r. gallica officinallis

I have some r. gallica officinalis yearlings that are growing autonomously not far from the mother plant; none have flowered as of yet.

The foilage looks identical to the mother plant, it seems, but will the flowers be also?

What are the odds of obtaining uniquely different offspring from that of the mother plant?

Has anyone positive results to share crossing this gallica with a cold hardy (preferably north american) species rose or any cold hardy Canadian bred variety?

Rosa gallica officinalis (like several Gallica cultivars) appears to accept foreign pollen quite easily. But there are a couple potential problems. 1. Obtaining disease resistance in the progeny. Rosa gallica is not highly disease resistant. 2. Repeat blooming selections will only show up in F2 progeny if the cross is made with a repeat blooming cultivar or breeding line.

If you have access to Rosa virginiana, I think crossing Rosa gallica officinalis with this species would be interesting to do. However, there likely would be negligible, if any, increased cold hardiness over Rosa gallica officinalis.

I have a breeding program crossing Rosa gallica x Rosa arkansana. In this case, I’m not concerned about obtaining repeat blooming selections. I want a tough, fragrant rose adapted to northern Great Plains climate conditions.

Your Rosa gallica officinalis seedlings likely will be very similar to this species.

Thank you very much, Paul :slight_smile:

There is something I need to ask; I will e-mail you my question sometime during the summer. I need for you to identify a wild rose.


Are you sure that these are seedlings and not suckers coming up from the roots.

Many Gallicas will sucker freely and colonize an area.

I have not used R gallica officinalis but have used Tuscany another old gallica with a number of pollen parents.

I have a couple of Tuscany x Frau Karl Druschki crosses that surprisingly appear to be free from PMD and BS in a garden that is full of BS from midsummer on. These crosses are vigorous and have no die back at about -20F.

I also have one surviving Tuscany x John Davis cross. The rose seems stuck at about two feet with a lot of cane die back in the summer. The overwhelming majoritiy of the crosses with Tuscany x John Davis were weak and failed after one season. How R Gallica would fare when crossed with one of the Explorers roses or other Canadian roses is probably be worth a try.

John, I suspected that also, but won’t know for sure untill a chance to examine them presents itself as soon as this tiresome snow melts away.

I’m impressed with your results from Tuscany x FKD; have they flowered for you yet?? And how peculiar Tuscany x John Davis failed to function just as well. Now Tuscany Superb was recommended to me as a breeding plant, and I’m wondering perhaps if it could serve as a good substitute to cross with John Davis instead?

You can bet I plan to cross r. gallica with both Explorer & Parkland roses, and would like to try crossing it with species also.

Paul, it upsets me when my efforts of accessing r. arkansana in Ontario have failed, and it slipped my mind to ask Harry if it grows in his garden. I’m looking here at November’s issue of Roses-Canada 2006; there’s an article that speaks of the various native prairie species roses with specific reference to r. arkansana and its various range of colors: white, light pink, speckled pink to deep pink, white stipped pink, as well as double forms with the names J. W. Fargo, John Allen, and Woodrow. I find it remarkable this species has so much variety! If worst comes to worst, would you be able to forward me cuttings of this rose come spring? I’ll scramble to find something to give in return.



Regarding your intention to cross Rosa gallica cultivars with Explorer Rosa kordesii and Parkland cultivars, keep in mind with the former disease resistance probably will be reduced and in the latter it will not likely be increased. Having said that, one of the most beautiful Gallicas with relatively good disease resistance (at least on the West Coast) is ‘James Mason’. The parentage is 'Scharlachglut (‘Alika’ x ‘Poinsettia’) x ‘Tuscany Superb’. Nothing special in the parentage to develop disease resistance, so it’s quite possible to develop good, new Gallicas using different types of roses in a breeding program (as Paul Barden as done).

It occurred to me that good Gallica x Explorer Rosa kordesii crosses to make would be ‘Henry Kelsey’ or ‘George Vancouver’ x ‘Tuscany Superb’. Both of these Explorer cultivars have a good breeding record.

Yes, Rosa arkansana has wonderful variations in flower colour. One of the most beautiful genotypes, white flowers with quartered pink stripes, grows only a few blocks away from me on the south facing slope of the Saskatchewan river. This species doesn’t propagate easily by softwood cuttings. I’ll see if I can pot up a plant for you and send it to you later in the summer. Newly dug plants of this species have a poor root system, so it’s best to do it this way. Of course, you can also obtain pollen from me.


Is it coincidence you mention James Mason? This rose is coming my way from Brentwood Bay. I’ve wanted it forever, though, Paul Barden advised that it mighn’t set hip, but could do well for pollen.

I hear you on the disease thing. In addition to Henry Kelsey or George Vancouver, do you think William Booth and Cuthbert Grant would serve just as well?

From what I see, r. arkansana has attractive light green foilage, and nasty thorns! How come this rose features so many color variations? Is this an evolutionary thing through selfing, sporting or insect pollination?

And how is it that J. W. Fargo, John Allen and Woodrow, have evolved to be so double?

This myserious, yet continuous blooming ‘Heimbecker’ rose you speak of in September’s issue of 2006 - is it fertile, and will the parentage eventually be revealed?

At the top right hand side of page 8 (same issue), is an image of the most attactive summer-blooming wild rose I’ve ever seen (pink & white stripes), found “growing in the Procupine Hills, Alberta”. It doesn’t give a name, but is THIS the Heimbecker rose or it is something else?

I think it would be pretty combined with Rosa californica and kin.

Or like… maybe Basye’s Amphidiploid?


The rose species from the Porcupine Hills in southwestern Alberta is Rosa arkansana. Although it is fairly prickly, it doesn’t have “nasty thorns.”

Why does Rosa arkansana have a lot of flower colour variation? It’s evolutionary, perhaps to better attract insects to pollinate the flowers.

Why are there double forms of Rosa arkansana? No one knows. Maybe grass fires over centuries damaged the plant and caused the flowers of a shrub to sport to extra petals. A long shot but it has occurred to me that Rosa arkansana crossed with Rosa woodsii might produce progeny with double flowers.

Would ‘William Booth’ and ‘Cuthbert Grant’ work as well as ‘George Vancouver’ and ‘Henry Kelsey’? Keep in mind that Rosa kordesii L83 is in the parentage of both ‘George Vancouver’ and ‘William Booth’, but the former cultivar has a more complex parentage. Therefore, using ‘George Vancouver’ would likely produce more diversity in its progeny. ‘Cuthbert Grant’ might produce good quality flowers, but the form of the shrub is poor and the foliage only average in quality so keep that in mind.

Will we ever know the parentage of the ‘Heimbecker’ rose? Possibly, if someone wants to do a RAPD analysis (DNA study) of it. But that’s not likely to happen for a long time. The flowers are very double, so it’s likely they lack fertility both ways. I think in the article I wrote about it, I mentioned this cultivar appears to have Rosa laxa in the parentage. Perhaps also some Rosa spinosissima.

Yes, I agree with Paul Barden that ‘James Mason’ has more potential as a staminate than a pistillate parent. The pollen has good viability. I have three Rosa glauca x ‘James Mason’ selections that should bloom for the first time this year.

I have had trouble using Culbert Grant as a parent. I finally have a 2004 (George Vancouver X John Davis) X Culbert Grant plant that produced nice dark red double flowers last June. Unfortunately it did not repeat. It spent the rest of the summer growing into a relatively large plant (for a 2004 seedling).

Maybe this year it will put more of its energy into repeat flowering.

Some Charles de Mills X James Mason seedlings have germinated this year, but it will be a long time before they can be evaluated.

Also pollinated some Bucks with JM, hoping to get a red Buck; repeat bloom wouldn’t surprise me.

I’ve been staring at ths rose for over two days now, and I MUST have this Porcupine rose or whichever white-pink stripe it is you speak. What have you done to me, Paul?!

A friend of mine said this rose grows roots of at least 10 feet long; is that true? Exactly how massive is r. arkansana?

And what type of soil does it prefer to grow in naturally?

Will it grow in moist sandy loam?

Dee, the roots of Rosa arkansana are usually at least 30 cm. to perhaps sometimes 60 cm. long. On most sites, the fine roots begin at about 30 cm. This species is tolerant of most types of soils to grow in. It’s native habitat is often a site where the elevation is higher and having poor, often sandy soil. The ability to grow in these conditions explains why this species is very drought resistant.

I forgot to ask if r. gallica officinalis sheds its pollen early??

I’m not sure exactly WHEN I should pollinate - my worry is that it could pollinate itself before I have a chance to cross it with the pollen of another. Should I emasculate the blooms just prior to showing their stamens?

How can one tell a rose that sheds its pollen early from a rose that doesn’t?

And how does one know if a hip has been selfed or o/p with another rose in close range?

I don’t think this rose sheds its pollen before the petals open - generally the anthers will be a lighter, creamier color prior to pollen release, then change visibly as the pollen emerges - either becoming visibly powdery with the pollen grains, or darker/brighter in color, or both.

I would probably choose to emasculate as close as possible to the moment before the petals release themselves from a solid formation and the flower begins to open (i.e. while the bud still feels a bit firm, but has a slight “give” indicating that the petals are nearly mature and ready to begin separating, or the very tips of the petals have begun to separate from one another).

If you have the luxury of a few extra blossoms, emasculate some without pollinating them - if those abort without setting seed, then chances are good you have successfully avoided selfing. Removing the petals completely during emasculation helps with identifying which blooms have been prepared, and tends to remove most or all of the incentive for any further pollinators to visit the flower.