Rosa aschersoniana


Has anyone had any experience with with R. aschersoniana?

I’d be interested in anything you can tell me about this one.


Below is a google translation for some German text kindly sent to me by Peter Harris. The translation isn’t perfect, but it is decipherable for the most part.

"R. blanda X indica = R Aschersoniana represents an intersection known by the name of R. Blanda. Related to race R. virginiana which is characterized by upper ward thornless branches and twigs and leaves bare hand. With a dark purple flower-filled garden form of R chinensis var indica. The plant forms a costume in a rather loose, R. virginiana like, high shrub to about 2m. Its shoots, exceptionally slim and brown-red (similar to R virginiana), are rare times green. Bent slightly hooked spines (resembling R indica) scattered, rarely paired under the leaves (R. blanda). The stipules have grown far and run from top to narrow diverging points. The leaflets bearing the flowering branches usually sit at 5 to 7 The bracts are usually linear and fairly narrow (much like R. indica), the bottom in the middle widens, narrowing rather suddenly into the narrow tip, midway between those of blanda and indica. Flowers, one at a short side branches or long sems to several, sometimes then imitating the inflorescence of R. indica. Glands on the stalk of R chinensis var indica bearing stems Sepals projecting after flowering or mostly repulsed. Petals smaller than R. verginiana. bright light purple. Stylus free, very irregular, sometimes pushed to an irregular head (R. blanda), sometimes loosely, then sometimes half the length of the inner stamens reaching (R. indica), sometimes very briefly. False fruits keeps failing proposed neighborhood.

R. blanda X indica Zabel in forest garden in Hann-Munden. R, X chinensis virginiana Ascherson and Graebner, Synops. d Central European flora VI 871 (1902). R Aschersoniana Graebner in Hort. Berol. And cit (1902).

This magnificent Rose, named in honor of Prof. Dr. P Ascherson was standing in 1901, at the Gedurtstage (June 4) in full bloom. It is characterized by early flowering time, quite extraordinary abundance of flowers and bright color. Currently its main flowering, in normal years, so early June, provides the plant with light purple on long distance towards bright bush considered represents From near the Far mention dazzling in the sunshine.

Of the three available shrubs in locals gardens, which also differ in the costume somewhat. Only one has proven to be hardy, the other two suffered by the frost, so it is only an increase of about empiehlen former."

It would appear from the “False fruits keeps” failing part that ‘Aschersoniana’ aborts its hips, but I’m going to give it a try all the same. At the least it should have some viable pollen.

I don’t expect to see flowers this season, but when they do show up I’m thinking I should try it with R. muliflora nana, or some polyanthas. And perhaps try it with a few rugosas.

Hopefully it’s worth the effort.

Well, I’m intigued by it. From the photos, it has the typical china white strips in the blooms, and it appears to blue a lot in fading.

I’m wondering how much hardiness the blanda has given it (or the china has taken from it?), and if it has the potential for F1 rebloomers…

Perhaps as a pollen parent?

On the flip side, I’m not sure but what, time permitting, it might be more expedient to start with the species R. blanda, and create your own seedlings(?) if blanda will do well in your region. (Or have you already acquired this?)

(Is that blackspot I see at the bottom of this photo?) :frowning:

I’d guess it’s hardy to about zone 5, maybe zone 4b at a push. And I’d imagine you’d get rebloom in some of the F1 from R. chinensis. I’m certainly hoping that will be the case when crossed to polyanthas and R. muliflora nana. I figure that the dose of blanda in the seedlings from these cross will make them more compatible with rugosas in the long run.

If I can select some F2’s with a good dose of R. blanda and juvenile flowering, then cross them together and select the most blanda like of the F3, they may provide something to cross into blanda and rugosa that will have enough fertility to produce seed when crossed together. The end goal being to get some fertile rugosa/blanda hybrids with juvenile flowering. Who knows if it will work, and if it dose it’ll likely be a long road, but I think it’s worth a try.

Another rout I’m going to take is to try it with some rugosas. The assumption being that any repeat flowering seedlings will be carrying the juvenile flowering trait from R. chinensis. I’d expect some of the seedlings from these crosses to be fertile enough to produce seed, and I may be able to recover something with juvenile flowering that is hardy to around zone 3.

I still want to get a good hardy selection of blanda to cross with muliflora nana, as it’s proven to produce fertile offspring with R. muliflora. So hopefully these seedlings could be sibling crossed to recover the repeat flowering trait and then back crossed to bland then sibling crossed again to produce a R. blanda hybrid with juvenile flowering.

As you may have gleaned from the recurring theme of these crosses, I’m basically looking to create a few diploid shrubs in the vain of rugosa and blanda, that are hardy to about Zone 3, and have juvenile flowering. I figure that achieving this could allow me to introduce the variety I’d like to see in rugosa hybrids a lot more quickly than I can using strait rugosas.

Looking at the photos of it makes me wonder if it really is an R.blanda hybrid because there is very little R.blanda in it. If you look at Pax Apollo or my (Marie Pavie x R.blanda) you’ll see what I mean. But since it only blooms once in late spring/ early summer its pollen parent had to be once blooming also. So my guess is that it’s from either an OP seedling from pollen of a once bloomer nearby or the R.blanda pollen parent was actually a hybrid itself. Another reason I doubt that the pollen parent was a true R.blanda is because two out of the three plants “suffered from frost”. A true R.blanda is going to be homozygous for winter hardiness so it would pass that trait on to all of it’s offspring. Winter hardiness is dominant over tender and all of the seedlings should have been winter hardy. Both Pax Apollo and my (Marie Pavie x R.blanda) are very hardy, with just tip dieback at -35F.

My experience with both Pax Apollo and (MP x Rb) is they are not very fertile, most likely because both are from such a wide cross. I’ve never seen a hip on Pax Apollo and only a few on (MP x Rb). None of the seeds I collected from (MP x Rb) have germinated either. I tried Pax Apollo pollen on both Blanc Double de Coubert and Darts Dash with no hips forming. I also tried (MP x Rb) pollen on lots of things; Schneezwerg, Showy Pavement, Bonica, La Marne, Marie Pavie, Santa Clause and Glacier Magic with few hips and not many seeds. The only plant for (MP x Rb) pollen to take and the seeds to germinate was on a (Showy Pavement x R.blanda) cross that is (MP x Rb)s half sibling. These seedlings are only one year old so I can’t say too much about them except I was expecting some to be thornless but none are. The R.blanda I used is thornless and the (MP x Rb) is thornless also, so I figured some seedlings of this cross should be thornless also.

R.aschersoniana is a very good looking rose. I hope it is more fertile than the R.blanda hybrids I’ve worked with and that you get more and better seedlings from it than I have so far. I think you’re on the right track though with your breeding plans

Wow, Paul–did you really get down to -35 in Cokato? It’s great to know that Rosa blanda can donate that kind of hardiness even when working with fairly tender cultivars.

Thanks for the feedback Paul,

I didn’t register that ‘Aschersoniana’ was a found rose when I first looked at it. So the reality is that its parentage is assumed/deduced rather than known. As you noted, it didn’t look greatly like blanda, but not having made any blanda crosses, I didn’t have anything to judge it by in any real sense. I’m going to try some pollen measurements to get some idea of ploidy. I figure that may give me some idea as to how accurately the parentage has been deduced. But I don’t see the question mark being removed by anything short of DNA testing, which is far beyond my capability. I may however try some pollen germination tests, just to get an idea of its fertility.

The text I posted is just an extract I think the full text covers a number of roses, so I’m not certain the three shrubs mentioned are related in any way. But I would tend to agree that they should be equally hardy (give or take a little) if they are siblings from a blanda cross.

Whatever ‘Aschersoniana’ is I’m going to give it a try and see what I can get out of it, as you say, it is a good looking rose. Hopefully it’ll yield something worthwhile.

There are quite a few blanda hybrids I’d love to get my hands on (I’d be trying to tap into your B4102 if I were in the US by the way), but unfortunately they are out of reach for me here in the UK. So I’ll have to make do with this rather suspect hybrid until I have some of my own.


Ok you caught me, it was only either -30F or -33F. I have two thermometers and one morning two years ago one read -30F and the other read -33F. Either way it was butt cold. Yes R.blanda can transmit good cold hardiness to its offspring even when crossed with a tetraploid. Betty Bland was confirmed to be triploid by David Z. and it’s quite hardy. I also had an R.blanda x Great Wall that only had tip damage at -33F that year.


That’s a good idea to measure the pollen. If there is a range of grain sizes then you’ll know that R. aschersoniana probably a triploid and not likely an R.blanda cross. You might as well give the pollen a try on many things, you don’t have anything to lose. I’d be more than willing to send you some B4102 pollen, but I don’t know what kind of restrictions there are sending pollen to the UK. And who knows if it would still be viable by the time it got to you.

Good luck


Betty Bland was confirmed to be triploid by David Z.[/quote]

There was some confusion, and a plant incorrectly labeled as Betty Bland was confirmed as triploid, but the real Betty Bland is diploid. See the HMF entry for Betty Bland.

I wonder whether the “blanda” given in the parentage of this rose actually refers to the species rose found in North America. Just as there is confusion between R. laxa, Retzius and the “laxa” used as a rootstock plant in Europe, there may be some confusion of names here. For instance, there is a rose called ‘Blanda Egreta’ which is supposedly a multiflora hybrid and which I could see as a possible parent of R. x Aschersoniana although Aschersoniana comes from earlier than ‘Blanda Egreta’.

I’m applying the X here because this is clearly not a species rose. Species names were assigned rather casually in an earlier time, often to roses which were known not to be species, such as “Rosa harisonii” (Harison’s Yellow). Zabel is given credit for discovering “Rosa harisonii Vorberghii”: apparently the name “harisonii” was used as a sort of generic term for yellow roses that bloom once (much as Kleenex is used to refer generically to what is called facial tissue).

Blanda means “smooth”–and could have been given to any number of “smooth” roses. It would be interesting to see whether Herman Zabel had bred any other smooth roses, but it seems that he did not breed any–all the roses linked to his name were “found” by him and parentages assigned by him or maybe even by Graebner, probably using the world-renowned “looks like” method of determining parentage (and we have no way of knowing what Zabel or Graebner had learned was “blanda”.

In short, R. x Aschersoniana is an interesting rose, but I doubt that it is a first-generation descendant of R. blanda, and it may not have any R. blanda in its ancestry. It probably does have R. chinensis in its ancestry, but only through a hybrid intermediary. It may well be an OP seedling one or two generations descended from a R. chinensis hybrid with R. multiflora.

I didn’t realize that there was a mix up with the labels and it wasn’t Betty Bland that David did the root tip squash on. Do we know what it really was? It makes sense that it is a diploid because it has been fairly fertile, more fertile than a triploid would normally be. I always found it odd that it was a triploid and it was more fertile than Lillian Gibson, which is a diploid.

That’s a good point about blanda meaning any smooth rose. It could be any number of roses, even R.pendulina which can be thornless as well. I wonder if they had access to the species R.blanda or if they did, was it a pure strain. The other thing to is, they sometimes were a little misleading in the parentages of the roses back then. I don’t know if it was intentional to mislead or just convention to give a plant the parentages of the last known parents even if they were several generations back.

I grow a lot of Rosa blanda X R. rugosa and Betty Bland. The two are very different .The first is very is much hardier than BB and completely fertile. I am in the extrem far north and find that even Rosa blanda in a cold winter will have much die back. The two are too different for BB to be a rugosa blanda cross. What interests me the the most is that the inheritance of the flower shape, while not seen in BB, later generations do show it and that is the high centered tea shape. Metis has it, Martin frobisher, and many of my latter generations show it as do many of my seedlings.

I would like to say that great seedlings have emerged from this but alas winter kill, black spot, lack of substance, small flowers. I am now doing my last cross that I hope will pull everything together.

I see a lot of Perle d’ Or in it similar genes but I can understand unlikely parent.

I don’t disagree with any of the points you guys make regarding the parentage of ‘Aschersoniana’ (which is why I’m droping the Rosa part).

It had occurred to me that the other parent could be R. majalis. I have a selection from Finland that is completely smooth, and I get the impression that majalis is similar to blanda in a number of other respects. R. majalis is widely grown throughout the colder parts of European, and is another rose I feel has real potential. Having said that, I don’t doubt that blanda would have been available to breeders in Europe well before 1900 so I wouldn’t rule it out. Zabel was likely familiar with both these species so I’d guess he had his reasons (genuine or otherwise) to suggest R. blanda was one of the parents.

I have the plant now and will be attempting to cross it to cultivars that express juvenile flowering, so I may be able to answer the questions about how far back chinensis is in its background if juvenile flowering appears among the seedlings from such a cross.

I can also make some comparisons with R. majalis and R. blanda (all this talk of R. blanda hybrids made me go ahead and buy the R. blanda we have here in the UK, despite my uncertainty about how hardy it will be). I’m no expert, or even an armature botanist, but I am fairly observant and have an eye for detail so I may be able to make some useful observations, if somewhat less educated than would be desirable.


With regards to your B4102. Have you tried it on ‘Thérèse Bugnet’? I’ve found that T.B. will accept pollen from wide cross hybrids like ‘Topaz Jewel’ and ‘Sarah Van Fleet’ when other rugosas have flat out refused it (despite repeated attempts over the years). Oddly, for me, T.B. wont accept pollen from the more rugosa like hybrids.

Another option would be to put B4102 onto a polyantha to get a 1/4 blanda hybrid with juvenile flowering, then put back to blanda. Maybe that extra dose of blanda would give you better fertility. It’s one of the techniques I intend to employ myself and I think it could work for you, even though it could take a little longer.

I am tempted to take you up on your kind offer of pollen from B4102.

There shouldnt be any import restrictions on pollen from the US and Canada and I’ve received pollen from Canada before. It wasn’t viable when it arrived, but I suspect the problem was that it hadn’t been dried out sufficiently. It was kind of musky smelling when it arrive and appeared a little damp which would suggest that was the case .

Post from your part of the world usually takes 5-7 days to arrive so fully dried out pollen could have a chance at remaining viable. I’ll have to look for some papers on pollen viability to get some idea if it’s worth you going to that effort.

I wouldn’t want to waste your time if it stands no chance.

Sorry Paul, I didn’t mean to “catch” you at anything! I grew up in Elk River and was curious if you really did get that cold over there recently. I can only remember one winter in the 20+ years I lived in Minnesota that we dropped over the zone 3 threshhold, and that was in the 90s… my parents keep me updated on their winter temps and haven’t had quite that much cold since I moved away.

I (for some reason) only got around to one Rosa blanda cross that did anything and didn’t have quite as much success in the winter hardiness department; that was with ‘Darlow’s Enigma’. It had beautiful features, though, and if my breeding work hadn’t gotten interrupted by moving away I would definitely have done more.

I had the same thought as everyone else about this “Aschersoniana” not being a Rosa blanda hybrid when I looked at the pictures on HMF. I’m glad I wasn’t alone!



I tried B4102 pollen on a couple of Polyanthas, La Marne and a backcross to Marie Pavie. Unfortunately neither of them took. I do plan on trying it on Oso Happy Smoothie this year. I haven’t tried it on TB yet and the reason is because I’ve tried several pollens on TB and neither of them took. I also heard TB was a better pollen parent than seed parent,so I planned to use it’s pollen on several plants this year. I moved my TB last fall and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to use it, but it’s worth a shot if it flowers.

David Zlesak did a paper on storing pollen that I don’t have access to right now. But I do remember that pollen was viable in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I don’t remember how long it was viable at air temperature, but it wasn’t that long. So if it takes 5 to 7 days to ship it to the UK, the pollen may not be viable when it gets there. But if you’re still interested send me an email later. It usually starts blooming late May or early June.


I was only joking earlier. I think that was the coldest it had gotten here since 1996/1997. The last two winters have been mild temperature wise and the mid 2000s were mild as well. But in the other years, there usually would be one cold snap where it would get down into the negative 20s.

That’s too bad the Darlow’s Enigma x R.blanda cross didn’t work out for you, it sounds like it was a good cross. I’ve heard that DE actually does well here. I know much of a disruption moving has on a breeding program but hopefully you’ll be able to get a one up and running soon there in DC.


T.B. is definitely a tricky one as a seed parent. You have to look very closely at the sigma and make the pollination when they are good and sticky for it to take. It’s a fairly small window but, if you get the timing and the pollen parent right it produces ample seed and germination is as prolific as any other rugosa. As it happens, the first time I got T.B. to produce hips was just after I moved my plant, and I have a suspicion T.B. is more inclined to set hips when slightly stressed (the same thing happened with ‘Topaz Jewel’ last season, though it only had one seed per hip).

For the polyanthas you could try the cut style approach. A lot of poly’s have rather long style in comparison to the Cinnamomae types. I’ve been wondering if style length plays a part in the trouble I’ve had getting crosses between the two types to take when the poly is mum. I’ve decided to try cutting the style, and then applying a little pollen germination medium (glucose and boric acid) before making the pollinations. I have no Idea if it will work but figure it’s worth a try. it’s not like polyanthas are short of flowers to experiment with.

Good luck with it whatever path you take, I’ll be interested to see how you get on.


I was interested by your observations regarding ‘Betty Bland’. I’ve had doubts about the blanda X rugosa theory myself. For my part it was just a gut feeling, but it sounds like you have the experience to back it up. Personally I don’t have a problem with the idea that the other parent is a HP.

(Lets hope I’m not going to be to controversial here).

I know the fact that B.B. is a diploid makes people doubt it’s stated pedigree, but there are plenty of triploid HP’s out there, and even tetras can produce the odd diploid pollen grain. HP’s are a rather genetically diverse bunch, produced from some pretty wide crosses, and roses with that sort of background do some funny things with their pollen. So I don’t think B.B. being diploid is enough to rule anything out.

The other point of contention is that B.B. is so hardy, and that banda X HP couldn’t produce such a hardy plant. But we have plants like ‘Polstjärnan’ that is said to be R. beggeriana X polyantha and is hardy to zone 2. Many of the Zone 2 hardy Hybrid Kordesii and Explorer Series also have non hardy parents listed as little as one generation back. Add to that the fact that HP’s have a good dose of Damask in them, and that the Damask are pretty hardy to Zone 4, and I think it starts to look less of a problem.

I also don’t think we should be to quick to rubbish the parentage listed by breeders of Dr. Skinner’s calibre. He may have had a misidentified ‘Captain Hayward’, and perhaps it was triploid. Or ‘Captain Hayward’ may just produce some diploid pollen. I just think it’s a little arrogant of us to think we know better that he did in regard to what went into his crosses, just because the results were not what we would expect. Especially when roses do things we don’t expect in crosses on a pretty regular basis.

So in short, I kinda agree with you here.

The timing maybe the reason I haven’t had any luck with TB as the seed parent. I usually emasculate the flower and pollinate it at the same time. I’ve gotten lazy over the years. But I’ll have to remember your advice if I’m able to use TB this year.

As for the polyanthas, I’ve had such bad luck with them that I’ve resolved myself to use them only as the pollen parent. I really don’t know how I was able to get R.blanda pollen to take on Marie Pavie 5 years ago. The one exception is OH Smoothie, David says it is a good seed parent so I’m planning to try B4102 pollen and maybe a couple others on it this year. I have several OP seedlings of Smoothie that look very similar to it except for color that I may try as well. I’ll have to remember to cut the stamens, hopefully that’ll increase my odds of the pollinations taking.

My B6901 (Showy Pavement x R.blanda) has shown to be quite female fertile and I plan to use it extensively this year. In 2011, B4102 pollen took on it and I have seven seedlings over wintering now. If any of these bloom this year I may try them. B4102 bloomed in its second season so it’s possible they might. Last year a mix of La Marne, Marie Pavie and Candy Oh Red pollen took on B6901 as well. I have 4 or 5 seedlings of that cross now and hopefully will have more. I had a few more but I lost some when a mouse got into my seedlings last weekend. I was not happy, but the mouse is no longer a problem.

It’s a pity that your polyanthas have been so difficult for you. I’ve tended to use them as pollen parents up till now as I prefer to use the rugosas for seed. They pack so much seed in their hips,and germinate so well, that you can get a good number of seedlings even if most of the pollinations fail. As a rule, one good rugosa hip is equal to ten or more polyantha hips. Still even if all your efforts with the poly’s only resulted in B4102 I’d call it worthwhile. Just to have such an interesting combination to breed with must be worth the effort.

I like your idea of crossing B4102 with Oso Happy Smoothie. The combination of blanda, multiflora and setigera really appeals to me, you could get something really special out of that one. I hope it works out for you, and if dose please post some shots of the results. I’ll look forward to seeing where you go with this line.

I’ve been coveting a few of Davids’ ‘Angel Wings’ derivatives for some time. I just wish they were available here. I may be able to get ‘Catherine Guelda’ next season as Angel Gardens look to ship to the UK. (I’d have ordered it this season but it’s sold out). Unfortunately the company carrying ‘Oso Happy Smoothie’ and ‘Oso Happy Candy Oh’ don’t ship outside the US. So getting those two may take longer. I’d love to see what would come from a ‘Oso Happy Smoothie’ X ‘Catherine Guelda’. Hopefully some day…

I have to say that David’s done some lovely work with his ‘Angel Wings’ seedlings. I’m glad to see that he’s been recognized for his efforts and that his seedlings are making their way into commerce, and more importantly in some respects, into peoples gardens. It’s a well deserved success.

I’ll be interested to see the results of your B6901 X B4102 cross to. If you get just one fertile seedling with repeat and you’ll have the potential to self it and recover the juvenile flowering in a hardy hybrid (something I’m sure you realised when you made this cross). It sounds like you’re a lot closer to where I’d like to be with this one than I’m likely to be for a good few years. I’m feeling a little green eyed, but I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Your B6901 X Poly’s seedlings sound like another interesting route, and again I’ll be watching with interest. I can imagine exactly how you felt about the rodent losses by the way, I’ve been there myself. Glad to hear the little nuisance is no more.


Just a quick update.

It’s still early days, but looking at ‘aschersoniana’ first hand, I’m not entirely convinced it’s a R. blanda hybrid. I can see China there, but I suspect a little dog rose could be in there to. I’ll have to see what comes out in any seedlings.

Its pollen diameter is in the 28-34 micron range with most being around 31 microns. I don’t think I could say ‘aschersoniana’ is diploid as I can’t rule out canina meiosis, but it’s pollen is diploid. There was also a high percentage of poorly stained pollen. I’d estimate that only around 10-20% of the pollen was viable. So fertility is on the low side.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll let you know if anything interesting develops.