Hip harvest

What is the min. amount of days that a hip can be harvested?

Depends on species and variety of cultivar. I know that I can harvest Rosa rugosa alba or Rosa primula at 8 weeks, but Lloyd Center Supreme at 12 weeks.

Larry, it depends on the seed and pollen parents. Some species roses have mature seeds at 5-6 weeks. I have had a few germinations from HT seeds that were only 8 weeks old–but the emphasis is on the word “few.” In general, people seem to get the best germination of HT and FL seeds when they have been left on the bush 14 weeks after pollination. If you leave them longer, germination is not quite as early since it seems that some dormancy sets in. It seems to me that we had some discussion of that either in the Newsletter or in the forum not too long ago. Maybe someone will remember.


Larry, here (the link below) is one discussion on the forum. Also, use the forum search and look for seed maturity (just put those 2 words in the search box)and you’ll get some other useful comments.


Link: rosehybridizers.org/forum/message.php?topid=2454#2454

These are quoted from another forum (I’d link the forum, but the actual post is in an archive, in an old version of the forum - so not easily accessed.) The poster was ‘Stamen’ who is John Sheldon who has hybridized “Golden Age” and “Hopie Girl” (and others)

"Depending on what your intentions are why not do the float test and then cut open all the seeds that floated to see if there was a viable zygote inside. That may give you some knowledge you wouldn’t otherwise have and some insight as to why the float test works. I’ve done this to hundreds of seeds. My experience has been that floaters generally are not viable although it is not 100% accurate. If you have time and space plant everything otherwise pitch the floaters and don’t feel too bad about it.

As for time to maturity, I tracked days to harvest for years and recorded germinations. Even then my sample size (ie. number of different varieties) was relatively small but included thousands of seeds. My experience was this. At the 95% confidence interval a seed needed to be in the hip for 92 days to germinate(nothing under 89 days in my sample germinated) Germination increased up to 110 days and then declined with each additional day. Many factors could have affected the results of my study but I feel confident in saying that, in Chicago, there is an optimum time to harvest the seeds which lasts for about 7 to 14 days. This appears to me to be between 92 and 110 days. Some varieties germinated better at 92 days, some did better at 110 days. For what it’s worth that’s been my experience. I’d be interested in knowing what others experience has been. "

Also he later posted about hip color:

"Bingo Jim! That was going to be my next comment. I had a color scale as well as calendar that I measure the hips by. I rated the degree of color change from 0 to 10 with 10 being completely colored, and 0 being no signs of change. Often the first change in color is a lightening of the shade of green, until yellow or orange or red, or black bagan to appear. It wasn’t exact but it was a good indicator. The ones with the highest rates of germination were those with a color rating less than 5 and usually around 3 or 4. Again not realscientific but it does support what you are saying about havesting them when they first start to show color rather than later. Last year all of my O’Rilla hips were in the 9 to 10 range. You and I planted over 100 O’Rilla seeds but only ONE germinated. Most all of my hips last year were in the 5+range and germination was very poor (about 25%) That’s the last time I’ll take a trip during the harvest. For reference here’s a hip of Golden Age x Hopie Girl that I rated as an 8. "

He posted pictures of different stages, but those links are broken.

"It’s basically a judgment call Cliff based on experience and knowledge of the specific variety. In Stage four the hip started to ripen but only on one side. Over half of the hip was still green with no signs of maturing. Stage 5 shows a hip that is evenly maturing but clearly a lighter shade of yellow than Stage 6. In Stage 6 the colors are deeper and you can begin to see an orangish color beginning to appear. I didn’t have great pictures but I hope this helped. "

Don’t be too absolute about the days:

"Relax everyone, The window is bigger, what I was saying is that the germination rate was best between 92 and 110 days I still had seeds at 150 days germinating but the percentage was lower. Some varieties mature slower than others. You have to know your parent roses. Oh the other hand I had nothing germinate less than 89 days but there is surely someone out there who has. The color guide is as good as tracking days. I prefer to harvest at stages 4 through 6 but I’ve picked them at 1 and 10 and still had seeds germinate. Multiflora seeds I always pick at stage 10. Remember, many seeds evolved by producing a “fruit” which was eaten by birds and animals and passed through their digestive track where enzymes break down the seed coating and enable them to germinate easier. The animal then drops the seeds in a new location away from the original plant and life goes on. My point is, more things affect germination than days in the hip or color of the hip. Color though does signal a ripening fruit and signals others it’s ready to be eaten. "

I’ve never understood concern for whether seeds float or not.

I sow them all. I can’t be bothered with wondering whether each seed is viable or not.

I know rugosa seed float and there is enough rugosa pedigree in many modern hybrids not to take a chance on fertility.

I prefer to think positively in this regard.

I do (at least sometimes) do the float test.

If all the seeds float, and I have enough of them, I’ll cut open a few of the floaters. I have found that often the seeds are hollow. Saves me time and long-term frustration.

I think the more seeds present that are not viable, the more likely a case of mold will take over and damage all the seeds. (Likely if you’re using the paper towel method).

If I only have a few seeds, I will plant them all.

I have in the past seperated the floaters from non-floaters. Germination in the floaters was much lower/non-existant.

Seed pot formation and development in rose breeding. I found this abstract from the year 2020. Maybe it finds some interest.

Abstract: E Fibrianty1 and R Kurniati, 2020

Genetic variation of rose was obtained through conventional breeding. The successful rose breeding depends on the compatibility and incompatibility between parents.

The objective of the study was to find some information about compatibility and incompatibility in rose crossing. Some varieties of roses, i.e., Mohana, Sexy Red, Valery, Black Magic, Cold water, Putri, Mega Putih, and Luna, were used as breeding materials. The Average of pod seed formation was about 11.66 until 13 days after crossing. The crossbreeding of Mohana and Luna was obtained for 11.66 days after crossing. It was the shortest time of seed pod formation among other varieties of crossbreeding roses. The total number of crossing was 266, in which 19 crossings were successfully producing seeds and fertile. Seed pod formation was taking time 104 until 131 days after crossing. The failure of seed pod formation in rose might because of crossing incompatibility, in which it appeared on 55 – 106 days after crossing.

Seed pod formation and development in rose breeding