Sport of a Sport? Brilliant Pink Iceberg

This is a photo of one of 6 Brilliant Pink Iceberg roses in my garden. I noticed this year that a majority of its blooms are showing split color - not a stripe or a blend so much as blooms where 1/2 is pink and 1/2 white (as show in the top two blooms in this photo.

Even more interesting (at least to me) is that almost every bloom has one or more petals with a split coloration as shown in this photo.

I’m a true greenhorn when it comes to hybridizing and propagating roses by seed. I’m wondering if this would be called a “sport” and if so, can I propagate this by cutting or is this protected by the Brilliant Pink Iceberg patent?

Also, what’s the likelihood that this rose would pass along this harlequin coloration if it was used as either a seed or pollen parent?

Any info from the experts would be welcome.

This is definitely a sport. You are soooo luck to have this.

I call my Brilliant pink Iceberg “the Harlequin rose” because it has always done this too. It does more ‘Harlequining’ in the early spring and summer, much less in the late summer and fall. Many times I get a perfect split down the middle-other times I get a spray with deep pink, baby pink, and white in the same spray. Since it does not always do this, and sometimes is quite random, and is over most of the bush, not just a spray,(was really into the harlequin thing this spring) I assumed it was a characteristic of this rose to have unstable color layers. It would be interesting to see if your BPI continues only this coloration all year, or if it reverts. It is only an assumption on my part, but I did not think this trait would be stable.

Thanks for the input. Fascinating the your BPI does this, too, Jackie. I’m sorely tempted to take some cuttings, but hesitate to do so if it is protected by patent. I really like this novelty. I was never particularly crazy about the BPI, but a local nurseryman gave me a half dozen at the end of the season about 6 years ago. He often donates much of his potted rose stock to the Master Gardener’s display gardens at the end of each season. These were unwanted, so I rescued them. So far, this one bush is the only one of the six to show any variation in color.

Yes, I agree, George. I do feel very lucky. I truly enjoy this rose and would love to have more like it.

I’m sorely tempted to take some cuttings, but hesitate to do so if it is protected by patent.

Sports are fair game.

Sweet! Thanks for the guidance, Don. I’ll take some cuttings tomorrow for sure.



Can anyone here tell us how to go about getting a sport recognised and patented?

Jean, This is a shot of mine from last yr. I think.[img][/img]

Patenting it will cost you at least $2000, you realize?

Assuming this is a stable sport, I wonder then if it is worth pursuing this commercially…

I found a link to this article about sports (chimeras) that was fairly illuminating.

I plan to take some cuttings throughout the summer to see whether or not this sport is stable - what the article refers to as a “Periclinal Chimera.” According to the article, these are relatively stable and can be vegetatively propagated. If my cuttings don’t show the sport characteristics, then I guess I can presume it is not stable and could only be reproduced through some type of microscopic tissue culture. At that point in the article, my eyes glazed over so I’m not 100% sure I have that correct. LOL

Isn’t it interesting that Jackie has a plant that exhibits a similar mutation?

Paul, is it true that there are many roses that have registered names but are not trademarked or patented? I’d be happy to be able to register a name on this rose…if that’s possible.

Hello Jean

I don’t wish to burst your bubble on this but one of the characteristics of BPI is its ununiformity, that is its ability to show an amount of white per bloom. It has it’s patent on the fact that a percentage of the blooms show a degree of white and variability. While it may seem odd it is the very oddness that is the distinuishing characteristic. This will explain why Jackie has a bloom exhibiting a similar look.

All the best


Me too… one of the things that IS uniform about this whole series of sports is that they lack uniformity.

These photos of my burgundy iceberg were all taken on the same day on the same plant:

If you look on HMF under burgundy iceberg you will see other photos like yours.

The chimera thing just means that it can express two different genotypes at the same time. Micropropagation from tissue taken from particular parts would either propagate the white part or the pink part… depending which genotype was sampled. Regular grafting is more likely to pass on this variegated look… though IME it doesn’t… it’s just an unstable line of roses IMO.

A question, perhaps for David Z, but anyone who might know. Is there evidence that this is a chimera? Or is it a single gene for pigmentation that switches off and on during flower bud development? I’d view it more like the striped flowers, or speckled Indian corn, where the geens switch rapidly between on and off.

Jean asked: "

Paul, is it true that there are many roses that have registered names but are not trademarked or patented? I’d be happy to be able to register a name on this rose…if that’s possible."

Of course. In fact, at this time all of my named roses have neither a trademark nor a patent. The cost of patenting is too great to warrant it; I would not likely recover the cost. Future hybrids undoubtedly will get patented, when I feel I am ready for that investment.

It costs you nothing to register a unique rose with an “official” name for commercial purposes. See the link below for more instructions.

I would caution you not to rush into this until you have successfully propagated your sport and established that it can be reproduced 10 times out of ten as a stable variegated sport. Odds are that it will revert to solid pink, but give it a go!


Thanks all for sharing your experience and wisdom with me. I’m working on the assumption that this is neither unique nor stable, since first Jackie posted pics of her pink and then Simon posted pics of his burgundy. That said, I’m going to follow Paul’s advice and “give it a go” anyway. I have no dreams of commercial success with roses. I no longer have a lifetime (or the discipline) to devote to breeding the perfect rose. This is strictly a hobby for me. I’d just be delighted to come up with some nice roses I can point to and say to family or friends, “This rose is unique. I bred it or discovered it and named it after you.”

Thanks for the info on registering roses, Paul. Sometime down the road I may come up with a hybrid (or that once-in-a-lifetime sport) that I’d like to name and it’s nice to know I can do that without expense. And, no, I wouldn’t rush into anything. Gotta crawl before you run…right?