Rosa rugosa dominance

Has anyone noted a trend for a difference when using Rosa rugosa as a male or female parent? Is more rugose foliage common if used as a female parent?

The reason I ask is because Ive noticed that some say it is better to use R. rugosa (Im using ‘Alba’) as a male parent because the female parent selfs readily. The thing is that a lot of the hybrids are listed as R. rugosa x so&so more often. I also noticed ( I was at Heirloom’s and noticed) that Ann Endt expresses far more rugose foliage than Basye’s Purple does. This is only one case, though. So I cant verify any pattern and looking at the lists of rugosa hybrids doesnt help much either.

Ideas? Thoughts? Experiences? Anything is welcome…

In my breeding programs with Rosa rugosa, I always use it as the pistillate parent. When crossing with other species or types of roses, I’ve never thought of using Rosa rugosa as the staminate parent. It’s a myth (generally speaking) that Rosa rugosa used as a pistillate parent selfs more readily than other species or near species. Have you ever worked with Rosa spinosissima???

One important reason to use Rosa rugosa as the pistillate parent is that (generally speaking) it produces more seeds than if it is used as the staminate parent. Another important reason for myself, is that Rosa rugosa and its cultivars are readily available in the cold climate (Zone 3) where I live. However, in this climate many species, near species or cultivars of other types of cold hardy roses are not. Furthermore, many cultivars of other types of roses are not good pistillate parents but they are as staminate parents. Most Rugosa cultivars having at least one-half Rosa rugosa in them are excellent pistillate parents. Therefore, it makes sense to usually use Rosa rugosa as the pistillate parent.

The progeny of Rosa rugosa as the pistillate parent with other species or near species will have modified rugose foliage. But as the staminate parent it generally will not. For example, my ‘Purple Springs’ (‘Hansa’ x Rosa foliolosa) has modifed rugose foliage. ‘Basye’s Purple’ does not. The ‘Purple Springs’ shrub is also upright, more so than ‘Basye’s Purple’. I have no doubt, because of the lack of rugose foliage in ‘Basye’s Purple’ and the fact the shrub has a somewhat weeping habit, that the pistillate parent of this cultivar is Rosa foliolosa.

While I haven’t fully tested my theory out, I also believe that progeny with the rugose characteristic in the foliage makes them more disease resistant. Of course, that depends what the other parent is. If the other parent is very disease resistant, then it may not matter.

In the case of Rosa rugosa, there is no question it makes a difference how it is used as a parent when it comes to the shrub, foliage and flower characteristics of the progeny. Therefore, the goal of the breeding program should be determined, and the characteristics of both parents should be studied carefully before deciding which way to make the cross.

That is one of the things I figured. I was pretty much like, “Well, this sucker is one of the easiest of all roses to germinate. Let’s try it! Why not?” I figured that I could always weed out any selfs.

I agree with you about the parentage of Bayse’s Puple.

Thank you for the excellent reply btw!


That’s the reason why I’ve used rugosa so often as the seed parent (rather than pollen parent)… it’s generally very cooperative in setting seed and germinating. Other species haven’t always been this easy for me, as seed setters or germinators.

Yeah that is why I used Belle Epoque as a seed parent for the other species (non-rugosa) crosses this year. It probably isnt the best choice but I know it will likely stick and germinate.

Belle Epoque has never set a hip here and the late season attempts at using it as pollen parent look to have failed.

I have a large rugosa from seed supplied by Joan Monteith from her tetra specimen that refuses to flower. I think I am on year three.

Weird! Mine is like magic. I got it from Uncommon Roses. This year is had it’s first non-round shaped hip. It is Belle Epoque x Rosa moyessi ‘Geranium.’ The hip is sorta mimicing the shape of the usual moyesii hips. I wonder why? It could be possible that it is only partially swollen with seeds, though.

I have 2 hybrids from her seeds. One is lilac and one is magenta. Theyre very linear and bloom little but they have the best foliage/disease resistance of the lot. Im putting a large mixture of modern pollen (anything with yellows, scarlets, oranges and good branching habit) on them in hopes for something useful.

I’ll bet it’s location location location.

I think so, too. That is a pity for you, though, because the plant is absolutely model for a good garden HT. The flowers could use a TON more substant but the plant is an absolute saint as far as vigor, size, disease resistance, aesthetics and low-thorn count goes. btw, it seems to give off mostly blends (ie a light color that is marred a darker color). I got a lot of white blended pink blooms when I tried it with Freedom which is weird because Freedom is very yellow, semi-double dominant ( a lot of Bright Smile wannabes) in most cases.

I’ll try it for pollen earlier in the season next year. Hope springs eternal. Thanks for the info.

Yeah you should try again. I’d try it as a seed parent, too. I wonder if your Lila Banks would stick? That would be some super shiny foliage!

Lila Banks will stick to almost any tetraploid but Belle Epoque has never set a hip with any kind of pollen for me. Lila Banks produces unusually large pollen. There is some thought that it might be succesful with penta and hexaploids. Hopefully I’ll know more in the near future.

Yeah I remember when you were sad because a slug ate your Just Joey cross of it. I remember because we were also talking about what a pain Just Joey can be. It would be cool if your Lila Banks could make a F2 with one of the Rosa acicularis subspecies and then back onto a modern mauve. A nice mauve shrub rose would be wonderful.

I’ve been trying to stay away from most deciduous species though that might be flawed thinking. I am nursing along a rather weak seedling of Dortmund x Lila Banks (Here’s rugosa again) but it seems to be gaining some vigor. I’ve noted some of these wide crosses take a while to gain vigor for some reason. Lila Banks itself didn’t seems to know whether to live or die for the longest time.

Maybe I’ll try Lila on one of my Dornroschen seedlings for fun.

Dortmund wouldnt be too bad. What I was looking for (for you) was something to up the color per square inch count that many of the Synstylae do. So that would give R. wichurana and possibly Rosa multiflora via Eva lineage (if we are right). Plus the hopeful hardiness would help you, too.

That is a huge range of species btw! That would be rugosa, multiflora, chinensis, banksia, califronica, and so on…

Yeah, fun huh?

I like it :slight_smile: