Four Petals

The first time this seedling bloomed it had four petals. I am surprised to find it seems to be stable. This is the second times it’s flowered.

Does anyone have any experience with singles with four petals?

The cross is Lyn Griffth x Home Run.


Robert, that is very nice. I have had some singles showing 4 petals early, that nearly always mature into having 5 petals. Though I did have a seedling a couple of years ago that would exhibit both 4 and 5 petalled blooms, it seemed to favor producing 4 petalled blooms.

Jim Sproul

Interesting Jim. This is my first experience with this sort of thing. I sort of hope it keeps it’s four petals. It looks very primitive.

Thanks, Robert

I’m intrigued!

I suppose historically such would have been culled as mutants or such, but I think the effect could be nice.

I’m curious as to whether there is any unusual arrangement of nodes on the stem, or any other indication of abnormalties elsewhere on the plant (?)

Four sepals too?


I forgot to look at the sepals Phillip. That’s a good point. I will inspect the plant tomorrow. It seems to be of normal vigor.

I’ve already used the pollen. We may have to wait till it blooms again to get a definitive answer.

There is a species with 4 petals in one of my books somewhere…

Wow, the answer was on Wikipedia.

“The flowers of most species roses have five petals, with the exception of Rosa sericea, which often has only four”

Rosa sericea is a species of Rosa native to southwestern China (Guizhou, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan), Bhutan, northern India (Sikkim), and Myanmar; it grows in mountains at altitudes of 2,000-4,400 m.

It is a shrub growing to 2 m tall, often very spiny. The leaves are deciduous, 4-8 cm long, with 7-11 leaflets with a serrated margin. The flowers are 2.5-5 cm diameter, white, with (unusually for a rose) only four petals. The hips are red, 8-15 mm diameter, with persistent sepals, and often bristly.

There are four formae:

  • Rosa sericea f. sericea.

  • Rosa sericea f. glandulosa T.T.Y

Ah that species. Theyre really graceful in person. Theyre similar to the moyesii clan in growth pattern and general feel. They have a totally unreal feel about them when mature and placed properly.


Robert… The dealings ive had with four petal the first and maybe the third r four … then next year it may be 8-10 petals…

Hi Larry, yes, I’m used to the petals doubling. This is the first time I’ve had a seedling repeat with four petals but of course you are correct, it could and very likely will change.

It’s fun to conjecture that it might not and I was reminded about R. sericea. I had forgotten it normally has four petals.

It’s yet another direction a breeder might explore.

Thanks, Robert

Philip, it did have four sepals but the rest of the plant shows no anomalies I can detect.

Robert, here is a photo of a recent miniature hulthemia that had four petals. You can see that one of the petals is a bit larger (from your photo, it looks like one of the petals is also a bit larger). Every bloom after this one has exhibited 5 petals.

Jim Sproul

A mini hulthemia? That is very cute, and I like those colors.

Thanks Amber. Yes, this one is a true mini and repeat blooms very rapidly. There are several other mini hulthemias in this year’s batch of seedlings.

Jim Sproul

Jim, it would be interesting to introduce one of your single flowering mini Hulthemia hybrids to one of my single flowering Mini Banksia hybrids? =)

This is one of the Joycie x Lila Banks seedlings.

I’ll bet we would get some unusual color combinations.

The repeat Hulthemia pollens I used this Spring set nice hips with my Banksia seed parents this year.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Of course the minis are a whole other subject as are the four petals roses. I can’t wait to see if this one retains it’s four petal look.

That’s great Jim. Minis always seem to have a great range of colors. I know people usually grow them in pots, but I’ve been trying to grow them outdoors in ‘mini’ gardens. I hope they catch on as something people can use in a small area to landscape.

Ooooh, Jim…

How is the resistance thus far for your hulthemias?

Do you still keep updated photos posted at your site??


Robert, it might be fun to mix up the genetics a bit and see it the four petal tendancy is strenghtened by crosses between seedlings showing this tendancy.

Amber, I agree with you - minis are great! They do wonderfully in the ground just so long they don’t have to compete with trees and have had a chance to grow a bit before planting.

Philip, so as not to hi-jack this topic, I have moved my response to your question to the hulthemia thread at below.


Jim Sproul



I have a seedling of Queen Elizabeth OP that bloomed today for the first time that is a ‘hot pink’ and has only four petals. Like you wrote, it is very primitive looking. Luckily it has good scent as well. I’m not usually a fan of singles or pinks but this four petaled one is very interesting and the color is very bright. I’ll have to watch to see if it will continue to put out four petals per bloom. If it does I’ll keep it and see how it performs.