Rugosa foliage development

I’ve got about 14 seedlings up from some OP Frau Dagmar Hastrup hips. They have just grown their first true leaves and they don’t appear to be overly rugose. Is this normal? Are rugosa-type seedlings rugose right from the start or does the rugose texture develop as the seedlings mature?

Simon, I once had a Frau D grafted on an understalk. The idea

being to prevent it from suckering. It was the most beautiful

rose plant I’ve ever seed–at least seven feet tall, and somewhat more across–and it was crowded by other evergreen

shrubs. The leaves were a lovely glossy deep green, with

impressed veins. I wanted a whole hedge of it, so I sowed seed. The seedlings didn’t resemble the parent in any way,

with glaucous (bluish) leaves, and not very impressed veins.

They were planted in seven gallon (14" diameter) containers,

and even after four years, not all had flowered. They would

grow up a little, but suckered out the drainage holes and

the suckers were much more vigorous than the tops. They were

viciously spiny. Then I layered the original plant, and it

had the same glaucous, dull foliage, and the reduced leaf

vein impressions, and didn’t resemble the parent plant.

I didn’t grow any more rugosa seedlings for several years.

The pollen parent of these seeds could have been anything really, so I won’t really be surprised if they don’t develop rugose patterns/textures on their leaves. The parent plant is growing at the Australian National Rose Garden in Tasmania, near where I live, and there are more than 5000 roses growing all around it of every shape, colour, and ancestry. I’ve just never grown rugosa seeds before so have no idea what to expect.

The number of seedlings in this tray has grown to almost 50 now and they all seem pretty similar to the one pictured here. This photo was taken about 10 days ago so I’ll try and get a few better current photos to better explain what I mean. If these were going to be as rugose as their seed parent would they already be showing it?


I should have some rugosa seedlings here shortly for comparison. However, in looking at the seedlings in your photo, I would say that they already look a little more puckered/quilted than I would normally see with a non-rugosa seedling. Obviously not nearly as quilted as ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’ is…but they seem rugose to me.

This will be my first year with rugosa seedlings as well. So it should be interesting to see how they compare in person to what I am familiar with seeing on modern hybrid seedlings.



They look rugose to me also, but time will tell. Foliage development changes as seedlings mature.

Jim Sproul

I was wondering how many people are aware that Rosa rugosa does not accept its own pollen - much like some varieties of apples. Therefore open pollinated seedlings will usually be hybrids when a Rugosa rose is planted among other roses. Oftentimes, the resulting seedlings will be once blooming, excessively thorny, and suckering nightmares. In succeeding generations these bad traits can be bred out. An example of such is my climber, Morning Magic.

This has been discussed on here a couple of times and is actually something I was counting on given where the parent plant came from and the number of possible pollen donors around it. The possible variation within these seedlings will be extensive (which is why I collected them… I was hoping for lots of variation but continuence of the rugose leaf texture) and am happy to grow them on in beds here until their true nature is revealed.

Rugosa seedling foliage looks pretty much like any other rose variety until they have produced several sets of leaves. The first few leaves don’t look particularly rugose.

My Rosa rugosa alba x Baby Love seedlings germinated this year. They are DEFINITELY rugose. However, they are uber thorny with highly glossy foliage. They look like baby versions of the plants of ‘Robusta’. They have not bloomed yet, though. However, previous crosses with rugosas yielded different variations of rugose-ness. Species x modern tatraploids always seem so haphazard x_X I am kind of disappointed with this year’s batch of the above cross because I do not like the density and ferocity of the thorns developing.

A few leaves on and they are starting to looking more rugose :slight_smile: Looking forward to putting them in the ground actually.

Jadae, that’s such a great cross - and if I may, I’d like to discourage you a little from thinking too badly of them just because of the prickles. Depending on your breeding objectives, remember that cross could lead to a wonderful yellow rose for the northern tier of states may signal that the hardiness of the seed parent has been reasonably preserved. The loss of prickliness and leaf texture seems to be highly associated with a loss of winter survival ability, unless lost in combination with other very hardy species and varieties. If you don’t keep any otherwise promising seedlings, it would be smart for other breeders to try the same cross for another part of the country where a prickly, hardy yellow rose would be far better than none!

Thanks. I’m still not sure what to think of the cross. I have no idea exactly how they will behave onto each other genetically. However, I am not seeing any miniatures, which I am glad for. I dont really care for minis =P With my luck, they will all be 100% white lol.

Baby Love aint a bad parent choice, though. It has a lot of the virtues of its grandparent, Bright Smile, without its gross flaws (hates cold, hates winters, hates being wet, and of low vigor). I got Shockwave, a grandchild of Baby Love, this year and I have been pleasantly surprised. It has wonderful foliage and it retains that wonderful golden color from bud to open bloom.

However, if I was aiming for hardiness combined with strong yellow/gold, I would probably use Toprose as the modern bush rose to throw into the mix of hardy species. The only con I can think of, though, is its tendency to throw climbers thanks to its Arthur Bell lineage, lol.

So – back to the real subject – I am not sure which yellow would be best to mix with rugosas. However, Baby Love did seem like a somewhat worthwhile gamble. I just dont know how the color mutation of Rosa rugosa alba will behave, especially since it is a diploid. Jens Munk might have been a wiser choice for me to use since I also own that one as well. I dont know…

I have used a variety of R. rugosa alba for breeding on occasion and obtained reds by crossing the Rugosa (female) with a pink Floribunda!!! (male) So, anything is possible.


Your comment: “I was wondering how many people are aware that Rosa rugosa does not accept its own pollen much like some varieties of apples. Therefore, open pollinated seedlings will usually be hybrids when a Rugosa rose is planted among other roses.” I think that is a generalization not always true. In my experience, at least some Rugosa cultivars that are hybrids with a diploid species will self-pollinate. ‘Schneezwerg’ and ‘Aylsham’, for example. Also, it appears to me that some cultivars like ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’ and ‘Scabrosa’ self-pollinate. There is a major difference with these cultivars compared to, for example,‘Hansa’ in their op hip production. Often I’ve seen nearly every flower on shrubs of ‘FDH’ and ‘Scabrosa’ set hips and that likely can only be if the flowers self-pollinate. That is never the case with ‘Hansa’.

Recently, I discovered the value of self-pollinated Rugosa cultivars. From ‘Aylsham’ hips that were self-pollinated, I selected a seedling having very double, medium pink flowers. Not only that but the cane was nearly thornless. I was amazed to see this, because the canes of ‘Aylsham’ are quite prickly. This may have solved a Rugosa mystery that I’ve pondered for years. How did Georges Bugnet develop his nearly thornless cultivars ‘Lac Majeau’, ‘Louise Bugnet’ and ‘Rita Bugnet’ having white flowers? Obviously, from my experience with ‘Aylsham’ the answer may be they derived from self-pollinated Rosa rugosa alba ‘Plena’ or ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’.

Simon: The photos of your seedling indicate it is 100% Rugosa.


Thanks Paul (and everyone who has replied).

Last year my ‘Scabrosa’ didn’t form any OP hips, self-pollinated or otherwise. It is in one of my larger beds with more than 100 different varieties all around it and still no hips. Maybe it was the absence of effective pollinators but judging by the number of honey bees and bumblebees around and the number of OP hips on a lot of the other varieties I don’t think this is the case. ‘Scabrosa’ looks like it might form some OP hips this year but given its location I’d have to collect and sow every seed to determine whether it was due to selfing or crossing. My ‘Scabrosa’ is going to be my main seed parent this year pollinated with miniature pollen to try for miniature rugosa-type plants. I have OP seeds of Schneezwerg in now and none have germinated.

Update… first rugosa x miniature seedlings are up :slight_smile: First one is ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Gold Coin’. ‘Gold Coin’ has surprised me this year… on my two plants every flower set an op hip, its OP seeds germinated more easily than most other seeds and its 'Scabrosa’x seeds have germinated before the other rugosa x miniature seeds. It’s been nice and clean here though I think I will be digging mine up and placing them in pots this year as it stays too small and tends to get lost in the garden beds. I have bought rugosa ‘alba’, and ‘Anne Endt’ this year and hope to use these as too. I have another unknown double red rugosa that I rescued from a ‘garden makeover’ that I hope will prove useful as well.

Update to the ones pictured above… they got roasted… my little greenhouse soared to over 50 degrees Celcius one hot day last year and the doors didn’t get opened like I asked and… well… it was a good selective pressure to weed out the heat-intolerant ones sighs

More rugosa seedlings are up… Now up is ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Magic Carrousel’, and OP ‘Anne Endt’. :slight_smile: