manner of people far more qualified than me, R. Moshata is described as an A septet diploid, R. Gallica as an A and C septet tetraploid, and R. Fedtschenkoana as a B and D septet tetraploid. These designations would fit with all the characteristics and traits of the three roses in question, so no problems there.

Now as I understand this, the initial cross between Moschata X Gallica would result in a triploid hybrid (fertile or otherwise, but that is not really relevant here). So far so reasonable. But- if this hybrid was then pollinated by Fedtschenkoana, surely the result would be something along the lines of an irregular A, B, C, D septet tetraploid - somewhat like the original seedling from Pernet Ducher’s cross that subsequently led to Soleil d’Or. (Or even something like an A, A, B, C, D, pentaploid?) Yet nowhere have I seen this fact discussed, let alone explained.

Am I missing something, or does that not add up with the finding of all 4 of the oldest of the Damasks as A and C septet tetraploids? Where did the B and D go?!

Any thoughts? Much obliged in advance.

I’ve pinned this comment on the Fedtschenkoana page as well.“

Forwarded a recent UK thesis that is relevant to the apparent conundrum thebig bear has … and top custard on the whole damask - remontant and fedtschenkoana input origins topic, history and science.

Big thanks Paul for the help.

How apres peau Roman Bath ruins at academic’s work location … wonder if they used rosewater from autumn damask to perfume themselves up after hard sweating :sweat_smile: day on the trebuchets batteries.

Hurst’s theory has basically been debunked by the mountain of knowledge produced during other scientists’ research into rose genetics. There was no direct empirical evidence of the supposed underlying mechanism. Hurst was merely working backwards from perceived morphology, or what he called “septet characters,” and then concocting a theory of what might be going on to explain them at the genetic/chromosome level. He never had any real, measurable proof that chromosome “septets” were inherited in the unaltered way he described, and his assumptions about those “septet characters” were themselves quite flawed. It shouldn’t be at all surprising that his conception of the septets that the Damasks supposedly possessed was incorrect, since that was based solely on his belief about their parentage based on their “septet characters” that (to Hurst) simply blended characteristics from his “AA” and “CC” species groups. If he had any inkling that something like R. fedtschenkoana might be involved in the origin of the Damasks from their appearance, he probably would have assigned a different “septet formula,” but he didn’t. It’s that simple. It isn’t as if Hurst was actually looking at the roses’ chromosomes and distinguishing them–he admitted himself that he thought they all more or less looked alike.



Thanks for taking the time to elucidate on the conundrum question in a clear concise manner. A language l understand. Sounds like the Hurst work was “ qualitative observational” factoid analysis and pigeon holing.

My genetics comprehensive is below “ thebig bear’s “ - training having stopped in 1973 after bio 101. After which l specialize in “rocks and minerals” and then how to “harvest and concentrate them” at a profit … but ended up in “sandy oil technology operations, project development and mega projects" for 30 years plus.

The Phd candidate thesis (50% read so as to comprehend) should be released as a “specialized reference book”. Easy to read as it avoids fluff and sticks to past and new objective facts (l believe so).

So far l am excited how it finds and welds mostly seamlessly evidence. This evidence comes from the social sciences, ancient civilizations march and intersections, history, art history, field investigations, ancient economics- trade, archaeology, geography, and a good healthy dose of science (e.g. lwata et al, potential flaws, his detractors (Cirigan) arguments and flaws), plus recent science testing.

Not finished yet, but seems lwata dodges most “peer reviewed bullets” in the author’s research.

Dam good read so far for this lad needs. One key for me is the the First Triumvirate of the damask parents have apparently been proven to geographically to overlap in recent times ( co-mingle). Claimed never did in past due to uplift barriers caused by the Indian plate smashing into Asian plate. Around my favourite hardy rose grounds l call the “Stans”.

Helps science qualifications background to do work as a deceased relative a prof (l think), and family has/ had a nursery in Bath area (Mattock’s). Toured “the bath” a few times.

Rev1: To correct spelling of workers names

Well l will be thunder struck, his relative created “Hunter”.

One of the few rugosa hybrids l tolerate in the gardens as doesn’t get anemic in my soil, blooms like a mad man and travels. Like it so much that in 2008 had 2 dozen. Declined in numbers as l needed to make room. Not bullet hardy in my garden but comes back to bloom rage.

I just read the “comments” thread that you were describing and see that the good Plazbo had made pretty much exactly the same points I did in responding to the asker back in 2021, and in fewer sentences, to boot!

To me, the magic of the Damask rose is not that it could have occurred naturally if the parent species’ ranges happened to overlap–it’s that some ancient (to us) humans might have appreciated them enough to bring at least some of them together into gardens where the crosses could then take place, one way or another.


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Have to empathize with hope humans did it …. like the cave paintings … now l find myself not at the North Sea zuider zee-land, but back in the the middle east for an exploration of the potential history of the centifolia. Its all coming back to Indian Head, or not, at the end of my endless journey.

Txs again for valued experience input and Paul for a magic key, been a fascinating paper that came out of a wtfuss question.

Here is the link to the paper.


Zuider zee is dutch for South sea. North sea would be Noordzee. I’m confused. The Middle East is thousands of miles from the Noordzee. I’m even more confused. Where is this going.

The Phd paper link Margit sent me by way of Paul Olsen asking it be given to my attention is the same Margit kindly made accessible to RHA site.

It ventures politely - kind like the Dutch when l worked at Shell - that the centifolia like rose was already reported in Roman times in Italy at the ancient (BCE) immigrant Greek settlement at Paestum (sic) on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea or the Mediterranean - south sea.

It has / had been in literature postulated the first were hybridized in the CE in the Netherlands. I was yet again intrigued by this thesis.

Centifolia is but a name used to describe a rose with many petals. The roses developed by the Dutch were not the roses with a hundred petals the Romans had.

Oh it is interesting to me only, if R. x centifolia, or a 100 petal Damask version sport, not sent to Holland by trade, in 1600’s-1700’s and used as base breeding stock. Maybe the Dutch found another rose species variety as base partner that was used to hybridized the cabbage roses. Was it a gallica (some chap in 2002 named Ritson believes so) or other hybrid species?

Gallicas maybe can provide a powerful number of petals.

from 2017 thesis by Mattock:

"3.3 Rosa x centifolia There is confusion over the plant known today as Rosa × centifolia and the plant that the Romans knew as “centifolia”. There is further confusion in the Latin-English translations between the rose, centifolia, the rose of CyrenæRosa × centifolia syn.

R. gallica var. centifolia (L.) Regel), is a hybrid rose also known as the Provence rose or cabbage rose, or Rose de Mai. Its point of origin is unclear.

Quest Ritson (2003) says that it appears to be the result of a cross between the Gallicas and the Damasks in late in the 16th. Century, probably by Dutch rose breeders."

Rev 1/2 for proper use of grammar or a close approximation there of.

With all due respect to your scholarly relations and the venerable Mattock’s Roses (it’s amazing that you are connected!), as fascinating as some of the background research might be, I can’t help but take issue with many statements made in that paper.

One general problem is a shocking failure to recognize that Rosa moschata is a repeat-blooming rose. The author repeatedly asserts that R. fedtschenkoana is the only source of rebloom in the background of the Damask. It may well be that without R. moschata as a progenitor-catalyst, the involvement of R. fedtschenkoana might not have produced the repeat-blooming Autumn Damask at all, at least, not without additional generations of selfing or backcrossing. On its own, R. moschata is in fact a far better reblooming species than R. fedschenkoana, even though we now understand that the repeat bloom of both species comes from the RoKSN A181 allele. R. moschata flowers nearly continuously once it begins (in early summer here, although apparently it takes longer to initiate flowering in cooler-summer climates). It’s very likely that R. moschata was being cultivated from an early date at least in part because of its relatively perpetual flowering, and given that it is the maternal progenitor of the Damask, I believe it was likely pollinated in a garden, probably by a double-flowered form of R. gallica that was also being cultivated. As with present-day humans, any person of means who was bitten by the “rose bug” after experiencing these wonderful garden plants might have actively sought other rose species for cultivation, and a savvy Silk Road trader might have translocated a species like R. fedschenkoana. The author clearly underestimates the horticultural skill of cultures thousands of years ago with the assertion that rose plants couldn’t possibly have been moved long distances by humans. Bees probably would have done all of the heavy pollination lifting, of course.

Many statements contain mistakes or problematic conclusions that are difficult to get past.

For instance, under the reprinted phylogenetic tree from Bruneau et al. 2015, the author states in the caption, “Note that neither Rosa x damascena or Rosa moschata are included in the table because they are considered to be naturally occurring hybrids.” What then, precisely, is the alleged parentage of Rosa moschata, which is and always has been treated by taxonomists as a natural species?

There’s also this doozy: “The once only, summer flowering Rosa x damascena var. semperflorens, (Mill). the Summer Damask; and the repeat flowering Rosa x damascena var. bifera (Poir.) the Autumn Damask…” Really, “semperflorens” didn’t ring any bells?

There are many other such examples. I don’t disagree with the overall idea that the Damask rose likely originated somewhere in western Central/South Asia and then migrated westward, of course. I do find a lot of other statements to object to.


Hi Stefan,

Just short note. I review your defect list tomorrow, however l have no intention of defending the work - wrong level of expertise.

However on R. mochata l remember a passing comment in the paper or ref paper - comp search should find it - known to sometimes repeat and a function of climate as with some other species roses. Thought it odd or more surprised and pleased.

Happy New Year


Interesting on the travel portion. I interpreted my read totally opposite that taking a tree sized species rose on a camel would not survive the arid arduous trip conditions. However a slip or “sucker” had a better chance wrapped in leather.

In the paper it highlights a claim that apparently some suliman or what not, from lran region sent a “centifolia” var to the dutch.

Didn’t get the same negative read from the paper on travel impossible rather its another key as in “transmigration” or as in the pioneer roses. Brits may have invented wardian case but not moving or carrying prize roses great distances and time.

Hybrid vs pure rosa stock exclusion is troubling and a debate for academics and physicists. I view it where is the cut off between hybrid and pure when frequently cant decide if a rose is one or many inputs. My guess is with this newish issr classification testing of a new rosa vision, arguments will continue as they have for centuries.

I just want to know for Indian head where did blooming on new wood come from … be bone meal before that gets answered.

As to the Damask slip up, l ve never seen a damask “rebloom” … but don’t expect to up here. I take the show me State approach via digitally stamped and dated time lapsed photos.

Still going to pursue Damask Portland avenue until proven a turkey oath by me for IH origins.

Duchess of Portland never dies out in my garden - still here 15 years later and spread out. And occasionally blooms on new wood - after l thrashed out the spino shading around the patch.


I perceived a strange disconnect between the author’s acceptance of the idea that the Damask rose could have been transported successfully by suckers and the apparent need to explain the Damask’s origin as a strictly natural hybrid that occurred where the three species’ ranges overlap. Frankly, I don’t buy that R. fedtschenkoana grows anywhere near where R. moschata is found naturally–the former is from a region of relatively cold winters, and the latter requires a warm-winter climate. While it is possible for someone to have cultivated R. fedtschenkoana in a warmer-winter region than where it is native, it would not have been possible to cultivate R. moschata in a cold-winter region in ancient times.

Agree for most part, climate and soil eventually are great equalizer - you either belong or just linger. I probably cut academics too much slack, reason is they achieve great things at a snail pace.

Again my interpretation assuming (thought it was explicit) the field work reported by others - impression I got - was the author points out that unlike in the past work he states other’s work found overlap all three. Therefore he ventures natural forces could of played a part.

I can’t afford to go there (River Ox? -sic - neat drains into Caspian) on a collecting field trip and pay for “security” and passage, and also too creaky - camel saddle sores and whip lash would be the end.

Would of brought three species experts, and hope two agree, and third wants ISSA testing. I would love to vet the area.

Rev1 grammar