Francofurtana as Parent?

Anyone had success using as parent?

Been impressed with first year import performance - acceptable bloom density, color, sets hips consistently, produces seeds and strikes easily. Blooms were light pink (first bloom) to rich red semi double later blooms - not a repeater- in first year. OP seeds stratifying to try and germinate. HMF photos are a bit chaotic with this “Turbinata”, Redoubte study subject looks closest to mine.

Classed as “full hardy” in import source coolish Scandinavian country. I will find out in spring. Spellings vary.

Rumoured to be in Agatha which doesn’t set hips for me. But is absolutely cane hardy to tips in garden. Also Empress Josephine, with only lying a bit, is semi- hardy but skips bloom years if kicked (zone 4 A CDN). And an Incarnata “X” (forget which one in garden) is not hardy.

Some post mentions of using in breeding with other species. But don’t note any modern day performers in HMF.

Riku, this looks very promising. Could you tell us more about Francofutana and its relatives? So many of our contributors have set their sights on reliable cold-hardiness. This rose is also very beautiful.

Hi Brian

Not an expert, but the “francofurtana group” seems to be a wanderer and a morpher - within reason - eg color bloom height (pink dominate - red less so), single, semi double to double, semi D dominate, nice shrub to climber (German obs). Grows in/near Southern balmy Helsinki area - Vinhiti?

Depending on who one reads, origins seem to settle on a gallica x species cross or vise versa with “something” ( eg GST and Beales).

As to offspring, l chased this rose to import action because of the Agatha offspring rumour for hardiness reasons, height and bloom form. I have two agathas and they are absolutely hardy - not so much Empress Josephine and the other rumoured cross (not hardy here the former EJ blooming depends on winter severity ).

I see some Francofurt (vendor tag sub name) in the Agathas’ bloom color but not in the form they are larger, muddled double form and rarely see eye. All 10 years plus in colder north garden. Tall, easy 6 - 9 feet. Bush form could be argued as wanting. Though apparently Finns have another shorter but superior bush variant - on my hunt list when it arises on market. In the back garden tree choking one of the two. Schubert choke cherry … what a convenient name.

From Petrovics nursery. Leaves definitely look like they have gallica influence to my eyes. Does not set hips for me - ever. None repeat - strictly OGR to me.

You can convert to English the below Finnish Rose Society link on “Olkkala” (francofurtana) with effort.

Looks like converting not so easy … l did it by googling Finnish rose society then use search with Francofurtana and came back english … Mr Martin Lutheran (yes that is right name) did English translation as l remember from Hannu T comments back awhile - perfect english to my eyes - linking into thread flips to Swedish …. Bilingual country ….

Reproduced from Finnish Rose Society site

“2021 ‘Olkkala’

Pirkko Kahila discovered ‘Olkkala’, or vixala rose (Francofurtana group), in the early 1990s in the area of ​​Olkkala manor in Vihti, in the middle of nettles and raspberry bushes. It had not been found anywhere else.

It was not until 2012 that archaeologist Tuija Rankama said that she had found roses in Kirkkonummi in the area of ​​the former Veikkola sanatorium. The Art Nouveau villa of Arthur Lagerlöf, a mountain councilor, was built in 1910. In 1929 it became a public sanatorium, the garden of which was maintained by a gardener for the first decades.

According to the current nomenclature, ‘Olkkala’ is a Finnish rose.

The flower is simple, pink, white-centered, 6-8 cm wide. One inflorescence can have up to 10 flowers that open in a row. Flowering lasts a long time. There are many ???” chunks” ???

“Chunks” = “hips”, if you do a Google translate on the word “Kiulukoita” by itself. I’m reminded of ‘Alika’ by the photo–my guess would be a strong R. pendulina influence, which would also explain the hardiness.


Hi Stefan,

My scanning of data byte blurbs on HMF mentions some potential parents such as caninea, pendulina, cinomea/ majalis (sic?) - latter two are hardy in my north garden. Best one l read … was it was some form of Splendens, or a parent … this latter one (gallica) surprisingly “getting hardier” as its gets older.

First hip / chunk held small seeds vs officinals, and a “species or species cross?” gallica that seems to be hardy in south garden. Named R. marcantha. Has bloom friend mentioned looks like Pauli repens - very small hip but large seeds.

…. and yes Alika (terrific hardy) bares a close resemblance based on bloom density (more profuse but mine is an older plant) and opening red … like how Ruth was able to be hybridized from it to produce a semi- double. Kind of wished the heritage breeders would of pursued the gallica parentage crossing further to produce Dr Merkeley bloom form. However fortunately Pirjo did produce a modern Merveille - still being hardy tested - to give heritage hardy product breeders an exciting violet color to work with - if makes hardiness grade (Z3-4). First protected winter results better than with southern gallicas … note some have used it but crossed with warm zone efforts.

I was also wondering about R. majalis (R. cinnamomea in part), and it could certainly be in the background, although there would have been an initial chromosome number difference to overcome–R. majalis being diploid, while R. pendulina (R. alpina, also R. cinnamomea in part) is tetraploid. The involvement of an unreduced gamete or a fertile triploid hybrid seedling would allow a path forward regardless.

If there’s a close relationship with ‘Alika’ (probably ‘Splendens’), it might be worth gauging how well your seeds germinate this season before deciding whether it is better used as seed or pollen parent. Even with warm stratification, I’ve had poor luck so far trying to germinate OP seed from ‘Alika’, so I plan to mostly use its pollen going forward. Since you have it, it would be really interesting to see what a cross with Simonet S45 could do (you’d probably have to pollinate a fair number of flowers to get enough seeds to set). Is there some fragrance to work with?

I’m always amused to find large achenes within tiny hips–it’s a strange juxtaposition, like a diagram of a kiwi bird with a full-sized egg inside.

hips from R. macrantha - harvested ~Nov10 - bush size impacted probably by compressuon planting and Ross Rambler tree trunks(#1) good neighbour - getting promoted to sun next year. Bloom form is selling point. HMF has a photo of a “large shrub and impressive bloom” located somewhere in Calgary Alberta.

… for those interested below an excerpt from Pirjo Rautio article in " Newsletter of the World Federation of Rose Societies, Conservation and Heritage Group, Vol 13 - 12-2015" … article touches and ties into francofurtana family via Agatha and Splendens both of which grow well in the country. I won’t reproduce photos, but first passage bloom photo is what my Agatha blooms looks like … the second section is on a Finnish rose named R. splendens … my R. francofurtana (new) and R. splendens (old) don’t yet provide enough of a comparative memory to say yes there the same in my garden … leaving it to experts.

Pirjo has passed on.



"R. x francofurtana F: kirkonruusu, Sw: kyrkgårdsros (”churchyard rose”) (R. cinnamomea x gallica) is fairly widespread in Finland, but it was generally overlooked prior to the late 1980’s. In Sweden this rose is frequently planted in cemeteries, but in Finland it is usually found in the grounds of old manor houses.

There are two distinct forms of ”the churchyard rose”: a southern and a northern one. DNA analyses indicate that the northern form has more R. cinnamomea influence than the southern form, and probably arose when this latter
backcrossed to our native R. cinnamomea.

The ”churchyard rose” forms a lax, untidy bush 2-2,5
metres high with large, dark green leaflets. It blooms for about three weeks during July. The flowers are 7-
8 cm in diameter, double, lightly scented, in lilac rose tints. The bush suckers freely, enabling this rose to
be spread easily.

Another important francofurtana is the showy Rosa gallica ’Splendens’, F: valamonruusu, ”Valamo rose”. In Sweden this rose is called “Frankfurt”. ’Splendens’ is common throughout Finland, and performs well in northern regions of the country.

The Finnish name “valamonruusu” arose as a result of a garbled translation: the French ’Rose Pavot’ or ’Poppy Rose’ became in Swedish “valmoros” which was misunderstood by Finnish speakers as pertaining to Valamo Monastery. Although the rose has no connection with the monastery, the name has stuck. On good soil this vigorous rose can grow into an upright bush up to 2 metres high.

While in bloom from the end of June for about three weeks it is a splendid sight with an abundance of glowing, carmine red, almost single blooms, with the golden stamens well displayed. A good crop of orange, pear-shaped hips follows in September. ”Valamo” has spread from one garden to another by means of its freely produced suckers."

… and bottom line is l got my answer to my original question from recent history … based on accepting, until next year’s eng eye cast, R. splendens is “R. francofurt” is R. francofortana … all just one country over from each …. including Norge … then my example of Northern Yellow seems to be a 2nd generation work and Lundstrom’s Elle 1st.

Also believe overseas Suomi member “Rugosa” uses it in his work …

… and even more pleased a Dansk generated R. francofortana’s cuttings took this fall … going to planted in prime spots come spring … because 6 feet tall holds promise of an impressive future showing of this rose’s carmine bloom cycle over the years…

I found an article that appears to be written by one of the authors of the DNA study that Pirjo alluded to, and it discusses the results in a bit more detail, although I haven’t found a formal publication of the study yet–the author is Sirkka Juhanoja. From what is mentioned of those results, it does not seem that the Finnish R. x francofurtana grouping actually includes ‘Splendens’ (‘Alika’). From your attached photos, I would say that you were actually talking about ‘Splendens’, and not one of those Finnish R. x francofurtana selections, which explains the high fertility and brighter flower color. It sounds like the purportedly backcrossed (to R. majalis) northern R. x francofurtana selections probably have hardiness more on par with ‘Splendens’.


Txs for the link l will have a read tomorrow as this Pacific River hitting BC is posed to pass through northern Alberta tomorrow - l get wind blast fog but no rain. River heading south to Washington and NorCal.

Not to muddy the water, l went out and collected hips to compare from my Palantine Splendens and my oldest Alika (Cornhill l believe). None left on Francofurtana as all harvested.

On the macro level look the same … color, form (dehydration ignored) and size. Seed quality and number about same. Only odd item is Alika seems to have long - large “frilly sepal” remains whereas Splendens are short and pointed. Being a non botanist, l view Alika’s reminding me of the two hunter tenticals of the giant squid,and splendens the shorter sharper octopus tentacles :-))

I wonder if any differences in a given small sample might not be explained by sample size and maybe environment/plant circumstance–assuming that all of the hips in the double row are ‘Splendens’ from Palatine, then it looks like the persistent sepals on its hips are variable in shape at this point, with some being more lobed and even foliaceous and others being more entire. Some of the more delicate parts may have broken off by this point, too (I see some ends on the larger hips that look like they might well have been broken–maybe the bigger hips got knocked around harder in the wind?).

Hi Stefan,

Gave the article link a google translator whirl for a couple hours, but unfortunately it translated to totally incomprehensible English … at least to myself. Maybe this Peter Joy fellow will sit down one day, and do a comprehensive, layman friendly, distillation of Finnish rose genetic studies. … in English.

It took me 3 to 4 tries to get a Canadian available Splendens to survive (both Pickering and Palatine’s) … eventually hid the last one (Palantine’s) in a grove of spinos and it progressed to 2-3 feet high.

My hopping like a bunny xstal ball says my final conclusion - until, doubt ever happens, rev’d up to hard revision 0 - will be a consensus that my versions of Agatha, Francofurtana (Frankfurt), Splendens and Alika are closely related, to marginally related, but no pair is genetically an exact match. Agatha maybe a strong outlier with an angular fit due to cross breeding of probably Francofurt with the local rosa fauna.

Either way, there maybe three strong reds available with subtle differences to chase the elusive absolutely hardy rich, red rambler.

Next challenge … what(s) produced the nearly absolutely hardy (minor tip damage), Dr Merkeley, its bloom and fragrance … and do I believe it?

In case it helps, the right-hand column of the article is in Swedish… I translated the Swedish using Google Translate (a paragraph or two at a time) and it seemed to work well enough.

It sounds like there is something different (wrong?) about the ‘Splendens’ that was going around in Canada. Assuming that it wasn’t ‘Ayrshire Splendens’, I’m not sure exactly what the problem might be, but I’d still consider the ID suspect! :slight_smile:

You’ll have to play with expanding the photo … my palatine splendens amongst the spino and a few roses and dark red peony - June 23 2021 beginning bloom.

That definitely looks a lot like ‘Alika’, albeit with fewer petals than I’m used to (maybe or maybe not genetic?)–it would be interesting to know more about the provenance. It’s strange that it would behave so differently with such a similar appearance.