Rosa primula

I found a mature, 3 gallon specimen (for 10 bucks!) or Rosa primula at Portland Nursery yesterday and well–it hopped into the trunk all by itself. My question is if anyone has had any experience with it? The foliage is stunning. I counted 13-17 leaflets per. The foliage scent is odd–not sure what to call it. Not many thorns for a yellow briar type in comparison to Rosa foetida. I cant find info on ploidy for it but Im assuming it is similar to Rosa ecae and a diploid BB from the Pimp section. I wanted to try it with Rosa banksia lutescens but it’ll probably fail. What do you all think?

I think you’re going to love the bush, just for itself alone. In our garden it’s the first to bloom and stays in bloom for six weeks (which translates to lots of opportunities to put pollen on the many, many blooms it makes.)

One friend of mine positively hates the scent (it reminds her of church rituals); for other folks the scent is there, but not repulsive.

Last year I had planned to collect o.p. hips just to see if it picked up any traits from its neighbors, but I totally misjudged the time the ripe (black) hips would hold on the bush and they dropped fast in July (bloom here began in earliest April) and apparently are much loved by our rodent population as none were to be found on the ground when I realized they had dropped.

This spring we moved our bush and it’s still sulking. It will survive, but it took to its move much worse that a lot of our other species roses.

Wow yeah. The plant is absolutely stunning. It looks very, very modern. The scent doesnt bug me. Im glad it has that sort of bloom span though–that will be fun! Do you know if it suckers freely, a little or not at all? There is so little text on this rose for some reason and I dont see why :slight_smile:

My Rosa primula doesn’t have a foliage scent that I can detect. I don’t know if it’s me or the rose that’s lacking; but I like it a lot anyway.

Mine hasn’t suckered at all and it’s probably 5-10 years old. As for hybridizing with it, I haven’t achieved much. I have concentrated more on using Rosa xanthina, which is similar but more intense yellow and with a different (and more interesting to me) flower scent.

One of these days I’ll have to try another Rosa primula and see if I can get a foliage-scented one.

Good luck with yours, Tom

My plant came as a sucker from a friend in Montana. It hasn’t done aggressive suckering (R. nutkana is our worst, but we get suckers on most own root roses, just not aggressively on many, one or two give aways every other year).

Our xanthina is young so I can’t compare bloom time, yet.

I didn’t mention rebloom on primula before, because it is slight, but most fall days we could get a few blooms on the plant. If it were crossed to produce blooms with many petals and were less easily pollinated, there’s at least some potential there for repeat at least comparable to the more stingy HPs.


I love R. primula too and would love to do more work with it as well. I tried to cross it with modern tetraploids and diploid polyanthas, but those crosses haven’t taken. I have a few weak seedlings of R. rugosa x R. primula. They are a few years old and haven’t flowered yet. The R. primula at the MN Landscape arb that I have gotten pollen of and used in these crosses may be a hybrid itself according to Kathy Zuzek. It is very large for a R. primula since it is ~8-10 feet tall. It is one of the earliest roses to flower in the garden (end of April).


Verfied diploid by an old rose book I found at the library.

There are retail sources for Rosa primula that sell it misidentified. If your Rosa primula doesn’t have the unusual scented foliage, then you probably have some other rose.

Hey thanks for the info. The foliage is definately stinky. Smells like cut wood to me. I recognized it instantly at the nursery without looking at the tag.