R. bracteata x Carefree Copper

R. bracteata is so distantly related to the rest of our roses we all know that it is a tough nut to crack.

Today I harvested a few hips of R. bracteata x Carefree Copper pollen. (thanks again Dr. D)

They “felt promising” as in the hip flesh felt softer and riper than the few same age open pollinated R. bracteata hips that I had marked nearby for comparison.

Question – Was that my imagination and/or statistical error due to small sample size, or could the pollen parent affect the hip flesh on such a distant cross? Maybe through biochemical signaling from the embryo?

Obviously, I’m not all up to snuff on how the plant hip works. I’m a mammal, although as many times that I’ve pricked myself I may have a bit of rose DNA in me by now…


I don’t know of any study in roses regarding the influence of pollen parent on hip/seed ripening, but I have read of examples in other families.

Jour. Roy. Hort. Soc. 21: 442-48 (1898)
Notes on Some Curiosities of Orchid Breeding
C. C. Hurst
(quoting T. L. Mead in Orchid Review, 4(47): 326. 1896)
Laelia anceps pollen seems invariably to cut down time needed to ripen pods of the Cattleya labiata group by about six months; while the pollen of C. labiata does not appreciably lengthen the time needed by L. anceps pods to ripen … Broughtonia sanguinea, which, both with its own and with foreign pollen, ripens its seeds in one-and-a-half to two months, has power to quicken the ripening of C. Bowringiana, with which it gave good seed in eight-and-a-half months."

I have no idea how these orchids would respond to a mixture of pollen.

I found another example of the pollen parent influencing the ripening time, this time for dates. According to the report, pollen from Phoenix humilis hastened ripening by 20 days, enough for the dates to ripen before the monsoon rains came.

Similar field studies were carried out at Government Experimental Garden, Lyallpur during the years 1960 and 1961. The pollens of four male species as said earlier were used only on one female variety, Hilliawi for this purpose. The conclusions drawn from the data regarding sugars affected by different pollens were that there was a definite effect on the fruit. The fruit produced with P. Humilis had developed sugars more rapidly as compared to fruit from other pollens during the same period of development. The fruit from P. humilis attained 37.78% total sugar by July 15 while in fruit of other pollens this much quantity of total sugar was not even attained by August 1. The significant difference was noted in the amount of non-reducing sugars. In the mature fruit of P. humilis these sugars were 13.56% while in fruits of other pollens these sugars were 5-6%. This high rate of non-reducing sugars is the contributing factor in hastening maturity of date fruit.

Thanks for the link, I learned a bit more.

I think next year I will restrict my pollen source to one, pollinate as many as I can on the same day of the week, and then harvest hips on an arbitrary weekly basis based on time since pollination. Maybe that strategy will increase the likelihood of one harvest successfully germinating.

I’m no longer looking to go forward past F1 at all. Given R. bracteata’s nasty traits, I’m after an absolutely sterile, tough as nails, remontant, tremendously dense, perimeter defense or cluster habitat rose, and if I can manage to get better blooms and bloom life all the better.

An evergreen, deer proof, ranch rose that would give quail and other wildlife a place to hide under is needed. Hedgerows are sorely missed by a lot of critters these days. R. bracteata, was brought to Texas for this purpose, but unfortunately, it spread via seed and is now an unwanted, nearly indestructible invasive.


Rosa bracteata is tempting and puzzling. ‘Alba Odorata’ makes a fine climbing plant: healthy leaves and loads of buds. Alas, the blooms do not open well in Santa Clara, CA. That’s where I saw it.

Then there is ‘Mermaid’. Wow! Always gorgeous, healthy and free blooming. As a ground-cover, it holds its flowers up. As a climber, it hangs down enough to bring some blooms into reach. It’s very impressive.

So, here is my question: How can these plants be such vigorous climbers? HelpMeFind describes the species as, “Height of up to 8’ (up to 245 cm). Width of up to 8’ (up to 245 cm).” 'Mermaid beats that hands down.

I think the everblooming habit of R. bracteata is of a different character (i.e., different genes) than the everblooming habit of the Tea/China group. The China-type blooming habit (flowering at the tip of each growth) appears to be recessive to the Bracteata-type. Thus, ‘Mermaid’ reverts to the climbing habit of its Gigantea ancestry, while gaining that Bracteata-type rebloom.

Much the same thing happens with the Noisettes. For instance, ‘Marechal Niel’ climbs and reblooms like a Noisette, while being heterozygous for China-type rebloom. ‘Souv. de Pierre Notting’ [Maréchal Niel x Maman Cochet] and ‘Virginia’ [Safrano x Maréchal Niel], for example, are classified as Teas because of their growth habits. Other offspring have been reblooming climbers.

Soupert and Notting (1896) wrote of their cross, Maréchal Niel x Madame Chédanne Guinoisseau: “… in April 1893 we were surprised to see that a hip was developing admirably and gave us five beautiful seeds in November, two of which sprouted after a fortnight. One gave birth to a sarmentose plant like the rose-mother, the other to a dwarf stocky shrub as the rose-father Madame Chédanne Guinoisseau.”

Moore took the Bracteata hybrids into a second generation, at least. I have not seen his ‘Muriel’ [R. bracteata x Guinée], but I think I have pictures of a massively armed Bracteata-Moss. I’ll have to check.
ps: I checked. What I photographed as an unnamed Bracteata-Moss is probably Moore’s ‘Fakir’s Delight’. I have pics of buds, but no flowers. Just a vague recollection that the flowers were yellowish.

Some of Moore’s others to consider, just to see how Bracteata combines with various cultivars.
Fakir’s Delight (Little Darling x Lemon Delight) x (Seedling x Out of Yesteryear)
Muriel (Rosa bracteata x Guinée)
Out of Yesteryear (Sequoia Gold x Muriel)
Out of the Night (Yellow Jewel × Out of Yesteryear)
Precious Dream (Orangeade x Out of Yesteryear)

Lens provided a couple of attractive selections. I prefer ‘White Surprise’ because the leaves are a bit glossier and have a golden sparkle that provides a nice background for the gleaming white flowers. ‘Pink Surprise’ might be more appealing if the flowers were not so pale.
White Surprise (R. bracteata x R. rugosa rubra)
Pink Surprise (R. bracteata x R. rugosa ‘La Rosée’)

The Bracteata-Rugosa hybrids are vigorous, but don’t sprawl like ‘Mermaid’. There are other Rugosa hybrids that might be tried, such as ‘Schneezwerg’, ‘Belle Poitevine’, ‘Germanica’, ‘Hansa’.

Down here where bracteata is invasive it’s not truly remontant. It has a late starting, fairly long blooming period, with a continual scattering of blooms afterward. Every bloom seems to make a hip, so I suppose if someone was brave enough to continually deadhead one it might be a true repeater. As alien as it is to the rest of the roses, whatever remontancy it has, could well be from a different pathway.

I’m amazed that anyone has gone past F1 with it. I’ll settle for sterile and hopefully non-running F1 crosses if I’m lucky.

It is an evil monster.

Here is a photo for scale of the one I pollinated this year. Its base is at her feet.


I haven’t seen the species, only a few of the hybrids. I suppose some folks are hoping to “crack” Bracteata so that a few desirable traits can be shaken loose and slipped into garden hybrids. Hope springs eternal.

I wonder is this is a matter of temperature. Some plants have a “heat requirement” before they can throw themselves into full blooming mode, just as others have a chilling requirement.

At the San Jose Heritage garden there are two specimens identified as ‘Harison’s Yellow’, but they are not the same. One blooms all at once, while the other (somewhat larger) scatters its blooms over a few weeks or more. I’m guessing that one is getting all the cold it needs in the mild San Jose climate, while the other does not get quite enough and must complete the vernalization process with long days.

The Rural New-Yorker, 67(3063): 788 (Oct 10, 1908)
Mr. Sidney Hockridge, Redlands, Cal., writes:
Our soil is a red calcareous drift with perfect drainage, just suitable for strong-growing roses, while our hot Summers ripen the tender wood of the Cherokee so that nowhere else in this country is there to be seen such profusion of bloom, and travelers tell me that the Cherokee rose plants noticed in the Japan Archipelago did not approach in capacity for bloom those we have in our vicinity.

I live not far from Redlands, and I can attest to the summer heat in this area. Apparently the complete “ripening” of the wood is responsible for the profusion of bloom. Maybe R. bracteata is less remontant (and more fertile?) in a climate with a really hot summer.

I have often wondered whether R. foetida might be more fertile if it were allowed to go dormant during the heat of summer, rather than forced to grow on borrowed roots.

May be able to answer that next year. Have planted mine below the graft hoping for it to go own root (i like to see to what extent things sucker), will be sheltered with various bulbs to prevent summer watering also.

I’m looking forward to your report.

Bracteata has already been ‘cracked’ and to good effect. Paul Barden’s f3 bracteata Cannikin is well worth using as a source of remontancy, vigor, pigmentation and disease resistance. It is hardy here on the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts.


I agree, it has been cracked, and Paul convinced me years ago to give up on starting from scratch with it. I’m now after sterile F1 crosses only, for use as climbers and hedge/security fence roses. I feel sort of obligated to give that a shot since I’m one of the few of us that lives where the damn thing is a readily accessible invasive nuisance. it’s also convenient to be able to pollinate a rose that you don’t have to allocate your own space for, so it’s a very low investment of time and effort on my part to try.


I’ll have to be the contrarian in this.

Contrary to some popular accounts, ‘Soleil d’Or’ was not the sole source of deep yellow coloring in the modern roses. Even Pernet used more than one R. foetida hybrid in his work. ‘Ami Quinard’, ‘Hazeldean’, ‘Mevrouw Nathalie Nypels’ and ‘Tip-Top’ are just a few descendants of R. foetida that are not also derived from ‘Soleil d’Or’.

It is a bad plan, in my opinion, to start narrowing the gene pool just to avoid effort.

Depends on what the breeder is going for, everyone is slightly (or very) different, some breeder/s could be complete outliers in their goals and that shouldn’t be dismissed simply because it’s an unfamiliar path. I mean if you were going for wooly hips or the decorative bracts then “cracked” becomes subjective as those traits get lost very quickly after Muriel. If the breeder is using Bracteata’s as the basis of their breeding population and just want to introgress a few modern traits then “cracked” is not even applicable.

Personally I look at Bracteata’s bracts and wonder if they’d be affected by the crested trait (probably not…but if they were that would be interesting to see), same thing with Roxburghii with it’s ornamental sepals (which probably would be influenced by cresting but to what extent…it’s a difficult path that may produce nothing of interest or produce something entirely new)

It really depends on the individual breeders goal, both conventional and unconventional are required and valid. The other side to consider is, if everyone just uses bracteata hybrids descending from The Mermaid and Muriel that’s a whole lot of species genome being ignored to follow a path that isn’t all that different to what eventually resulted in the HT genome, a product of extreme limitation.

If you want a more direct source of persian yellow, Carefree copper is of course roughly half Austrian Copper. The other half comes out of Griffith Buck’s breeding program which sprinkled in R laxa and other less common materials. I assume that the yellow in his was derived from one of the Persian yellows, but I haven’t done a traceback.

Hybrids from R hulthemia may represent a different context for the yellow pathway. So far what I’ve seen tends to carry some leaf and spine characters that trace back to R hulthemia. How much more than remontancy was crossed in isn’t very obvious.

Above and Beyond puts yellow into yet another context having Rv x Rl leaf and stem patterns, but definitely yellow ( + a little pink)

I have interesting progeny out of Goldbush, and Doubloons, each of which has different species in their pedigree if breeding records are to be believed.

Given the way that linkage works, it’s really hard to estimate based on easily observable phenotypes, just how much of the gene pool in a newly derived rose, comes from what species source. With the development of SNPs we can actually begin to map that.

Depends on what the breeder is going for

That’s true but the problem with species roses is that it is often hard to get an f1 from anything at all, let alone a cultivar of choice. Cannikin, for instance, can be used as a bridge in back crosses to bring in other traits from bracteata.

Personally I look at Bracteata’s bracts and wonder if they’d be affected by the crested trait…same thing with Roxburghii with it’s ornamental sepals

I think so and tried these myself, to no avail, using Cannikin and a couple roxburghiis, now dead, that came out of Quarryhill and with Crested Jewel, also now dead. I encourage you to try.

IMHO the crested trait is a manifestation of the same trait that gives mossing and, I believe, the dewy petals of such roses as Chrysler Imperial, Oklahoma, Papa Meilland and the like. It may even be traceable back to the same trait that gives us repeat bloom that comes out of Champney’s Pink Cluster. I believe it to be a genetic switch that turns on indeterminate growth. It likely is carried by transposons. I think proving this would make a great grad project with potential commercial uses.