Importance of hip shape?

I was reading the Summer 1976 issue of the RHA Newsletter and ran across this statement by Herb Swim, “Remember that the seed parent should have a rounded, not funnel shaped pod.”

This was part of an answer to a question about what crosses to make. He didn’t explain why the hip shape was important. Does anyone know what he meant by this comment?

A similar idea is mentioned in “Some Thoughts on the Selection of Parents,” pp. 35-36 in the RHA booklet Rose Hybridizing: The Next Step.

In the “Looking at Petals and Things” subsection of that article (p. 36), the author says

“The shape of the receptacle may also be an indicator of fertility. Those varieties with narrow receptacles are generally more troublesome as seed parents than those with larger receptacles.”

It’s at least a physical problem–not enough room for seeds to develop, and probably not enough egg cells either. Varieties with exceptionally narrow receptacles may have a few seeds at the top of the hip if a hip does form, or the seeds will split the receptacle if too many form, and there will be quite a few seeds exposed.

I’m not sure how far the analogy holds, but in the human world a woman with extremely narrow hips may also have trouble having children–trouble conceiving, trouble carrying the child to term, and trouble bearing the child.


Yeah, that is what I personally refer to as mechanically near-sterile. Freedom is the most prime example I know of.

With a little help from Google Translate, this page on Ivan Louette’s website will give you a good synopsis of how the gynoecium evolved in roses.


Out in left field:

Maybe Swim recognized the funnel shape as indicative of too much Hybrid Perpetual expression.

Without getting into the multiple kinds of HP groups (which I don’t really readily understand without charts in front of me), I do remember that in my husband’s rose heritage garden, he (and I) tried to collect the earlier and more important HPs. I was very surprised that the earlier ones often made hips that were, when mature, the shape of champagne flutes (and they were setting hips readily o.p.)

Having fought with Black Spot on these same roses and being unable to give them enough fertilizer and water on those days when they seemed to demand it, I found them to be divas.

Were I to concentrate on making modern roses, I’d go for the HT growth with the orderly expression of breaks of stem axils below apical terminal growth; some of the HPs would break at every leaf axil, whether I wanted them to or not. And those every break on every axil often won’t make long stemmed roses for cutting.