Info on Rosa nutkana

I just received OP hips of R. nutkana. Does anyone have experience with this species? Color range? Disease resistance? Compatibility in hybridizing? Ploidy? Cold tolerance? Fragrance?


Jim Sproul

Kim Rupert worked with it and had disease problems in offspring, rust I think. Tetraploid?

Thanks Robert!

Anyone have any other info??


Jim Sproul

Nutkana has 42 chromosomes so its pollen has 21. Randy Hughes put Nutkana pollen on Calocarpa (14 chromosomes) and so got a tetraploid. He shared the seeds with me.

At the link below, use your browzers “find” comand with the word Nutkana to see what I have obtained so far “flower-wise”.

The following link gives last year’s crosses and germinations:

Again, use your find command.

As you can see, I am still very early in this direction.


Early days for me, but my nutkana crosses are rather vigourous (1 year old only), only a few have got mildew, but we are in winter here (Zone 10ish, humid and not really cold).

Some are still growing in the dead of winter with an healthy foliage.

Thanks Henry for the link. I really liked your Number 487 (Calocarpa X Nutkana) X (acicularis X OP) seedling. Do you have any repeat bloom on any of them?

Jocelen, glad to hear of the healthy foliage.

Jim Sproul

I do not think that any of the Calocarpa X Nutkana crosses have shown repeat bloom. It probably will take one more generation (at least).

I probably should comment on why I would make a cross like (Calocarpa X Nutkana) X (acicularis X OP) instead on concentrating on something like (Calocarpa X Nutkana) X (typical garden rose).

I try that type of cross also, but often (typical garden rose) is reluctant to “mate” with species or near species roses. So mixing the genetic pot is an attempt to remove sterility barriers.

You will note that I also tried a combination of mixed pollen and Carefree Sunshine pollen on (Calocarpa X Nutkana), see:


From what I read in the literature R. nutkana supposed to be hexaploid and that is the only ploidy level it is reported as far as I’ve found. I wanted to include it in a study I was doing correlated pollen diameter and ploidy. I asked for samples of it last spring because hexaploid samples were especially scarce for me. I got cuttings and pollen from people. THere were some hexaploids. There were also tetraploids and diploids. I suspect that perhaps what was sent as R. nutkana and was diploid or tetraploid actually might not have been R. nutkana or was a hybrid. For instance, the clone at the MN Landscape arb was 5x. Perhaps it came from some op seed from another arboretum and was a cross of a 6x R. nutkana and some nearby 4x rose.

I haven’t used it in breeding. I think George Mander has a couple selections he registered that are R. nutkana hybrids.



Yes David, you are right !

I have three left, but only registered one last year.

As you know I have the wild Nutkana, which I got out of the bush.

Kim Rupert reports rust !

Yes, I too noticed some rust on my Nutkana in the last 2 to 3 years, but it is far away from my other roses.

When I used the Nutkana pollen in the late seventies on every variety I had, only my ‘Shades of Pink’

(Robin Hood x Pascali) and a ‘Parkdirektor Riggers’ seedling gave me some seed. I run out of space along the fence and gave up on using it, as most seedlings took 3 years to see the first bloom. One even took five (5) years.


After a 2 months cold period, and 2 month out of the fridge, the seeds did not want to germinate. So I put the whole seed-tray back in the fridge for another (second) cold period for about a month.

Then within 2 to 3 weeks about 50 germinated out of about 300 seeds.

On the subject of Rosa nutkana… I’ve just planted Schoener’s Nutkana this spring. It’s from Rosa nutkana X Paul Neyron (Hybrid Perpetual). So, it should be pentaploid too – I’m supposing.

But, HelpMeFind lists a few offspring from it, as seed parent and as pollen parent, so it must be fertile either way.

As a side note: George, is Shades of Pink a rose that works well as seed parent in crosses with species?


Thanks for the info! Doesn’t sound like an easy species to work with, but may still offer some worthwhile traits.

Have you noticed much variation within the species? Bloom color, prickles, habit, size, disease resistance???

Jim Sproul

Hello Rob,

Yes, my ‘Shades of Pink’ seems to be the only one of my hybrids to take pollen from species.

90 percent of blooms set hips open.

I have one really good Fl. :

‘Shades of Pink’x’Super Sun’ which is now registered as ‘Bella Christina’. Link to HMF below, with photos and info.


Sorry, the above link does not work. (two times http:)

This time it will work.



The species R. nutkana gets Rust in my climate, so I’m not surprised to hear that offspring Rusts as well. Yes. ‘Schoener’s Nutkana’ is fertile, best as a pollen parent. However, with ‘Paul Neyron’ as a parent, it Blackspots badly. (‘Paul Neyron’ is a terribly plant for both Rust and Blackspot in my climate; I’d never use it for breeding, as it is going to pass these traits on) I have in my garden a hybrid Ralph Moore gave me a few years ago that is ‘Orangeade’ X ‘Schoener’s Nutkana’. The only reason he hasn’t released it is because it isn’t very generous with repeat after the first flush. It is a frighteningly vigorous shrub that grows to at least 12 feet, with graceful arching form. It has 4" fire engine red semi-double blooms in incredible quantities, no fragrance though. As one would expect from a hybrid involving both ‘Paul Neyron’ and ‘Orangeade’, it Blackspots badly. (But doesn’t Rust or Mildew)

As Henry has suggested, I think R. nutkana can be useful in breeding if you avoid direct crosses with modern shrubs/HT’s. If I were to embark on a line using R. nutkana, I would possibly start with ‘Home Run’ as a pollen parent, or use one of the old Gallicas like ‘Tuscany Superb’, which will of course give only once bloomers. (Nothing wrong with that, IMO!)

As a side note, I am using R. arkansana in my work, with mixed results. Most modern roses (Shrubs, Miniature breeders, etc) reject its pollen. One cross I made last year was using ‘Sequoia Ruby’ as the seed parent, and the cross took well and germinated like weeds. However, 99% of the offspring are clearly selfings of ‘Sequoia Ruby’, all staying quite miniature and blooming very young. I believe there is a name for the mechanism involved (Perhaps David Z. will chime in here) where a seed parent takes the pollen its given, but doesn’t use it…instead it simply generates seeds from unreduced gametes. I won’t use ‘Sequoia Ruby’ anymore for this reason, since so many of its progeny arise this way.


Paul Barden

Paul, the mechanism you mention sounds like “apomixis”, where the offspring are essentially clones of the mother.