'Hansa' - who so few hybrids?

Although ‘Hansa’ has been around for nearly 100 years and it is easy to use as a pistillate parent, it’s a mystery why the Canadian prairie rose breeders, Percy Wright and Robert Erskine, have essentially been the only ones who have developed hybrids with it. Of course, since ‘Hansa’ combined very good hardiness with repeat bloom, it was an ideal rose to use by northern rose breeders. Still, one would expect more results from other rose breeders who worked on the development of rugosas and other shrub roses.

I expect that I will eventually introduce several ‘Hansa’ hybrids, including a cross with Rosa foliolosa. I’m aware of others working with ‘Hansa’, so can you bring me up-to-date with your work.


While I have gotten a few hybrids from Hansa that were fair, most were chlorotic, disease prone,lacked vigour, or had mis-shapen blooms. Of probably 150 seedlings planted out in the last three years I only had a dozen or so that made it past thier first season. Of those most were culled due to mildew suseptibility.

I still have about half a dozen from last season that have yet to bloom. Of those only three really have good vigour and nice foliage.

Despite all this I still think the few decent ones offer hope for future crosses.

Randy Hughes


As a rule I don’t have mildew problems with ‘Hansa’ hybrids. But then again, I primarily stick to other rugosas and species for staminate parents. Gallicas are also promising. The exception was Rosa roxburghii and I was surprised about this. One never knows.



If you could email me when you get a chance please I would appreciate it :slight_smile: !!!

Link: www.rosekinggardens.com/forums.htm

Someone gave me a Hansa plant last spring. I pollinated one flower with Duchesse de Brabant, and got a hip with 61 seeds, and 38 germinations so far. A few of the seedlings are moderately vigorous, but most are languishing. Many have failed to produce their first true leaf.

I had similar results last year with the cross R. rugosa rubra X Duchesse de Brabant: large number of seeds per hip, high rate of germination, and high rate of seedling failure. Out of 96 germinations, only 8 seedlings grew. None of them mildewed, but they all had rust by the end of the season. None of them has bloomed yet. I’ll keep them another year to see if they bloom.

I don’t think that this is a bad result when crossing two genetically dissimilar diploids and I plan to do a few more pollinations with diploid Tea pollen on Hansa this spring.

A little clarification on my earlier post regarding Hansa’s poor performance in its seedlings.

I have been using mostly tetraploid garden roses in my crosses with Hansa over the last few years hoping to get blended characteristics in triploids. I believe that most of the problems I have had are due to incompatability broblems due to the wide crosses.

I think if one were to cross Hansa with diploids, particularly those in the same section, the results would be much more satisfactory.


I have germinated many open pollinated seeds of Hansa. What struck me the most was the variability of the offspring. I took this to indicate that Hansa was self sterile. To check this, another person (possibly Randy) and I tried loosely covering some flowers before they opened and found that no hips were formed.

I have at least 2 offspring that I have kept for a number of years.


Your memory is accurate. It was me that tried covering the blooms of Hansa before they opened (with my wife’s pantyhose!) and found greatly reduced hipset. I did get a few, but nowhere near the amount that were produced by uncovered blooms. My conclusion was that although Hansa is mostly self infertile, there are some selfs. I had suspected, as did the late great Percy Wright, that Hansa is a hybrid rugosa, possibly with a diploid china or tea rose. This and the reluctance to take its own pollen would explain the amazing variability in its seedlings. Very few seedlings from Hansa looked like they were pure rugosa. Many OP seedlings didn’t look at all rugose. I suspect that nearly all its seedlings are hybrids due to self rejection, or that the seedlings show marked segregation of characteristics due to its (suspected) mixed parentage.


I have one seedling of Country Dancer x Hansa this spring. Thus far, I do not see any paternal influence, but it does seem vigorous and healthy. I haven’t done much using roses with rugosa heritage. Don’t know if I can expect a bloom this year, or not. Also, I have not checked the ploidy of the Buck Roses, such as Country Dancer, but I would assume they are tetraploid. My seedling is likely a triploid. Time will tell.

Hi Paul, I have tried to use it for height with R. Blanda but I Just can’t get to accept pollen. I have also tried it with Martin frobisher as pollen with same results. I have had more succes with ames5. But to show my hope i did plant one to try at the farm so I know that the pollen is very fresh instead of using plant on the boulevards in Edmonton.

I tend to use the Dilploids (rugosa, Tea, China eg.) as seed parents as I feel the the increased genetic matter can contribute to interesting things happening.

This is a piece from _Gigantism, Polyploidy and Hybrid Chinas

Karl King

A triploid derived from a diploid seed parent represents a 50% increase in chromosome number, with 67% foreign chromosomes. In the reciprocal cross, the chromosome count is decreased by 25%, and only 33% of these are foreign to the cytoplasm. A triploid hybrid from a diploid seed parent is more likely to exhibit gigantism than an autotriploid, such as the giant triploid form of R. blanda. A triploid derived from a tetraploid seed parent may also show some physiological disturbance, but gigantism (or “hybrid vigor”) would be less pronounced.

I believe Hansa is not a relative pure rugosa, this can be judged from it’s appearance.

This year I begin to use my rugosas as seed parents(even include Fimbriata and David Thompson), cross with 4X and 3X and 2X roses. I find few Fimbriata’s hips(pollen parent is a species rugosa?and never covered from Insects) have obviously expanded, but not sure they can hold on to the last. And I hope David Thompson will not become a nightmare.

This is Fimbriata’s pollen parent:

[attachment 1700 1.jpg]

[attachment 1702 2.jpg]

[attachment 1703 3.jpg]

When it‘s cloudy?or in gale?this species rugosa’s 5 petals close at once?just like pic 3.

At the following link: http://picasaweb.google.com/HAKuska/HenrySRoses#

Numbers 480, 297, 299. 380, 494, 496, 517,394,421,383,524, 527 and 2 that were not numbered are Hansa hybrids.

My Hansa reblooms reliably all summer. Are the genetics in a reblooming rugosa hybrid the same as they would be in other roses.

My Hansa blooms reliably all summer, too. It rarely sets hips.

Earlier I wondered the same thing, and someone on here explained to me that it was indeed the same type of reblooming. Polar Joy is a cross of Champlain and Schneezwerg (itself a rugosa hybrid) that blooms all summer, so it can be done in the first generation. If that’s true, then Hansa might be a good bridge towards hardy everbloomers.

Another interesting thing is that many people here claim that rugosas are largely self-sterile. So self-set hips might be hybrids with nearby roses.

Last year I tried several crosses on Henry Hudson, which all failed. However, there were one or two OP hips and I have a few seedlings. It will be fun to see if there is variation or signs of hybridity.

I have some Belle Poitevine seedlings this year. I mixed seed from OP hips and some intentional crosses. Some of the seedlings look less rugose than others, so I’m hopeful for interesting hybrids.

I’ve never gotten anything to stick on Hansa, and I wonder if it might need to be re-pollinated on a second day as someone suggested.

People on here say that it takes rugosa seedlings several years to bloom. I’ve noticed otherwise. Some open-pollinated seedlings of Rugosa #3 have bloomed in their first year for me, as well as a few others. Rugosa #3 is supposedly tetraploid, but some have suggested that it was only a partial conversion. In any case I plan to continue to use it with modern polyploids to see if it is easier to work with than Hansa.

It is fun to learn and experiment!

It’s fun to look through your seedling pictures, Henry.

#610 sure has a distinctive petal shape. Is it still in existence?

Just for fun, here are some pics of my young rugosa seedlings, some possibly hybrids. There is discernible variation.

[flickr_photo src=http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3711/9010699564_ab0bcb1ec3.jpg nsid=66449618@N07 id=9010699564][/flickr_photo][flickr_photo src=http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3689/9009518461_1fc2ec9a34.jpg nsid=66449618@N07 id=9009518461][/flickr_photo][flickr_photo src=http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8395/9010702282_5273e8189f.jpg nsid=66449618@N07 id=9010702282][/flickr_photo]

The question was asked: “#610 sure has a distinctive petal shape. Is it still in existence?”

Sorry, no it did not make the cut from 1000 to 60.

This is (Country Dancer x Hansa). It was actually the first seedling to germinate last winter, but is just now blooming. It does not have black spot, but had a bit of mildew earlier in the year, but seems to be overcoming that. I’d hoped for that wonderful Hansa scent, but thus far it seems to have little, if any, scent.
[attachment 1809 CountryDancerxHansa2013.JPG]