Genetics of yellow roses

Hi, folks,

Was wondering if any of you know anything about the genetics of yellow roses. My open-pollinated seedling of Golden Celebration just started to open its bud, and the petals I can see within are a deep cerise pink…


Hi Fara,

Whether it’s open pollinated or crossed with any other rose you will never get just “ALL” yellow.

You may get every color there is in roses.

One way to see the blood line, is to go to HMF Roses.

Below the link to the rose for bloodlines etc.

I have no time to go into it now. Check it out.

Good luck

George Mander


Three of Golden Celebration’s Grandparents are pink. There’s your answer.

Ralph Moore told me, that Walter Lammerts told him, that yellow was the hardest color to breed for and it had proven to be true in his experience. This was one reason he tried long and hard at developing good yellows.

I concentrated on yellow last season and am pleased to already have another yellow banksia descendant as a result.

Yellow is also a very key color as it brings in new tones to previous colors, as well as widening the spectrum to other possibilities. The same goes for apricot/orange. This is why I feel it is essential to create good yellow/orange tones in every aspect of rosedom. I’ll prolly be dead when a mauve/yellow bicolor zone 4 and below cold hardy shrub exists, but it is completely possible! etc…

My impression is that many so-called yellow roses actually have a low level of pink to bulk them up. That is certainly true of the golds, apricots, oranges. Even Harison’s yellow produces some orange-red in warm seasons if you prune brances after most bloom to force some latent buds. That makes me think that Austrain copper was the actual parent.

Thanks, all. What I was wondering was weather yellow roses bred true. Really ought to get back to work teasing out rose color genetics. I’m hoping to introduce yellow in to the line of spotted roses I’ve got going, but it’s going to be a long, hard slog.

I grossed some yellow toned or bicolors to Sevillana, so we will see!

That’s Incredible! seems to be the closest to yellow + spotted/stippled to date. Champagne Cocktail is a handpainted buff.

gross… lol


btw, LeGrice wrote a lot about yellows.

I like this site a lot.

Had some time to check out bloodlines again !

If you go back to the bloodlines you will also find :

As # 30. 'Crimson Glory with 3.13%

Or # 18. Charlotte Armstrong 6.25%

Also very interesting is : “List by Generation”

HMF has helped me a lot since I am on the computer for the last 8 years to trace parentage I could not find in “Modern Roses”. Finally, after 27 years, I found at HMF where the purple came from in my MANpurple HT, the Grandfather of 90 percent of my roses produced since 1969.

Read my very interesting “MANpurple Story” on my web-site. Link below.


I have been thinking of yellows as the “blank canvas” for rose colors. To be honest I spent a fair amount of time a few winters ago trying to sort out the genetics of flower color in roses and never really felt that it was completely sorted out. As most of you know there are 2 major pigments that are responsible for flower color, the anthocyanins which create the pinks/reds/mauves and the carotenoids which create the creams and yellows. Whites arise when both compounds are not produced.

From my notes it appears that there is a single gene that is responsible for anything from the “not quite white/scented” to the “deep yellow/not scented class”. With ivory/cream, light yellow, and medium yellow, all scented falling in between these 2 extremes. The deep yellow is recessive to the the “not quite white” as the gene involved appears to regulate the breakdown of carotenoids into the scent compounds. I think this is why the non-fading scented yellow rose is so difficult to achieve.

I also have from my notes that there is some evidence that there might be a second gene out there that is responsible for determining if carotenoids are being made, with the white/not scented class being recessive to the yellow class.

I completely agree with Larry that many of these so called yellows actually do have some anthocyanin colors in their petals. One of the reasons that I gave up trying to sort out the genetics of petal color from the database info was that the standard nomenclature that is used to describe flower color is totally useless for a geneticist - yellow blend, what in the world does that mean???

So for what it is worth, this is my view of the genetics of yellow in roses.

Fa, any chance that the OP seedling of yours was pollinated by an insect with pollen from another rose?


I would say that yellow is more like the undercoating or base paint of a canvas. It does things rather unexpected through both mixing and reflection. I think you can show that the old fashioned orange (before pelargonidin became prominent) was yellow and some anthocyanin. Also mauve and purple such as manpurple depend on having yellow underlying more or different anthocyanin.

Really bright scarlet roses I believe have yellow in them. If you go back the family tree of crimson glory you find ophelia, premier etc. If you go forward through charlotte armstrong you find golden showers, a strong yellow. Similarly from soeur therese there is high noon.

Most interesting of the lot though is sunny june which is reported to be crimson glory x captain thomas, parent of the other two strong yellows just mentioned. If that pedigree is correct, crimson glory must only carry two copies of the pink genes, or it could not give pure yellow offspring.

This is over-simplified of course because there are several genes in each pathway. I’m just writing an article for the next RHA newsletter on Carefree Beauty and the many crosses I have done onto that. I will say more about yellow there.

Bella’Roma is a good yellow with strong fragrance that lasts for a long period of time.

In response to above, I also like the pink/red/yellow blends like Lady Elsie May and Flirtatious.

When I first bought Ingrid Bergman in the 1990’s, I was intrigued. I still have that rose. I love it. But I was intrigued because it was one of the first darker red HT’s that was A) relatively healthy and B)didnt pink or purple (like Olympiad or Chrysler Imperial, respectively). Also, the blooms get dinner plate size here in the spring, which is super cool =P Upon inspection of the petals, I noticed something unique at that time. The color where the petals attached where yellow instead of white. So, obviously, at some point in the “unknown seedling” portion of its parentage, there was enough yellow (and probably orange) for this to happen. And, yeah, I think that helped lead Ingrid Bergman’s success as a rose.

Here’s a photo of my Golden Celebration offspring just beginning to bloom. The color is correct on my monitor–a true red without any hint of purple or orange. This is an open pollinated seedling and one of the reasons I wanted to know about the genetics of yellow roses was to see if there were anything in my garden I might be able to rule out as a parent. I really should pluck off the flower and let the plant grow some, but…

It looks red with a turkey red hue overlay and a gold dot base on my monitor. Maybe something is repressing the yellow?

do you have a list of all that you grow?