Stiff and soft moss

Can anyone explain to me the slight variation of characteristics between moss roses bearing very stiff prickly mossy buds such as ‘Goldmoss’ and soft moss such as ‘Dresden Doll’ and ‘Scarlet Moss’? I’m really fond of moss roses now, more then ever, and I’ve always wondered why the moss between each cultivar differed in texture.

Ralph Moore has explained on numerous occasions that he believes it is a quantitative expression of the genes for mossing. More instances of the genetics for mossing results in more, and softer mossing. Fewer instances of the genes means a lesser expression, resulting in harder, stiffer bristle-like mossing. We cannot be certain that this is true, but nobody has a better idea than Ralph, who has so much practical experience with the subject. Have you read the Miniature Moss Roses book? I believe he touches on this subject in the book.




Thanks Paul. That was a very intresting article, and I think I had read it before a long while back ago. I had always thought that the stiffness was more or less related to very glossy foilage, but then again Scarlet Moss is quite soft while its leaves are very glossy (gorgeous in my opinion).

Hi Enrique:

There certainly is much variation in mossiness in seedlings. Some just turn out extra thorny, while others are actually very soft. All of the seedlings below get their mossing from ‘Scarlet Moss’. They range from soft, intermediate, to sharp moss. For me, although ‘Scarlet Moss’ is fairly soft in it’s mossing, the hips are very pokey and prickly. The seedling on the left below has moss that stays soft even when old and on ripe hips. It’s flowers are not very appealing though!


Jim, I think that flower looks very nice. I also think you should not outweigh all of the good characteristics of this rose against how a flower looks. Is this a seedling of ‘Scarlet Moss’? I didn’t really get a chance to use it this year, but I will next year with ‘Heidi’, ‘Goldmoss’, ‘Dresden Doll’ and a few other mosses that I obtained this year.

If I did this right, this is a picture of a bud from a seedling out of the cross Litchkonigin Lucia x Baby Love. Neither of these are moss roses, but this seedling grows a small amount of moss on the peduncle below the bud. None of the other seedlings from this cross do this. The bud opens to a medium yellow 5-petaled bloom that fades as it ages. The bloom is about 4-5 inches across.

I’m not breeding moss roses at this time, so if anyone wants to try using this in a moss-rose breeding program, please let me know. As it gets older, it is beggining to set OP hips, so it might even make a seed-parent.

Hey–I did it! I actually got the picture to show!

Joan, I cannot see it. But please email me the pic, and I can upload it for you.

No Fair! I can’t see it either. I posted it on the rose gallery, so maybe this link will work.

Enrique–I’ll also email it to you. Thanks for the help.



Hi Enrique:

Yes, the seedling on the left above is a seedling of ‘Scarlet Moss’. The bloom as it opens lacks appeal because it only has 5 to 7 petals and they all reflex back severely, which to me is unattractive. But you are right that I shouldn’t let the poor flower form cause me to toss this one out. The pollen parent is ‘Pretty Lady’, which is supposed to have excellent blackspot resistance. In our climate, I cannot test for blackspot, but this seedling also has excellent powdery mildew resistance AND it sets hips. This winter, I will test the OP seeds for germination, and if they germinate well, will use it as a seed parent next year.

Joan, I am interested too in seeing the photo of your seedling.


Okay, here is Joan’s nice seedling. It is very intresting to see how mossy it is. I once had a ‘Geranium Red’ seedling that was sort of like that, but to a much lesser extent. The pollen parent was ‘Mme. Isaac Pereire’. Perhaps this moss-like stuff on it comes from ‘R. eglanteria’ via 'Cl


Hi I tried to email you about the other thread but it says your mailbox is full and cant deliver it to you. Mine is