Lillian Gibson is a diploid

This morning I was doing some cytology and confirmed that ‘Lillian Gibson’ is a diploid! I had six nice cells where the chromosomes could be easily counted. They were all consistent. I was surprised it wasn’t triploid. ‘Lillian Gibson’ is a cross of R. blanda (2x) and ‘Red Planet’. I assumed ‘Red Planet’ was tetraploid, but maybe it is diploid. ‘Lillian Gibson’ also has low fertility and was another reason I thought it was triploid. Low fertility among wide diploid crosses is not uncommon though too (such as the case with ‘Max Graf’). Perhaps it would be worthwhile chromosome doubling ‘Lillian Gibson’ to obtain a tetraploid that will hopefully have increased fertility- much like what Basye did with his various amphidiploids.

Have others had success using ‘Lillian Gibson’ as a parent? ‘Paloma Blanca’ bred by Dr. Buck is the only cultivar I can recall off the top of my head where ‘Lillian Gibson’ is in the background.



Using my first generation search program for Modern Roses 11, I did not find any offspring either as seed or as pollen parent.

Ahh, I was confused for a moment until I looked it up. Im assuming you meant ‘Red Star’ and not ‘Red Planet’? If so, it doesnt surprise me since it is the pollen parent/grandparent/etc of many early Floribundas in conjunction with polyanthas by Poulsen and Kordes.

Most Poulsen/Kordes early floribundas from polyantha x Red Star or other HT crosses are triploids with very limited fertility from none to little.

HMFR gives the following quite unreliable progenies for LillianG:


Also shows ‘Precious Platinum’ as ‘Red Star’ as well but Lilian Gibson is previous to both Precious Platinum/Red Planets’ intros.

So confused :stuck_out_tongue:

Lillian Gibson’s parent must be Verschuren’s Red Star, introduced in 1918. It’s parentage isn’t given. Since it is an early HT, it might be triploid.


Thanks for the info about ‘Red Star’.


Thought I would add one last bit of information on Lillian Gibson. G Buck claimed Lillian Gibson is a Triploid in an article written in 1960.

The following paragraphs are from the American Rose Annual 1960, part of an article by Griffith Buck titled “Progress Report On Breeding Hardy Everblooming Roses”. I copied the it a couple of years ago, from the CyberRose web site I think.

Anyways here’s the section referencing Lilian Gibson. If anyone wants one the whole article I can post it or email it. The complete article also touches on R. blanda, R. laxa of Retzius and R. fedtschenkoana and the difficulties Buck had in breeding directly from species.

"If primary hybrids of a hardy species and garden roses are available,they frequently can provide the means to get around these first generation problems and speed up the breeding program. There were two such hybrids of R. blanda available, Lillian Gibson (R. blanda x Red

Star) and Betty Bland (R. blanda x unknown Hybrid Perpetual). Lillian Gibson combines the plant characters of its parents in approximately equal proportions. The flowers, which are borne in clusters of 10-20, possess good form, good petalage, and clean color. It is a triploid

which produces an abundance of pollen of low viability. Betty Bland shows evidence of its Hybrid Perpetual parent only in the flower which is twice as large as that of the normal blanda flower, doubleness, andin inhibition of the suckering tendency of the species parent. Under

Iowa conditions it produces seed pods which contain few seeds which seldom germinate. Its pollen has good viability. In these progenies the flowers range from single to semi-double in varying lavender-pink tones.

Well-shaped blooms are not common, the principle malformation being a conversion of the pistils to leaf-like organs.

Betty Bland has been a better parent than Lillian Gibson, although it leaves much to be desired. (The progeny vary in hardiness according to their other parent). Excerpts from field notes summarize the Betty Bland-hardy rose variety progenies…"