J-5 Update

We’ve some emails from many of you asking about the status of J-5. We made contact with the Canadian liason for breeders up there and she is checking into it for us. So progress is being made.


J5 grows in a a Saskatchewan and a Alberta botanical garden. As far as I know, these botanic gardens have no restrictions for distributing it. In fact, they are unaware this Rosa spinosissima hybrid is known as J5. I think it would be good to have it named so that it becomes better known, but it is unlikely Morden would do it. What would be the point? For one thing, it’s been 30 years since it was developed and it would be ridiculous for them to name a rose after such a long length of time has passed. Also, there would be no demand for it by the general nursery trade. I can see rose nurseries carrying it though. It’s the most spectacular of all the Spinosissima hybrids.

Interestingly, an apple selection (M 359) developed by Morden many years ago is known on the Canadian prairies as ‘Vick’s Pick’. It honours the former Devonian Botanic Garden curator, Roger Vick, who did much to promote apple growing in this geographical region in the 1980’s and 90’s. Morden hasn’t sent the apple police to track down the Edmonton fruit enthusiasts responsible for doing this dastardly deed, so perhaps the same thing could be done for J5. Except in this case, it would be better to ask first.

I think it could have life in the nursery trade out of the rose specialized nurseries. There are some nurseries that deal in “organic” horticulture as well as broad-spectrum specialties. An example of the latter would be Forest Farms here in Oregon. However, an emphasis on hip production or fall foliage color is often helpful.

I agree with some of the above sentiments, but if Morden has no reason to object, then they won’t when asked (nothing wrong with trying). Legally, though, if they wanted to maintain exclusivity they would have made people sign a non-distribution agreement.

I also think there is life for a cultivar like this in the specialty trade, although certainly it’s not the life of a typical modern rose. However, as much as I like them for many of their other offerings, I don’t completely trust Forest Farm with roses. Most of the species I ordered from them were totally incorrect and when once I tried to offer the true identity of what they had sent, the owner did nothing but argue. Totally off-putting.

Weird! I had good conclusions with FF. But, as you probably already know, it was just a generic example of a known possibility.

Yeah, I apologize, it was too tempting not to sneak in a little warning since you used the example - I definitely agree with your point, though!

Just a warning, Morden is actually Ag Canada and they have a “new” perspective in guarding their germplasm these days. Odds are that you will be dealing with someone over in Ottawa. It is unbelievable what paperwork you have to fill out just to grow a field location for them. Since there have been 2 new roses released in the past year, roses are probably back on their radar.

Was unfamiliar with this one. It really is a pretty plant.

I suppose that parentage is unknown? Is there any reason to hope that it might have some tea, or other recurrent hybrid in its lineage? (both yellow and pink occur in spinossimas in nature, no? So there is no reason to believe that a modern rose is in there short of familiarity with its origins…)

Can spinosissimas yield recurrent F1 offspring? I realize that “stanwell perpetual” is a sometimes recurrent theoretical descendant, but…

J5 has the Floribundas ‘Donald Prior’ (via ‘Assiniboine’) and ‘White Bouquet’ in its pedigree. ‘Hazeldean’ (Rosa spinosissima altaica x ‘Harison’s Yellow’ in the pedigree can repeat in late summer and early fall. That’s probably the result of the Altai rose in its parentage, which also does the same thing.

Philip, I have grown a lot of R. spinosissima hybrids and bred a few hybrids from them. Actually, I have bred many, but only a few have survived: Hybrids between R. spinosissima forms and modern roses tend to over-winter poorly, especially as small plants. I suspect that hey also sometimes attempt to set their flower buds in the fall and over-winter them, which works out poorly in hybrids with less hardy partners.

Anyway, Paul is correct that ‘Altaica’ often produces some blooms in the late season. I believe that the mechanism is not true recurrence. Briefly recapping some previous discussions here, roses seem to synthesize the hormone gibberellic acid (GA) during active growth (which is normal for plants). GA not only has the usual role of aiding in stem growth, but also suppresses bloom (an unusual property). Natural, non-recurrent roses make less GA in the fall and spring, allowing bloom in early summer. Very early blooming rose species apparently do so by making buds in the fall to bloom late in the next spring. If growing conditions are unusually favorable (relative to the natural environment), some buds may mature and bloom in the fall. In modern roses, this GA synthesis seems to be at least partially disabled, allowing nearly year-round blooming.

I expect that the spinosissimas have a tendency to fall bloom due to their usual practice of making buds in the fall for early bloom the next year. In the case of ‘Altaica,’ which comes from cold mountains, our growing seasons must be abnormally extended, so it goes ahead and blooms a little in the fall. I have only grown one spinosissima hybrid that has enough cane hardiness and vigor to have made a good-sized bush, probably because its female parent was a fairly hardy plant:

Carefree Beauty x (Altaica x unknown spinosissima)

This rose does usually bloom lightly in the fall, as well as a few scattered blooms in-between. It produces truly recurrent offspring when crossed with recurrent roses. These recurrent offspring are second generation, relative to the (Altaica x unknown spinosissima) parent.

My plant of J-5 gained size slowly, and bloomed for the first time last year, just once. It IS very attractive.

Roger Mitchell, Big Rapids, MI, USDA zone 5

Thanks Roger for explaining why the Altai rose sometimes repeats its bloom.

I should mention that ‘Prairie Peace’ (‘Beauty of Leafland’ x ‘Hazeldean’) can repeat its bloom very well in late summer or early fall. In the pedigree are two species (Rosa laxa and Rosa spinosissima altaica) that have some repeat bloom. As far as I know there are no hybrids of ‘Prairie Peace’ (if I recall correctly, just for the heck of it I dabbed some of its pollen on a couple ‘Prairie Princess’ flowers last year), but perhaps this cultivar is the key to develop repeat blooming Spinosissismas. If used in a breeding program, ‘Prairie Peace’ should be used as the staminate parent. All efforts by Bob Erskine (the developer of ‘Prairie Peace’) to germinate the seed failed.


Spinosissismas are particulary hard to propagate own root. What are your thoughts on trying to root cuttings when GA is peaking? And when would that time be?

Thanks guys. I’m gonna have to shut up and lurk on this thread for a bit. This is all new to me. (I think of “gibbing” (applying GA) as a technique to actually induce or accelerate blooming…)

How is Golden Wings repeat blooming? It’s my top 10 fave shrubs, but the pedigree, which includes Altai, never made any sense to me.

I do note, however, that while it sets self hips readily, it’s a horrible seed parent. Ive noted that it pretty much always used as a male parent.

This repeat flowering behavior appears not to be out of line with what’s been described for other roses before. It’s likely that the spins, or some of them, don’t have as many copies of the genes for GA synthesis or have more defective copies or have some other blocking mechanism that causes them to either have less of it or to be less sensitive to its effects. But spins are also a very mixed bag, and their individual contributions almost certainly vary significantly.

Link: www.rosehybridizers.org/forum/message.php?topid=2227#3774

Paul, I’m sorry, but I may well be the worst possible person to give advice on rose cuttings. I almost always fail to get them to take. I think I have some kind of curse. I don’t remember the peak GA levels time exactly, but it would be in the summer.

Golden wings is very recurrent, and I believe that its recurrence is the genuine article, just like a hybrid tea. There was at least one previous tread where the parentage of Golden Wings was discussed, and I agreed with some others that it may not be correct. Officially (from Help Me Find):

Golden Wings =Soeur Th

I have Jude the Obscure x Purple Heart and Jude the Obscure x Scentimental in the germination trays, but none have germinated. Jude The Obscure is a descendant of Golden Wings. This year, a single buttery gold seedling of Solitaire x Baby Love came up with zero mini traits (yay), so I plan to try Golden Wings on it. All three parents have various amounts of European briars in them, so I’m curious if it will work.

Golden Wings still confuses me, though. At any rate, it does grow like an 8’ grandiflora on steroids. It’s overall shape is different than most shrubs or species hybrids. I love it though… regardless of what makes it repeat so well. I was hoping my Austin books would hint about it since he used it a lot, but no such luck.