Prairie Fire

Does anyone know anything about this rose? It was a Red Rocket x R.arkansana cross and was introduced by the University of Minnesota.



Hi Paul,

It used to be planted on the St. Paul campus when I first started as a student in 1998. Over the next few years they all died out. It was marginally crown hardy. It grew kind of large and had an open, non-symmetrical habit. THe flowers were semidouble to double and light red. It didn’t seem exceptional for disease resistance.



Thanks David,

It doesn’t sound like one that I want to pursue. There are better choices out there, like Assiniboine.

Maybe one of my crosses with R.arkansana or with your R.arkansana OP will pan out. So far I don’t have any germinations with R.arkansana either as the seed parent or as the pollen parent. I have about 10 germinations with R.arkansana OP as pollen parent with Hawkeye Belle and Aunt Honey.


For at least 10 years, I have tried to germinate open pollinated seeds of Prairie Fire. I have had very little germination and no plants that survived. See for example:

This year I will make an attempt to try its pollen (and look at it under the microscope).


Thanks Henry,

Prairie Fire must have been a healthier and hardier for you than it was at the U of M. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been trying germinate seeds from it for so long. I hope its pollen works out for you.


It is much healthier - thought probably no hardier - at my old home in Minnesota. It almost dies to the ground yearly in spite of heavy mulching, but survives being almost buried by its companion plants without so much as a speck of disease. It frankly looks a lot like Knockout to me in leaf and bloom - but rarely manages to bloom more than once a year. I never really considered it worth breeding with, given the lack of cold hardiness.

Thanks Stefan,

All the more reason to look elsewhere. I purchased Scarlet Fire this spring. I should be a better plant.

You mean ‘Scharlachglut’? If so, then I would definitely agree, although the similarities between it and ‘Prairie Fire’ are fairly superficial.

Regarding Prairie Fire, sometimes I pick a plant as a breeder not so much for its actual behavior but for what is in its gene pool. I was hopeing to have an alternate supplier of R. arkansana genes than those used in the Morden (Parkland) series, see:


I’m not thoroughly convinced that Rosa arkansana has that much to offer the breeder. It would seem that far greater sources of hardiness exist, and disease resistance doesn’t seem to be all that stellar in its hybrids. Drought resistance is maybe a slightly less remote possibility, but that may depend on the offspring developing a substantial, deep root mass (and therefore, probably suckers). What superior traits are we looking for from this species?

Stefan, there is a saying that it is easier to stand on other’s shoulders.

The Morden (Parkland) series (I feel) has been successful. I assume that the originators (and amateur breeders) have tried all sorts of interbreeding between the members of the series. I also assume that a lot of work has been spent crossing these roses with less hardy roses, but that the the dilution of Arkansana genes quickly gave roses that were not suitable for the upper plains.

I was expecting that Prairie Fire crosses with the existing Morden (Parkland) series would keep the same percentage of Arkansana genes and give fresh “blood” to examine as posible upper plains roses. Imagine one good plant from each Morden (Parkland) cross with Prairie Fire! I would be flooding the market with good prairie roses with very little effort.

Is Lace Cascade too far removed?

Jadae, the 2 reasons that I have not used Lace Cascade with the Mordens (Parkland) series are:

  1. It is 1/4 Arkansana so it would probably give less of the “upper plains desirable” offspring, and

2)Iceburg is white, and I am not as interested in white offspring as offspring with the (to me) fabulous red of Prairie Fire.

Ah! Okay :slight_smile: It was worth a shot.


Thank you Paul for your comments. I have also tried mixing the arkansana genes (as present in the Morden (Parkland) series) with the Explorer genes. The following are 2 examples:

Morden Centennial X John Davis


(Morden Centennial X OP) X (William Baffin X OP)

When I searched my rose seedling pictures for examples, I was surprised that I did not find any Morden-Kordes, Morden-Buck, and Morden-Austin examples.

I assume that I have tried most (all) of the above missing combinations over the years, but for some reason(s) none apparently have germinated or survived to flower.

In the 2004-2005 season I had many Morden Centennial crosses but they did not germinate:


I tried to make crosses with R. arkansana for a while. It proved very challenging. I favored a particular clone, which I obtained from White Rabbit Roses. It is the only one I have grown that is consistently recurrent. I made a lot of crosses, over the course of two years. One hybrid tea did produce a single seedling (as a female) that hasn



I would really like to take my R. arkansana lines further and think there is potential. I suspect our source of R. arkansana has a lot to do with the degree of disease resistance. On the drier prairies blackspot resistance may not be present to very much of a degree in those populations because it is not being selected for naturally, and/or in crosses with modern roses at Morden with the lower humidity it is not able to be selected for well within the breeding program. I was able to find a nice blush pink stippled clone from Morris, MN that seems very resistant to blackspot in my garden. I suspect the humidity is relatively high in Morris compared to further into the prairie areas. This clone repeats some and stays nice and compact. It has been difficult to raise seedlings from it as a female because it doesn’t seem to like what I put on it very readily and seeds don’t germinate well. I have gotten much better germination from op seeds of it the past couple years after I used warm stratification first. This seems to be the key. Two op seedlings of it from a few years back I’m really excited about using further. One is a double flowered compact rose with pretty good repeat bloom. It isn’t all that spectacular, but I think it can be a good parent. It is stippled and hardy. The other seedling is a one time bloomer and taller about waist high and very vigorous and beautiful. It is pink with very light stippling and purple filaments. I hope to use these both as males on modern shrubs this next year. BOth of these op seedlings I trust are crosses with nearby seedlings, many of which trace back to Carefree Beauty in some way. The double flowered one is certainly a cross because double flowers is dominant and my R. arkansana is single. CB can pass along purple/pink filaments to offspring even though it doesn’t possess it itself (recessive trait?) and maybe one of those CB descendants is the male of the R. arkansana seedling with purple filaments.

I think that maybe we are blaming R. arkansana more than it deserves for blackspot susceptibility of its hybrids. It seems like it is challenging to get some early generation hybrids from. Maybe if we persist and reaccess R. arkansana genes and use more resistant modern roses we can find some nice surprises.



Hi David,

I didn