Mug shot Scarlet Moss pollen on

From Scarlet Moss pollen on a found rose that may or may not be Chicago Peace. Unfortunately it is not mossed. It is also not as mauve looking as it appears to be in this photo.


What is the inheritance pattern of mossing, anyone know??


One year I did a Moulin Rouge X Laneii(moss) and kept two offspring, One had slight mossing,spring flowering only, colour is scarlet red and foliage is quite large. Its on HMF as Odysseus, grows to around 4ft high and is very thorny. The other unamed seedling, grows to 3ft, average number of thorns, flowers are crimson with intense perfume. Foliage looks like any day to day modern rose and is repeat flowering with no mossing.

This was my first cross using a moss, so I cannot say if the mossing trait is strong or not , the person to ask would be Paul Barden, I think he has worked more with mosses.

Hi Warren,

Your Moulin Rouge X Laneii mossed seedling looks nice in the pix… its intensely fragrant sibling sounds even nicer (I totally adore roses with instense fragrance).

It would be great if they were highly floriferous… I don’t ask for much :astonished:)


Hey Warren, is that mossing you got fragrant?

my very limited experience with crossing moss x non-moss is that the frequency of moss offspring is really variable, but the trait is dominant.

Love the seedling btw. I would say that it is a keeper, at least for now.


Love the darker petal tips on this one, really pretty.

The moss trait is a qualitative dominant trait. So the more of the dominant trait the more moss you will have. BUT!!! It depends on another trait to even show up. Many roses especially roses in certain species and say the gallica, centifolias and damask have really tiny hairs. If you got really good eye sight and look at the buds and leaves with a magnifying glass you can see these hairs. The moss trait modifies these hairs. Many of the newer classes of roses lack these hairs all together or have far less of them. This is why when you cross a moss rose with a hybrid tea or floribunda you get poor mossing for the most part and a lot of the time it seems like Mendal genetics fails all together. It has not failed but it you have nothing for this gene to modify then it does not express itself. The interesting thing is the hairs that are required for mossing to even show up are also required for scented foliage.

Hopefully this helps you.

For example look at pictures of Fara’s moss roses see how much better they are than other mosses today. Hers is breed from older mosses and older roses groups not coming from china (which lack more of these hairs, I think the hairs may come into place in colder climates). Other moss roses breed by say Carruth or Moore have the moss trait but many instead of looking like mossy buds it looks like thorns that have gone mad.

George; the mossing is scented much like the new candles forming on pine trees. Candles are a term I use when pine trees are putting out new growth.

Thx Warren, mossing that is fragrant seems a nice dimension to add to roses!

“…The moss trait is a qualitative dominant trait…”

That is interesting, what does that actually mean, in simple terms?

It means that the more copies of the gene you have the more it is expressed. In tetraploids that would mean you could have up to 4 copies of the same gene. Each one adding to the expression or the amount that you can see the gene. Again this gene depends on another trait to even show up.

In simplest terms if red color in roses was a qualitative dominant which it is not but as an example. The geneotype Rrrr (tetraploid) which would have one red gene would be red but not as red as RRrr which would be even redder in color. And RRRR which would have four red genes would be the reddish flower you could possibly have.

Take for example Kim Rupert. It has only one or two copies of the moss gene coming from Ferdinand Pichard or William Lobb through Fairy Moss and an unnamed seedling. 'Kim Rupert' Rose

Now look at Scarlet Moss. It probably has 3 to maybe 4. Coming from Fairy Moss 3 times and Ferdinand Pichard once. Scarlet Moss tends to have alot better moss than Kim Rupert does because these extra genes. 'Scarlet Moss ™' Rose

Anything after this might be confusing because moss is really a two trait inheritance. One trait being moss a qualitative dominant and the other involving Tricomes which I am not positive but may be just a quantitative trait.

From growing Kim Rupert I doubt it has two copies. But I would have to do a cross and short out the ratio of seedlings to find out just how many copies it has. But from the amount of moss being expressed I would say just one copy made it through the parentage. But doing such a cross you would also have to take into account the Trichomes. The gene for mossing causes the tricomes to become branched.(I knew that word was in my brain some where, this is the word for the hairs.) Again certain groups of roses have a lack of these tricomes. Plus these tricomes I believe from studying leaves with a magnifying glass at different times of the year are probably not a simple dominate/reseccive trait but are quantitative and very environmentally dependent (which would explain why the same moss variety differs at different times of the year on the amount of moss it shows).

You mentioned that your moss has a pine scent. Trichomes are what causes roses like R. rubiginosa to be scented. Its the hairs that allow the scent to come through. On alot of mosses if you touch the moss or mutated tricomes it is sticky and smells of pine, balsm or some other leafy non floral scent.

Studying scented foliage I wonder sometimes if all roses do not have scented foliage and we just can’t smell it because it is trapped inside the leaves. I think the scents are a defense mechanism or something similar for bugs. Since bugs can smell way better then we can they don’t need a heavy amount of these hairs to smell the leaves. I been collecting scented foliage varieties over the past few years. Most are once bloomers that need to obtain some size in order to do anything with. But the basic plain is to cross them with moss roses and hopefully I can bring out the scent better than by just crossing them with something else laying around.

So I figure repeat bloom coming directly or indirectly from Ralph Moores work plus scented foliage could make an interesting plant. Plus to me it is a lot more interesting genetically then your run of the mill crosses.

With roses the things I am interested in are all multi-factor crosses. And several of them probably involve genes that are neither dominate or reccessive but are quantitative (different from qualitative dominant). Meaning each gene or allele adds an increment. Tricomes (scented foliage) and autumn foliage are probably neither dominate or recessive but are expressed sometimes and at other times not expressed due to environment, the number of copies or to other gene to gene interactions.

Oh the mossing trait seems to have an affect on thorns also. Moss roses tend to increase the normal amount of thorns. I wondered in my head if one could get a decent moss and a thornless rose. It would take a cross with a thornless and some back crossing in the very least to find out if its even possible.

(Thorns as well as Tricomes both tend to be linked to either drought or cold climate adaptation which is interesting). I think a moss crossed with R. stellata or Hulthemia persica would be interesting to see what would happen. What would the moss gene tell these plant that are already crazy on the expression of thorns to do?

Well that was a long winded reply. I hope I answered you question and feed your curiosity. And hopefully it was not too confusing.

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Adam, do you think mossing could occur on petals and, if so, what do you think it would it look like?

I recently was watching something on PBS (I think…) about the evolution of plant leaves, where it was thought that serrated leaves with what have become moss glands on roses evolved in dry areas to help the leaf draw moisture from the ground. What I wonder about is this:

In roses these glands are almost always present on the leaf serrations, whether the rose is a moss rose or not. In many plants, like thistles, these glands’ functions have been taken over by other mechanisms and the glands become thorns or prickles. So it might be logical to conclude that prickles and moss glands arise from the same mechanism.

One wonders if the rose has somehow co-opted this mechanism for moss on the hips and sepals as well. This might explain why moss roses have so many more thorns than non-mosses. Having prickly peduncles, hips and sepals promotes survival of the hip and flower, at least in my area; moss roses are far less prone to damage by boring beetles and ants than the other roses are, and in the fall (or midsummer, this year) they produce much larger hips with a far greater number of seeds per hip than non-mosses.

Adam, thanks for your kind comments on my mosses!

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Maybe Don that could happen. Leaves are not too far from petals. You would have to turn off some genes I think that control wither its a leaf or a petal. Maybe if you could cross R. viridiflora with a moss. I believe Paul did a cross with R. viridiflora but the mutation was not passed. But perhaps if you did the opposite direction, but that would be a long shot at best. I think if you could do it that you would certainly have a rose only a collector would love. But then again novelty sells.

That would make sense Fara. It is interesting about there being less damage. It might be because they are sticker also, or maybe the smell of them they don’t like. Or how bout all three reasons.

Fara I am a big fan or your spotted and your moss roses. I like the modern mosses in that they bloom more than once but I think the older type has a character these moss roses need to come back to.

I have a yellow rose that had moss four years ago and then nothing till this year. Now there are substantual thorns on the peduncles within two inches of the flowers, “expressed due to enviroment”.

I’m also intriged by thorns on some roses that just shrink and go away.

it might be logical to conclude that prickles and moss glands arise from the same mechanism

Indeed they do. They are each a type of trichome and, as such, share the same class of cells from which they originate. Sometimes these trichome precursor cells turn into a combination of prickle and gland. When this happens along with the mossing gene then the result is the hard, or thorn, type of moss.

Trichome precursor cells are also present in petals, in which case they become conical cells rather than glandular trichomes or prickles.

it might be logical to conclude that prickles and moss glands arise from the same mechanism.

I never thought of it like that. I stand corrected. My thought process was that you had one gene that affected two different things.

I will have to look up conical cells but I have not noticed a difference in the petals of mosses.

So Don why do you think Moss roses coming from older roses are more moss like and those coming from more modern or out of the china line has more thorns to it?

why do you think Moss roses coming from older roses are more moss like and those coming from more modern or out of the china line has more thorns to it?

The mutation that causes mossing is claimed to have happened at least twice, one instance giving soft moss (Centifolia moss) and the other giving hard or thorny moss (Damask moss). I think that may not be quite correct but it’s close enough to plan crosses.

I could send a couple of research papers on mossing if you want to study up.

So Don are both type of moss qualitative dominant or just one type? And am I wrong in thinking tricomes are probably a quantitative trait that is highly environmental dependent?

On the papers I would love to look at anything you have. I am very interested in the genetics of roses.