Harrison's Yellow

I’ve grown even more fond of this rose, and I don’t grow it. I did manage to obtain many hips (one or two seeds per hip).

However, I’ve always wondered why people haven’t continued working with Harrison’s Yellow. It has many great qualities that could be brought into anyone’s breeding program. I don’t particularily care for it’s hardiness, but I see the ferny foilage as something desireable, and the purity of the flower’s hue.

For some reason, I decided to feed the seeds to my pet ringneck doves. I had of a thought of “reproducing” what’s most natural to a rose… to be spread by birds and animals. Although, I will stratify them as usual. I had a thought of planting it directly in garden soil insead of a pot.

If I know better, the only seeds that my birds will pass will be the bigger seeds. The smaller ones do actually get digested (not completly, but partially.) To feed them, I actually bread these seeds in pieces of bread. My birds won’t eat the seeds without the bready coating own for some reason. I think they don’t like the hard seed coat and it’s their instinct to not eat it because it could be a pebble. However, once I hid the seeds in bread… they eat it all up.

The bright yellow flower color doesn’t pass on well - there is a lot of soft pink, cream, and very pale yellow in the offspring. Crossed with other classes, I think you’ll find the ferny foliage is quickly lost. I haven’t raised enough seedlings from crosses with it to note a great trend in hardiness, but it doesn’t seem to contribute much in that regard to anything I’ve gotten - and it also hasn’t increased blackspot resistance over the other parent. I think that mated to the right kind of rose, it’s potentially a very useful parent - think in terms of the creation of ‘Hazeldean’ - but in my opinion it may take a very careful (or lucky) choice.

Stefan, what about other pimpinellifoliae like R.xanthina sponanaea or Canary Bird? Are they good for bringing the desired yellow pimpinellifoliae traits into descendants?

I used xanthina last season. I don’t know quite what to think about the resulting seedlings.

I think they are hybrids but they repeat and got little of the character of xanthina.

This does help lead credence to the reported lineage of ‘Golden Wings’.

I plan on buying Golden Cheronese this winter, and using it in hybridizing the year after. I’ll just use it as pollen though. I have crappy luck using briars as seed parents because it is too rainy when they bloom (early May).

It’s probably just as well to use them for pollen only, since they themselves germinate with some difficulty by modern rose standards. I haven’t done much breeding with the diploid yellows - yet - but I do have some seedlings of this group coming along with that goal in mind. I wouldn’t be quite as picky about the seed parents in that case, because they don’t derive from foetida the way Harison’s does. The only result of a cross between (woodsii, blanda, or a hybrid of the two) and ‘Golden Chersonese’ resulted in lots of seed, but only one germination and a genetically weak seedling that died outright a year later. For whatever reason, I didn’t think to try it on tetraploids when I had pollen available.

HY could be useful mixed with just the right modern rose as well, but I’d be hard-pressed to guess at what very special variety that might be. It also allows repeat blooming to come through, it just doesn’t have much to add when it comes to hardiness I’m not sure it will give a large number of disease-resistant seedlings. The single dominant trait I noticed is glaucous foliage, undoubtedly from its spinosissima background; it’s great if (like me) you have a slight aversion to the shiny leaves everyone else loves, but that’s about it. I have one seedling from my crosses I’m still watching to see if hardiness improves, among other things, but if it weren’t for the interesting parentage it probably would have been tossed long ago. I might try it in further breeding, but honestly, I wish I had ‘Hazeldean’ instead. Granted, it seems to impart strong once-blooming tendencies to its progeny, but that is something I would gladly trade for the other improvements it offers. If it continues to be unavailable, I might have to start crossing HY with R. spin. altaica myself!

In this case, it might be a good thing that the species roses don’t impart too much of their physical (plant) characteristics to the offspring; beautifully ferny foliage aside, they probably all demand to be grafted in order to be propagated on any scale. That would explain their low availability in the trade.

Harison’s Yellow is indeed a very nice rose.

(see corrected spelling)

“glaucous foliage…; it’s great if (like me) you have a slight aversion to the shiny leaves everyone else loves”

I must confess to a little bit of a bias toward the glossy, but not an esthetic one. I tend to associate “glossy” (i.e. Wichuriana, for instance) with “resistant” foliage, while I actually commonly prefer cooler colored (frequently glaucous) foliage in other garden plants.

With roses, as a gulf coast resident, disease-resistance trumps all else, but other things being equal, glossy has no appeal.

I don’t share that conviction - there are plenty of roses with perfectly healthy foliage (and perfectly disastrous foliage, too) on both sides of that fence. Rosa luciae is not the end-all, be-all of disease resistance in my book. So, all things being rather equal, I generally prefer my foliage a bit less mirror-like, and a little more flattering to the blossoms :slight_smile:

Enrique - I had bought Harison’s Yellow at a nursery sale last fall hoping to introduce some yellow and hardiness into my breeding program. Unfortunately, the voles ate the roots and lower limbs while it was in winter storage. I will try again someday.

I found it interesting about feeding seeds to your birds. Apple trees grow rampantly wild where the deer population browse on the apples. Supposedly the digestive process encourages germination. Right now the red squirrels are gathering and eating my rugosa hips which I’m not very happy about. But maybe they’ll be spreading my rugosa hybrids around for me! :slight_smile:

Stefan, in your experience, which matte leaved roses impart the best resistance?

Rosa pimpinellifolia is probably the best I’ve seen - but I hesitate to say how many generations down the glaucous/matte leaves will hold up without some reinforcement. Glossy leaves tend to pass down easily in crosses involving a glossy-leafed rose, which you’ve probably heard before. Avoiding glossy leaves in breeding is the only sure bet to obtain large lots of matte-finish or glaucous foliage, outside of some notable exceptions, like R. pimpinellifolia crosses. But like I said, there are plenty of wonderfully healthy roses out there without shiny leaves.

I don’t mean to berate glossy leaves entirely - I do like them on some roses, but on most, a semi-gloss is about the maximum I care to see before the plant starts to look like plastic. Pure white roses look the best of any color when surrounded by sparkling leaves, in my personal opinion.

While down in D.C. this weekend I procured some hips from Harrison’s Yellow from a bush at the National Arboretum. I’ll set this up in the fridge soon and hope for a nice yellow to work with. Does anyone know if the disease resistance from HY is passed on to subsequent generations?

Rob, I think you’ll find that selfs of Harison’s are pretty clean - in fact, if you’d been here in the spring, you might have noticed a small pale yellow seedling of that bush growing amid the overwhelming mass of R. virginiana growing next to it :slight_smile: I showed it to the curator there, but she hasn’t had time to dig it aside yet… But the plant is strikingly similar in appearance to Harison’s and this is reported to be the case for many of its OP seedlings. Outcrossed offspring will be a much more mixed bag, and they tend to be much less healthy - it seems the foetida exerts a pretty strong influence.

Thank you for the information Stefan. I’ll have to do some research and make proper plans for outcrossing any HY F1 that shows promise to hold on to disease resistance. You wrote that R. virginiana is growing next to HY at the arboretum. I guess I need to determine which bush I took hips from. The hips I have are round but somewhat flat. Do you know if these hips would be HY?

This was my first trip to the arboretum and would recommend it to others to visit.

That does sound like the correct shape for its hips, but it’s not too far off the mark for those R. virginiana, either. HY hips tend to have some small prickle-like structures on them, rather than being completely smooth like virginiana, if that helps; they’ll also be quite dark. I had just visited that plant on Saturday when I went running (around noon or a little after) and looked to see if it had any hips, but didn’t notice any - when did you come to the garden? It’s nice to have your recommendation; I work there in the Asian Collection, and if you visit our home page, there’s a brief article there (mostly review for all of you, I’m sure) that I wrote about the influence of Chinese species and hybrids on the breeding of the modern rose.

Would it be worthwhile to self it 1 or 2 generations then cross it into modern roses?

I like the sound of that in theory, Jadae - it is notorious for not producing selfs as yellow as it is, but if you have a lot of space (and a lot of patience), there may well be some seedlings of great merit to be had for later breeding. The seedlings will probably be quite easy on the eyes on their own even if they’re not very yellow, from what I’ve seen. One problem is that like ‘Harison’s Yellow’ itself, the promising seedling may be very clean, yet breed spotty seedlings in many combinations. That’s a recipe for a long and frustrating breeding battle. Given the success of ‘Hazeldean’, I still think it might be worthwhile to keep crossing ‘Harison’s Yellow’ to potential sources of excellent (and hopefully dominant) blackspot resistance instead. Since altaica has been done already, why not Rosa laxa or Rosa davidii, or even simply ‘Baby Love’ or ‘Carefree Sunshine’? The hybrid with rosa rugosa called ‘Grace’ (counterpart to ‘Agnes’) is probably extinct, so that would be another fun one to try again.

Some of the pollen I put on Rosa rugosa alba this year was from Baby Love :slight_smile: I figured I could care less if it was sterile, lol.

That’s a fantastic idea for a cross - hopefully the offspring will be triploid instead of diploid like Topaz Jewel, which will probably make for a much more stable and healthy plant than TJ, which has been a lovely train wreck of a plant in my experience. Baby Love probably doesn’t generate a lot of diploid seedlings the way Golden Angel did in that case, though.