Should you try developing a better R. damascena rose?


Another good paper. I find it particularly interesting that hairiness of hypanthium and pedicel was correlated with intensity of perfume; while smoothness was associated with resistance to rose aphid. Also that plants with fewer prickles were generally smaller and weaker than the more prickly selections.

Babaei et al. (2007) found a considerable degree of genetic variation among Iranian accessions of Rosa damascena. They did not study Damask roses from Turkey.

“Our analysis showed for the first time the existence of multiple genotypes within Rosa damascena. We are currently performing an analysis of oil production across several years, in order to determine whether different genotypes also have a qualitative difference in production and/or composition of essential oil. If so, these genotypes may be used to broaden the production of rose oil, and they can also be used as the basis of a breeding program. As these nine genotypes were found after sampling only 40 large and small production fields, we expect that a more intensive sampling will be valuable in order to find more genetic diversity. For this, we will focus on the areas where we have found the unique genotypes, i.e., the Western and Northern provinces.”

This research indicates that not all forms of R. damascena originated as sports from one primeval clone.

On a related note, LeGrice (1976) wrote:
“This Rose de Mai was a hybrid between R. centifolia (from Asia Minor) and Rose de Provins (R. gallica) which is said to be indigenous, although it is believed that Theobault IV brought back from Damascus to Grasse a type of Rose de Provins with a reddish purple flower. There are two varieties, one with many thorns and one with few. The first is more suited to very dry areas without irrigation. It is more vigorous, with smaller flowers, although these are highly perfumed.”

Again, the more prickly form was more vigorous.