First R. setigera Results

In 2017 I germinated several R. setigera seedlings from seed purchased from Prairie Moon Nursery. One of the two remaining seedlings bloomed for the first time this spring. First order of business was to determine if this plant was male or female, so I made as many crosses as possible in both directions. Fertility wasn’t great, but my plant is apparently female (although I did get one hip with 2 seeds from the pollen, which may have resulted from poor emasculation on my part). Crosses resulting in seeds were:

R. SETIGERA X MRS. B. R. CANT (6 seeds)
R. SETIGERA X OP (2 seeds)

I’ve had three germinations to date, two from Plaisanterie pollen and one from the hybrid maximowicziana pollen. I’ll probably have three big, rambling plants which I don’t really have room for, but I’m still excited to have them. If I understand correctly I believe all first generation seedlings from a female R. setigera will also be pollen sterile.


Note: 95-1 X R. maximowicziana OP seeds were gifted by David Zlesak. 95-1 is a polyantha bred by Dr. Z and is listed on HMF.

Congratulations Mark!! I’m excited for you for these crosses and seedlings already germinating.

Thank you! I’m very glad to have the hybrid maximowicziana descended from the seeds you shared. It’s very fertile with closely related roses, although less so with roses more distantly related. I also have two plants that germinated from open pollinated R. maximowicziana seeds that you shared at the same time. Those haven’t bloomed yet. I’ve always liked polyanthas, but the traditional heavily multiflora based ones just don’t grow well here. One of the primary uses I intended for both R. setigera and the R. maximowicziana plants was to hopefully breed some polyantha type roses from some of R. multiflora’s close relatives that might thrive better here. The current seedlings give me a start on that. Now I need to decide what to use to dwarf them.


Many, many years ago, while enduring another interminable Kansas winter, I read Graham Thomas’s book on climbing roses. I fell in love with the idea of Noisettes. I had never seen one, but thought it might be worth trying to breed a hardy version by working with the native Rosa setigera. I never did, though, because it was so much easier to move away from the miserable winters. And as I later learned, most of the early Setigera hybrids were bred from Noisettes.

Sometimes breeding with species is more productive when an F1 hybrid is used as a starting point.
Rosa setigera, the Prairie rose.—This valuable native should be used freely where hardiness and vigor are especially desired. Although the Samuel Feast seedlings have never been changed by the efforts of breeders, the type remains to be worked with, and promises well when combined with free-growing Asiatic species. American Pillar, which has won wide popularity here and abroad, came from a Wichuraiana x setigera hybrid, pollinated with a bright red Remontant rose. Not all crosses with setigera, however, are good. When the species was bred with Hybrid Teas, the result was a number of exceedingly bright-colored varieties with thin unattractive foliage.

Apparently, R. wichuraiana contributes to better foliage. One might do as well with ‘Yvonne Rabier’, which could pass for a double white, reblooming Wichuriana.

I seem to recall from Dr. D. Zlesak that crosses with R. wichuraiana did not necessarily yield very healthy foliage.

That Plaisanterie gave good yields makes sense. David, I believe, said his best takes came from synstyllae, and I have found Mutabilis to be a willing father as well. (Mutabilis seems pretty decent at crossing some barriers for some reason.) The other takes are pretty cool!

I have not found R. setigera to be the healthiest of species herself in my climate, but intend to keep playing with it. I have R. s. serena, but have yet to get thornless seedlings in the F1 from my very limited work with her.

Maybe that’s why Van Fleet introduced only one example. That’s a pity. ‘American Pillar’ could do with a differently colored half-sibling.

Rosa setigera has a broad range extending from northern Florida into Ontario. Feast’s hybrids were bred from specimens R. setigera raised from seed collected near Lancaster, Ohio. Pierce’s stock originated in Tennessee. Horvath lived in Cleveland, Ohio, so I assume that he used a locally grown selection of the species.

I would guess that Ontario natives would offer more cold hardiness than their Florida cousins, and that the southerners would be better breeders for long season areas.

Rosa setigera seems to be rather obliging as to colors. Both 'Erinnerung an Brod ’ and ‘Doubloons’ are derived from it.


Yvonne Rabier was actually one I had considered, but I’m having an issue so far getting anything other than white flowers from the maximowicziana hybrid seedlings. Not sure that R. wichurana or Yvonne Rabier would help with that. Hopefully R. setigera will allow some other colors to come through in its seedlings. I like the idea of using Noisettes, but the only possible one that I have at the moment is the found rose Natchitoches Noisette, which grows as a shrub for me. It will definitely get used next year with R. setigera. I already have four seedlings this year from the cross of Natchitoches Noisette with the maximowicziana hybrid seedling described above. It appears two of them are forming buds at about four inches in height, so I may have some idea about bloom color soon. I’ve grown quite a few open pollinated seedings and deliberate crosses from Natchitoches Noisette over the years, and it tends to product a high percentage of white flowered seedlings itself.


R. setigera is not the healthiest plant here either. Prairie Moon Nursery is in Illinois I believe. Not sure where they sourced their seeds from, but I doubt they were from the southern part of R. setigera’s range. When I lived in north Alabama years ago, I grew a locally collected clone of what appeared to be R. setigera that was much healthier. Next time I’m in that area I should see if any of the wild plants I found then are still there.


The first R. setigera I saw was on an open lawn at K-State. That one really looked like a Rubus, and was rather badly rusted. More recently, I observed the species in Kentucky and Tennessee. All that I saw up close seemed to be healthy. Most were growing in ditches along the roads, where they were mown at least once a year. That didn’t stop them from blooming. Very few had the opportunity to climb. Without support they tend to grow as shrubs.

And that’s one of the “things” about R. wichuraiana and R. Maximowicziana, and why Crépin makes me a little nuts. In distinguishing R. wichuraiana from the closely allied R. luciae, he stated that these two differed in enough points to mark them as distinct species. However, he also insisted that the creeping (not climbing) habit of R. wichuraiana, alone, was not a distinguishing mark. He noted that other climbing species sometimes give rise to creeping varieties.

R. arvensis > may have decumbent stems and even more or less creeping; the same thing also occurs in > R. sempervirens > var. > prostrata > and also in > R. Luciae> , if I refer to an indication of Dr. Savatier, but this direction is exceptional in these species, while in > R. Wichuraiana> , the direction of the stem seems constant.

R. Maximowicziana, seems to be another example of a constant creeper.


Of the two possibly pure R. maximowicziana seedlings that I have, I’ve been training the branches of one into tree limbs overhanging it, so I can’t tell what its natural habit is. The other is planted in an open area and certainly fits your description of a constant creeper. It’s about a foot high and about twenty feet across.


Same here (sydney, australia). Got seed from sheffields, source on package is Missouri, seedlings haven’t wanted to survive (from around 200 seed, at least 100 germinations, down to 1 or 2 seedlings which aren’t happy) just various health issues that killed them or allowed the heat to. Maybe if they were babied and survived to maturity it may have been a bit different here but can’t say for sure.

I have found something similar for health. It’s not the best, or at least for here not the worst either. There is a rust that especially gets them here in the Twin Cities area and leads to defoliation and swollen infections on stems, leaves, and blooms. It seems not too hard to overcome some of the health issues with the right crosses. With the kind of rust they get here at least it is easy to breed that susceptibility out. The first generation hybrids are clean for that form of rust. It seems the other roses I’ve crossed the species with seems to be dominant for resistance to that form. Many of the hybrids get black spot worse than R. setigera here, but with the right roses some hybrids have been pretty good. It seems like a little bit of spraying holds back the foliar diseases a lot in R. setigera here thankfully.

R.setigera didn’t survive its second winter in north garden (Calgary, Alta).

R. maximowicziana has no issues in garden - l templated off related Finnish experiences looking for pseudo “climber” core stock parents (Jukka HMF photos) and MARBGardens.

Low disease pressure - no spray garden.

No crosses tried to date.

Both the R. setigera and R. maximowicziana clones I know are fairly disease-prone here in the Mid-Atlantic; they sometimes give the appearance of health if they manage to keep growing later into the season, but the older and lower foliage becomes diseased. The plants are otherwise rampant enough to outgrow most serious problems. R. maximowicziana builds up over time to several feet.

I tried two clones of R. setigera in Minnesota in northern zone 4a (a thorny one from a source I can’t remember, and the pistillate Serena Group clone from Vintage Gardens), and neither was very cold-hardy–the latter was the more tender of the two. I also tried the R. maximowicziana hybrid ‘White Mountains’ there, but it was nowhere near hardy enough to grow as a climber. It is another one that is fairly disease prone but continues growing during the season, so it gives the outward appearance of being reasonably healthy from a distance.

Here, I have a seedling of ‘Baltimore Belle’ pollinated by ‘White Mountains’ that is an absolute beast of a rose (thick, stiff, long stems that eventually arch outward and are covered in massive prickles) but is utterly stunning in bloom. It doesn’t exactly have better foliar disease resistance than the parents, but the foliage is thick, dark green and robust. What it lacks in foliar disease resistance is more than made up for by its canes, which seem to be immune to any problems with disease or borers, which is interesting.

I also have a couple of seedlings of the Serena Group clone of R. setigera pollinated by R. luciae ‘Basye’s Thornless’. One has some prickles in random, odd patches on the stems, and many prickles under the leaves; the other is nearly completely without prickles on the stems but still has numerous very small and grabby leaf rachis prickles. The latter plant is about the closest imaginable thing to a rose analog of kudzu with its very thin and fast-growing stems. It blooms only sparsely with single, light pink flowers, and I think sets hips even more rarely than that (i.e., I’m not sure if I’ve seen hips on it or if my eyes were playing tricks on me). However, I don’t know if I’ve seen a speck of disease on it.

I had originally thought that the R. setigera Serena Group did not pass along thornlessness based on early results from a cross with ‘Darlow’s Enigma’, but one vigorous seedling seems to be prickly only on the lower half of its basal shoots, then becomes sparsely prickled to almost smooth above that. Another seedling that is less vigorous seems to be relatively smooth overall, but hasn’t gotten very large yet and is still in a fairly small container for its own good. They don’t seem to have inherited especially good foliar disease resistance from the pollen parent, either, but both have very healthy stems. Of course, ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ sometimes has imperfect disease resistance here, too.

If one could start by crossing R. maximowicziana with R. luciae and then backcross healthy seedlings to the seed parent species for a generation or two more, and then cross the healthiest and hardiest products with the healthiest and hardiest forms of R. setigera (which may not be Serena Group, as that hails from southern Missouri), you might have something to work with as a partial base for healthy, hardier ramblers/climbers. I also think that there is a role for Sect. Rosa in the mix to provide the extra cold-hardiness needed, considering R. x paulii, ‘Ames Climber’, and ‘Max Graf’ (and of course “R. x kordesii”).


Allegedly. But isn’t that up for debate? Honestly, the main reason I wanted the rose (in addition to thornlessness) was that it was supposed to be in the lineage of some beautiful full-flowered blooming beasts, but I believe I remember reading of some debate as to actual parentage, and whether the real setigera was used in some of them. (Am I misremembering? I don’t keep records, and have horrid memory.)

I think of setigera as a rose predominantly of the eastern half of the USA, and since we don’t even know what rust is here, I am not too surprised to hear of it being susceptible. I would, on the other hand, imagine that R. woodsii would be pretty resistant to rust. (Why in the world aren’t there a ton of people using that one in hybridizing? With all its sub-species, the thing has an incredible range, and should be quite adaptable.)

My setigera does have some spotting at the end of the season.

(Obviously, I have not figured out how quote boxes work…)

Useful and Informative thread for me.

Is it common for R. setigera to have either sterile pollen or sterile ovary? Enough to talk about male or female plants. I asumed Roses all to be monocious and have hermaphroditic flowers. But it wouldn’t be the first time roses surprise me.

It’s my understanding that R. setigera is dioecious (the only rose species to be so). There have been a number of discussions of this issue on this forum, and among people far more knowledgeable than I am. I’ll post some links below to the earlier discussions.


Yes. R. setigera is dioceous, and unique in that trait. The thornless one in circulation is a female clone.
Rikuhelin1, please don’t consider my utterances to be informative! Lol. I put them out there as questions, primarily.

But not a true dioceous plant. As in different male and female flowers (like nettle (Urtica), willow, …). More of a genetic quirck that sterilizes the male reproductive organs (that remain present and visible in the flower). You’d have plants that have both ovary and pollen working and plants that have sterile pollen. But no Setigera clone that has sterile ovary and fertile pollen?

I understand why one would say female plant of course. But quite spectacular nevertheless. Sterile pollen is not a unique trait in hybrid roses I guess?