Let's Talk About Turbinatas

Can anyone shed some wisdom on what exactly warrants a rose being classified as a “Turbinata”? What even is a Turbinata? The HMF site contains no glossary entry for the term, and an online search does not shed any light either. Perhaps I just don’t know where to look, but it seems this class can assigned either by itself or in addition to other classes such as Gallicas, Albas, Centifolias etc. Even the forum only contains two single entries that even use the term Turbinata. So let’s finally let Turbinatas have their day, and perhaps we’ll all learn something!


I know just a little, but it might help.

“Turbinata” refers to the shape of the receptacles, and this term is often used interchangeably with both “Francofurtana” and “Agatha/Agathe” in books I’ve read. HelpMeFind has “Turbinata” and “Agatha/Agathe” as separate OGR classes. Some roses are tagged as one, some the other, some both. It seems some other “not exactly Gallica” roses like ‘Duchesse de Montebello’ are also sometimes referenced as one of these, whereas today, if they’re not considered Gallicas, they are often grouped with Hybrid Chinas. Perhaps when the earliest Hybrid Chinas started happening, they were reminiscent of these roses, and were tagged as such.

I think the Turbinata and Agatha/Agathe roses are based on Gallica X R. majalis. Looking again quickly through some HelpMeFind listings, perhaps the Turbinatas were either the F1s or otherwise R. majalis-leaning, while the Agatha/Agathe were F2s and further, bred back with Gallicas and/or Damasks. Of course, these were likely not planned, but the result of wild R. majalis crossing with cultivated OGRs.

And that’s about all I’ve got – other than to add that I just discovered R. majalis is diploid.



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Thank you both Warren and Christopher! It sure is interesting. Personally I’m kind of a “class-nerd” because IMHO just because a rose is bred after the “modern” era, yet falls into an old garden class, doesn’t mean there should be any distinction except for the date bred and the resulting history associated with a particular cultivar. Case in point…why do we have to distinguish between Moss and Moss (Modern)? It’s either a Moss or it’s not. But again this is just opinion.

I do passionately believe that breeding “new old-garden” roses doesn’t tarnish or diminish, or basically negatively impact the historical prestige of that class. For example, if you crossed two Pernetianas together then those seedlings should most likely also be classed as a Pernetiana. Of course lines get blurred when you cross two roses of a class that it itself is a result of a combination of two different classes, ex: Bourbons, Noisettes, etc. In which case I’d say it depends on how homozygous the parents are, and the individual phenotypes of the progeny. Let’s say you decided to create new Bourbons by crossing a China with a Damask. Those F1’s would be classed as Bourbons, but if you selfed them to get the F2’s or backcrossed to either parent class, then by the laws of genetic recombination it’s entirely possible that you could acheive a new phenotypically looking “China” with perhaps a Damask fragrance, or a new phenotypically looking “Damask” with rebloom power of a China.

I’m just tired of everything being thrown into Shrub class (which I understand for commercial reasons) so go easy on my rambling guys haha!


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The “Moss” class is my personal pet peeve – it shouldn’t be a class. But, since it is, I’m glad there is a distinction between the old and Modern Mosses.

The Moss class is defined by a single trait – having moss. That trait can be transmitted by breeding into other classes. If we have a class defined by having the moss trait, then technically a “Moss rose” could be of any ancestry or type or habit, so long as it has moss. The earliest ones were of Centifolia type. Then came the Damask types. Then they were bred with Damask Perpetuals. Then with Bourbons. Then with Hybrid Perpetuals. Then with Multifloras. Then with Hybrid Teas. Then with Miniatures. The result is that now there are Moss roses whose only connection is having mossy buds. It’s as if we maintained “Hybrid Foetida” for any rose with unfading yellow coloration, down through Floribundas, Hybrid Teas, Shrubs, Large-Flowered Climbers, etc.

If I had my way, the Moss class would disappear. Instead, roses will have “Mossed” as an optional trait. So we’d have:

Centifolias – mossed and unmossed
Damasks – mossed and unmossed
Damask Perpetuals – mossed and unmossed

With regards to the other OGR classes, I think they get passed over by some breeders for new roses because they’re not as well known. As far as Bourbons go, the Damask X China story is a bit of unsubstantiated rose myth that gets repeated often. Meanwhile, there are a few “Bourbon” roses that were known in SE Asia – including ‘Rose Edouard’ – that predate the better-known story. They probably made their way to Reunion as rootstock, and suckers were mistaken for seedlings. But that’s another topic.



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I don’t know how helpful this will be:

Catalogue of the Hanbury Herbarium, pp. 59-61 (1892)
E. M. Holmes
235. Rosa Damascena, var.
a. With flowers and buds.
This is the rose cultivated in Turkey for the production of Otto of Rose. Sent by Professor Dr. Baur, of Constantinople to his father, Dr. Blaubeuren, of Wurtemburg, who has the plant in cultivation. Hugo von Mohl examined this rose; see Wiggers in Husemann, Jahresbericht, 1867, p. 350. J. G. Baker says: “This rose is certainly R. turbinata Ait., R. campanulata Ehrh., R. francofurtensis Hort.; Nov. 1874.”—D.H. A letter from Dr. Baur is attached to this specimen.

Miller (1768) wrote: “The Frankfort Rose may be a distinct species [from R. damascena], but is of little value; the flowers rarely open fair, and, have no odour.”

It seems like someone dropped the ball on this (these?). Miller’s statement suggests that the Frankfort Rose was an inferior (and scentless) version of the Damask. But the specimen Baker examined was obviously fragrant, but otherwise similar to turbinata/campanulata/francofurtensis.