Species Clones

What is the likelyhood of a species being offered by one nursery being the same clone as one being offered by another nursery? I ask this for two reasons. First, one clone might be a better parent or have better qualities than the other. Second, incoporating qualities from a species may mean numerous selfings, sibling crosses and/or backcrosses. I’ve read this can lead to ferility problems or weak seedlings. Would it be better have two parrallel lines of crosses from two seperate clones that you can breed together later. Say at the third generation to keep some genetic diversity along with keeping up the fertility and vigor of the offspring. Is this an issue or should I not be too concerned about this?

I think it’s an issue.

Some species exhibit quite a diversity of character based on their geographic distribution. Being unable to select out those clones having the characteristics we most desire is to our detriment. I think it’s quite common for species clones to become established in the nursery industry which preclude exploration of variation within the species.

I can think of at least one recent example, that being R. gigantea. There are at least two sources in the U.S., one being the East Indian forms and an older form of undetermined provenance. Gigantea exists over a broad climactic range.

I’ve read that lineages of some early species hybrids were erroneous due to misidentification. The Barbier wichurana hybrids come to mind as they now purportedly descend instead from R. luciae?

The R. californica used for breeding in Great Britain is apparently different than what we grow on the West Coast, yet it’s likely all hybrid californicas descend from whatever californica hybrid LeGrice was using at the time.

I think it’s well worthwhile to go back and explore some of these early hybrids utilizing superior or unique species forms.

Harkness used R. californica, too. It’s probably the same one, though.

Even your Rosa californica is vastly different than the one in my area. For example, the majority of the examples in my area climb up trees if theyre at the edge of a forest. Theyre VERY large plants.

I just remembered reading an old thread where there are two different clones of R.primula in the industry. One had scented foliage and the other did not. The one without the scent could have been scentless clone of R.primula or like you say it could have been a mislabeled clone of another species. I’ve even seen where one can purchase seeds of a double flowered R.primula on the web. I don’t think are any double forms of R.primula, so who knows what they would be from.

I can see where there would more clones of native species in the industry just because of availability. Whereas exotic species probably aren’t going to be imported that often. What would be the incentive to import another clone when there is already one in the industry, unless there is a clear difference or superiority the new clone.

The R.arkansana plants from the dry northern plains that the Canadian breeders used were quite susceptible to powdery mildew. They have passed this trait onto their offspring. I’ve noticed from the plants that I’ve collected and David Z. has noted in an earlier thread that the R.arkansana here in Minnesota seem to be more resistant to PM.

To the above, let me add a comment about R. setigera. I’ve seen it in Kansas and Nebraska and Iowa happily climbing into trees.

R. setigera in my neck of the woods stays much smaller along old, established fencerows where it could climb, but doesn’t. If I’d had a lightbulb go off in my mind when we were in the Midwest at the right time of year, I’d have dug up some of the midwestern clones for comparison.

Then there are the three different sizes of R. carolina that Claire LaBerge has as the Montreal Botanical Garden: very short and low growing, medium sized, and the massive one. Leaves and blooms identical.

“The Rosa arkansana plants from the dry northern plains that the Canadian breeders used were quite susceptible to mildew.” Actually, it was Rosa arkansana ‘J.W. Fargo’ having double flowers Henry Marshall used to develop his Parkland rose breeding program. This genotype was discovered in South Dakota by Claude Barr, the famous amateur botanist from that state.

Regarding the susceptibility of Parkland roses to powdery mildew (and blackspot) in more humid geographical regions than the northern Great Plains, one can’t discount Floribundas and Hybrid Teas in the parentages of these Rosa arkansana hybrid cultivars contributing to these disease problems.


I didn’t realize that ‘J.W Fargo’ came from South Dakota. I must have been thinking about ‘Woodrow’ that Percy Wright wrote about from southern Saskatchewan. Actually, I was at work and I was paraphrasing from memory something I had read once. I guess this source was mistaken. Now that I have double checked the literature that I have. It is black spot that the Parkland roses are susceptible to and not so much powdery mildew. That would mean that they probably inherited that from the modern roses in their ancestry.



“Of course doing parallel crosses will take up more space and time.”

It is the critical first cross that should be large enough and eventually from varied parents as the sort of compatibility that leads to strong and fertile triploid or tetraploid hybrid seedling is not allways that easy. Some are uniform when others are not.

Me too I complain about unamed clones of unknown origin that are not rare in roses breeding history. I suspect some to be seedlings from possible bee crosses. The rosa blanda I grew years ago had little fertility.

Botanical garden seeds are to be suspected as often from a grown among other species single plant, eventually mislabeled, and possibly from bot garden seed. On the other hand: if you go from seed it is possible to select a nice and fertile plant.


So, if I use the right parents, and make enough pollinations, then I should have a large enough pool of offspring that fertility and vigor problems should be minimized. I would just make the same number or even more crosses with one set of parents than I would with two sets.

I suspect that the fertility/vigor issue is more of a concern with diploids than with tetraploids because tetraploids have twice as many chromosomes, therefore have four times as many possible combinations. So they are less likely to become homogeneous for any chromosome in subsequent generations.

I bought some R.virginiana and R.glauca seeds a few years ago. Only one of the R.virginiana seed germinated. It turned out to be a pure white R.rugosa seedling, not exactly what I was looking for. I discarded it because it didn

The NARGS (North American Rock Garden Society) has some potential to bring in exotics from the wild.

This year’s seed list includes three wild collected Rosa including one from Morocco collected by someone in Littleton Colorado. What species is it? Don’t know. But I’ll try to get seeds, and grow them out and see what they do and don’t like.

Not all of our resources need to be Rose-centric.

Species require a skilled knowledge of taxonomy to verify identification. Who’s word does one accept as being the ultimate authority on the subject?

I’ll bet there are many commonly accepted and misidentified species floating around.

What’s up with all of these species that seemingly have no history or provenance?

I’ve noted after seeing many mystery species in Cliff Orent’s collection that many seem to be merely variations of species already present in modern cultivars.

Without some novel characteristic there seems little reason to explore potential.


North Africa has Rosa sempervirens, too, if my books are being accurate.


I was away for a few days and catching up.

Usually there are no problem of diversity, fertility or vigor on the species side. Problems are with HTs and eventually compatibility. That is why I would advise you to use more than one HT parent in order to get fertile progeny. Without compatibility problems and with even ploidy there is no need for large F1 progenies. Diversity may uncover eventual complementarities.

That tetraploids are more diverse than diploids is not confirmed. In my experience, diploid species have much more viability and diversity than tetraploid cvs. Tetraploid progenies average are as a rule less diverse, fertile or vigorous than diploid ones.


I do not think that a novel characteristic is to be obvious. These easier or more evident pathes were mostly explored.

The McGredy painted feature appeared with advanced species hybrid seedlings. Similarly it is my opinion that pelargonidin was expressed from new genes combination and not from a mutation. At least it is something I have seen among my species derived seedlings.

As many species did evolve independently for long time: explore some of the so many never seen genes combinations may bring back good surprises. I am convinced it will.

Pierre, I hear what you are saying about any new species having the potential to make some novel new contribution.

My point is if we have to choose a new species to work with it seems best to work with those that are the least like the species already present in modern garden roses.

Those that are the most far removed seem have the best chance for producing new characteristics.

For instance there are many individual species that resemble multiflora from my observation.

If we could grow them out together and select those with the best hardiness and disease resistance we would have information to make a judgement as to which ones have something to offer.

Just because a rose has a different species name doesn’t mean it has something to offer.

Incorporating a new species takes years of work. I’d prefer to work with something novel. Otherwise we could do all that work and end up back where we started. I think any new species is worth exploring but it could be a lot of work for nothing.

Surely there is more than enough diversity to keep us all working for longer than we could hope to live.

Multiflora is a very diverse species with local forms but it was used a lot. Moschatas (Lens) are essentially multiflora derived.

There are many species that have the chances for producing new characteristics. We cannot know the better ones beforehand.

I am not at “incorporating” species: this is only a long term possibility for me. My goal is putting a nicer flower, a better architecture and performance on plants that have as much as possible of species strengths and esthetics.

On the contrary my opinion is that breeding back to Hts or near Hts is done on a very large scale by the major breeders.

I do not want to compete with them. An ambition of mine is developing roses that actually are not or little bred for with characteristics such that they will be able to meet a market.

Ht format is not the only one for me. There are many other formats to better or discover.

I.e. imagine a plant with the performance of Baby Love at its best and the grace of Canary Bird.