Having snared an old moss, Flamingo ponders his next move.

A search of the literature shows no convincing evidence that the old moss can set hips. Certainly, it never has in captivity. The alternative is to sacrifice the blooms in order to scavenge enough anthers for a few pollinations.

Seeing no good options, perhaps Flamingo should simply release his hold on the old moss and seek out better prospects.

What would you recommend?

Well, Don…this is problematic because I have reason to believe there are many distinct cultivars in commerce and in collections (perhaps scores, in fact) that all end up with “Old Moss” or R. centifolia muscosa attached to them. That makes your question a very difficult one to answer. I have seen instances in Corvallis of plants that appear to be R. centifolia muscosa which have set hips every year and, if appearance is any indicator, these hips contain potentially viable seed. But which plant is this? Who knows. It appears that any pink Moss that ends up in the hands of a collector gets this name thrust upon it. I myself have been given half a dozen distinct plants under this name.

I suspected as much. Mine came from Rogue Valley a couple years ago. It is just starting to blossom. There are enough flowers that I may be able to split the difference and work it both ways with my other moss-project breeders.

Sorta looks like a horse head with pink eye. Neil

@Paul, as soon as I saw “Old Moss” I thought “Oh, the Old Red Moss? That sets hips just fine here.” But it’s pink… hmmm.

@Don, any chance of a closeup picture of the flower? Or a bud?

Sorry for the delay, Fara, it is peak season here and I’ve been running flat out. Here are some photos.

Oh, no problem, I’m late with everything myself. That’s a beautiful rose, but not one I recognize. All the mosses here set hips like mad, but if this doesn’t, one might try to get some pollen and cross it with something that sets hips madly. I’m trying to think of what I’d cross it with but for reasons unknown to me (and probably non-existent anyway) my brain has completely stalled.

It’s peak season here, too; I can’t believe I’ve already made about 90 crosses and it’s only the beginning of June!

but not one I recognize

Interesting. It’s supposed to be Old Moss, do you have one there by that name? I’m curious which mosses you do have there.

I’ve already made about 90 crosses

How many pollinations do you usually make in a season, Fara? Are you mostly focused on mosses?

Mosses I’ve got:

“Fa’s Marbled Moss” (found in my irrigation ditch by Jon Singer who I wish would finally get it officially named…)

A boatload of FMM offspring, both mossed and non-mossed

‘Henri Martin’ a.k.a. Old Red Moss


‘Fara Shimbo’

‘Janjin Malgai’ (Mongol’s Hat)

‘Nuits de Young’

‘Alain Blanchard’

‘Capitain John Ingram’

‘Ma Ponctuée’

‘Cee Dee Moss’

‘Double Treat’

I usually make about 100 pollinations per season. I’m not actually focused on mosses, I’m more focused on spotting. But since my stud rose is spotted and mossed and since the mosses seem to be far more insect-damage resistant than others, I’m expanding. I just made ten more crosses this morning, and I think I will far outstrip my usual hip output this year.

Fara, I didn’t realize you were in Colorado. If you get down to the Denver you might look up Mike Bone at the Denver Botanical Garden and ask to see his Hulthemia persica which he is (hopefully by now) growing from seeds collected in Azerbaijan iirc.

Ralph Moore (1967) had a similar problem breeding with Crested Moss. He just waited until he found a flower with some anthers.

"The crested moss type has been mentioned briefly but a bit more should be added here for clarity. There were no doubt other members of this type which were lost along the way. The variety, Chapeau de Napoleon, more commonly known as Crested Moss, is the best example of the class which still survives. (See photo: Fig 21)4. This is a rather tall growing plant and bears medium large, very double, rose pink flowers in spring only. Breeders have tried (and hoped) for seedlings or crosses of this rose but apparently with no avail until my initial success several years ago.

"The flowers of Crested Moss are usually so double that no anthers are present, thus no pollen. And Crested Moss seems to be unwilling to set any seeds no matter what pollen may be applied. However, one spring about 15 years ago, I did find a few anthers on my plant of Crested Moss and dusted the pollen on the blooms of Little Darling (floribunda). A few hips set and seed ripened. Out of this seed lot seven plants grew. One was the pink rose pictured in Fig 22 and has since been named Crested Jewel (introduced by Tillotsons). From crosses using pollen from this variety we now have several selections which show some degree of cresting. One is a rich red floribunda (Sarabande x Crested Jewel, see Fig 23); another is a pink floribunda (Queen Elizabeth x Crested Jewel) and another is a red, grandiflora type — (Baccara x Crested Jewel). None are yet at the stage where the crest is sufficiently outstanding but there is progress. Still another selection (red floribunda climber x Crested Jewel) has quite a bit of the cresting (see photo: Fig 24 & Fig 25). This is an interesting plant and flower, semi-climbing, repeat bloom and easily sets seed so has value for future breeding.

“Also of interest is the fact that in succeeding years I have been able to secure enough pollen to produce seedlings from Queen Elizabeth x Crested Moss and from Baccara x Crested Moss. From each of these crosses one selection was made and the plants multiplied so that we now have material from several sources to help in the quest of producing garden roses, hopefully, with the cresting of Crested Moss. I also have another selection of Little Darling x Crested Moss which is much like the crested parent except that my seedling is a better growing plant with cleaner, brighter green cresting. The flower is similar in form and color to Crested Moss, but alas, it too is without seeds or pollen.”

Moore’s ‘Cee Dee Moss’ is a nice little plant, if someone wants to cross a “modern” rose with an old moss. At least you wouldn’t have to discard so many non-mossy seedlings.


That Queen Elizabeth X Crested Moss seedling is MORqueencrest, which NEEDS to be grown with far more winter chill than I can provide it!


do you know a commercial source for it here in the U.S.? Vintage? Burlington? I’d probably like to give it a go since my Lady Moss croaked within 1 month of planting. I would like to play around with some of the larger modern moss roses Moore produced just to see what hidden potential they might (or might not) have for us northern grower. The mini moss roses are nice but too low to the ground to appreciate the mossing in my opinion.

I hope none of you in Colorado has been adversely affected by that terrible hail they’re harping about on this afternoon’s news here!

Andre, the only “commercial source” for MORqueencrest has been The Huntington Library the year of Ralph’s Great Rosarians of the World event. I had Ashdown bud the roses Ralph donated to them for exclusive fund raisers and sold them all at the event. However, when you’d like cuttings, please let me know. I feared its loss and made sure I maintained a plant in the ground here, figuring it would never flower for me. It did bloom in the mid desert but not in this milder winter area.

I appreciate the thought Kim. My area is all right. All these storms have been south or east of me. I am too close to the mountains. Everything goes over me but rarely touches me. I have not seen moisture in a month or more. The last time it rained it lightly rained all day but that has been the only moisture that we have recieved since I think Feburary. I think I might just let some of the grass die and replace it latter with one of the ugly but drought tolerate grasses.

I think Fara area has been all right, but I am not sure I think she is to close to the mountains too. There is a new member in Greeley that has probably been hit.

MORqueencrest is a dreadful plant in my climate as well. In spite of a decent winter chill (enough to satisfy the needs of many a Gallica) it rarely flowers and when it does, they are often distorted or balled into mush. Even the first flush of foliage starts out crumpled and distorted. It clearly doesn’t like my climate either. It barely resembles the beautiful specimen I photographed at Sequoia many years ago. Not a rose I’d recommend for breeding, since it will undoubtedly pass on many of its flaws. Stick to Crested Jewel, a proven breeder!


For some reason I have forgotten to mention this: if pursuing mossed hybrids, I feel it would be very much worthwhile to include ‘Fakir’s Delight’ in the mix. It brings extreme mossing to at least half it’s progeny, great vigor, and often, excellent health, the latter often being a serious issue when breeding mosses. Pollen available immediately, hint, hint.

Paul, thanks for the advice and the offer. I accept with gratitude.

Mousseux du Japon bloomed for the first time and it has a decent number of anthers and pistils so I’ve used that a lot this season. I just used up the last bit of pollen in fact. Japonica has less mossing than Communis but still plenty enough.


I have zero interest in mosses, but had to add this little contribution to this thread. I think, if they ever give out awards for “Best Title For a Thread” this is a contender for the gold.

@Don: I shall gather pollen this morning and get it sent as soon as it is dry, perhaps tomorrow, weather permitting!