Rosa palustris scented glands

Inspired by Mike’s recent post, I DID go out last night and prepared five buds of Rosa palustris to receive Rosa wichuraiana pollen this morning. Time will tell if the cross works, but my real reason for posting is the strong scent of the gland hairs of Rosa palustris.

I’d noticed the scent years ago (>20) when I collected the hips that grew this plant. They were from a local population growing in a marshy meadow – that floods for most of the winter. I remember being surprised at the candy-sweet scent coming from the plastic cup full of hips. I’d never tried controlled crosses on this plant before, so hadn’t actually handled the flowerbuds so much. From just handling five small flowerbuds, my fingers got quite a bit of sticky, fragrant resin on them. I took a bud in for my wife to smell and help me to identify the frgarance, since she’s got the super-sensitive-to-smell nose (from expecting). She said her first thought was pickle but it’s sweeter. Then she said “maybe jelly beans?” The more I smelled it, I started thinking woodsy or piney, but there’s definitely a sweetness. I still can’t figure out quite what it is, but it’s pleasant. I thought the fragrant-foliage crowd might find this interesting to note.

And since I was getting Rosa wichuraiana buds ready to use for pollen, I rubbed them and gave them a sniff too. They’re not as strongly scented as palustris, but did have a fragrance too. To me, it’s piney, verging on the smell of geranium (Pelargonium) leaves.

I got out to my Rosa setigera to try some R.wichuraiana pollen on it too, and it’s got a scented-stickiness to the flowerbuds too. It’s got almost the same scent as the wichuraiana but a little stronger.

And while on the subject of scented-foliage/buds…

Two years back I germinated some seedlings of Rosa glutinosa (mostly open-pollinated but I did pollinate a few flowers too). I figured that I’d be able to tell any hybrids from selfings. As I expected, all of the seedlings seem to be pure glutinosa, except for one that was a little thornier and more vigorous than the others. I planted this one separate from the others when I lined them out last year. This seedling is definitely not just glutinosa (from height and leaf shape). It is not quite as glandular as glutinosa, but is still as glandular as, or even slightly more than, Rosa eglanteria. I guess next year I’ll get an idea, who the father might have been. I wish I could remember which pollens I used – but I do remember that ‘Hazeldean’ was one of them and from leaf appearances, that seems like a likely papa.

Now, I’m going to have to try to get some palustris pollen in the freezer for next spring to try on glutinosa – glutinosa X palustris would have to be a spectacular, scented-leaf rose hybrid.

I still can’t understand why Rosa glutinosa isn’t more widely grown. I realize that it’s only a once-bloomer; but for the rest of the growing season here in Maryland, it’s a healthy, dense, compact (knee-high) mound of very fragrant foliage. And it has nice hips in the fall. It’s called the PINE SCENTED ROSE, but to me the fragrance is more like tangerines. I like it better than eglanteria, for strength of scent, quality of scent, and for so-much-more manageable growth habit.

I should go out and check my palustris, never noticed this. Really interesting. I really love the fragrance of my rosa Primula leaves and mosses.

I will try rosa glutinosa, if you say it is healthy here. I don’t care that much about repeat.



Olga, I still would say that glutinosa is pretty healthy here, but I did notice yesterday that it has just a few spots of mildew here and there. It’s hardly enough to cause the plants to notice, because I can’t even see the ground through these guys and this is only their second season in the ground - they were only about an inch tall when I planted them out last spring. Is your palustris a local clone or one distributed commercially?


My palustris, came from a friend who got it, I believe, from Chamblee or ARE, don’t remember now.