Rose varieties susceptible to RMV

I’ve just thrown out one of my two gigantea plants because it had developed signs of RMV (they were obtained from different sources and the other, from Laurie Newman, seems to be clean so far). It was a small grafted plant that I grafted last year and was still on one of my big parent multiflora plants. I received the cuttings when I had no struck understocks so I budded it directly to the multiflora plant and intended to layer it when it was more advanced (knowing the risk full well btw… didn’t pay off :frowning: ). Now the parent plant is infected as well but I have lots of multiflora cuttings in that were made before I grafted the gigantea onto it so I am wanting to test them to see if they too are infected and whether it was the multiflora that passed the RMV onto the gigantea or the gigantea that passed it onto the multiflora. I have other roses grafted onto the multiflora that I made as stents before budding the gigantea onto it… testing to see if I could stent roses (was kind of successful…) that are showing no signs of RMV after two years though I am aware that some varieties can be more symptomatic than others. So I was wondering which varieties, or classes of rose, tend to show symptoms very freely/easily/readily that might be used to give some kind of rough indication as to the RMV status of my understock cuttings… a kind of RMV ‘canary’? I have seedling HT that I could use budwood from in a few weeks but if there are varieties that would be a better guide I would rather use these instead and keep them as an RMV-free source to periodically test rootstocks. I have lots of OP seedlings from it that I can replace it with but I’m very fond of this particular variety that has deeply rugose leaves, heady scent, and a tame shrub-like stature, so if my cuttings seem RMV free then I can replace the big one with the cuttings. The rugose nature of the leaves does not, so far, seem to have been passed on to its progeny. If you have any ideas or recommendations I would love to hear them.

RMV is a group name for a number of viruses. Also even within any member of the group there can exist a number of strains.

For example, PNRSV is one of the more common rose virus. This is a link that discusses the strains of it found in just one location in cherry trees in New York:


Perhaps cucumber would work as it appears to be infected by a number of the viruses that infect roses:


Ophelia and its sports have been long used as “canaries” for several kinds of RMV, as in this study:


This paper mention several other indicator plants:


I’m fairly sure my Reine Des Violettes when under stress when I first bought it this year showed signs of it. It has disappeared for now though and I’m still going to keep it.

Hi Henry… I’m aware of the group-type classification of viruses that cause mosaic type symptoms. I’m really after a rose-based test subject on which I can test my understocks for the particular type of virus that has shown up… a broad-spectrum rose guinea pig so to speak… Ophelia sounds like a great choice thanks Jim. Do you think, as a whole, hybrid teas become more symptomatic that most rose groups (I was thinking finding an RMV virus free ‘Ophelia’ to test it with might also be difficult)?

Simon thanks for bringing the topic up. I hadn’t really thought about it before. I may just try the cucumber route.

Simon, Ophelia and its sports, like Madame Butterfly, are used because they show clearly visible virus symptoms sooner than most other roses. Queen Elizabeth is another variety that has been used to detect rose viruses. Virus indexed Ophelia and Madame Butterfly are available here. I don’t know whether they are available down under.

‘Dainty Bess’ is a first gen. descendant of ‘Ophelia’ and I have this growing here already. Do you think it might work is a similar way to ‘Ophelia’. I will have no trouble obtaining a specimen of ‘Ophelia’ but won’t if ‘Dainty Bess’ will do the job just as well.

Wait a minute… I budded this ‘Dainty Bess’ onto a cutting from the multiflora plant in question… it hasn’t shown any signs of RMV yet so I will be interested to hear whether you think it shares Ophelia’s susceptibility as this might answer my question immeidately.

I have grown Dainty Bess plants that showed the zigzag mosaic on the leaves but didn’t have the sort of problem that is supposed to show up when a diseased bud is grafted onto Openila.

I was talking to a plant pathologist earlier today and the concept of roses that tolerate a virus came up. Not that the disease is supressed…so that no symptoms show… but that can live with the disease. From what I’ve seen, FWIW, tolerance in one climate doesn’t equate to tolerance in all other climates and growing conditions.

I always assumed they could trhive in one degree or another. However, I always shovel pruned mine right away for several reasons:

I wasn’t interested in spreading it in any of the various forms it could spread, it was distracting to look at in an aesthetic sense and I did not want it to be further propagated had I left the rose there when I moved or whatever and someone found it growing there.

The only reason I would willing keep a known virused rose on my personal grounds would be because the rose was too unique to find elsewhere.

Instead of heat and apical tip tissue culture, possibly liquid nitrogen followed by root tip tissue culture could be used to clean a rose from virus.

For root reference (Tobacco ringspot virus is included in published list of mosaic viruses that infect roses)

AND for liquid nitrogen: