Striped genetics

Just wondering the percentage rate of striped offspring from a striped parent crossed with a solid colour rose?

Is the sucess rate higher if your use striped as a pollen parent or seed parent?

Also what about striped x striped?

Appreciate any information on it please. Ive had good success with over 800 seedlings this year and have some striped roses in the breeding of a few of them. But im liking the idea of focusing on stripes a bit but wasnt sure on the genetics of them etc


Rainbow (John Seivers, 1889), 'Rainbow' Rose


Hi Kelsie!

Congratulations on a great year with so many seedlings. I love stripes and wish I took better records. It seems like stripes are dominant. One needs to have at least one striped parent typically to get them. I’ve gotten them with the striped parent as either the mom or dad and doubt if it makes much difference since the genetics for it is likely in nuclear DNA versus the little bit of DNA inherited maternally in the chloroplasts and mitochondria.

It seems like the heritable striping in today’s key striped roses is due to a transposable element. Ralph Moore did great work bringing in heritable striping from ‘Ferdinand Pichard’ into his minis and then him and others to all the other classes of roses today. A transposable element is a piece of DNA that is within and in this case disrupting an anthocyanin gene (leads to anthocyanin pigment which is typically red, pink, or purple in color based on cellular conditions and specific variation of anthocyanin). In early petal development the piece of DNA is triggered to be removed from the gene (the transposable element is a “jumping gene”) in just some of the cells. After jumping/or not in some cells, cell division continues and then we can have whole regions of dark pigmented cells with the gene restored and then also areas where it didn’t jump and the color is white or generally lighter.

With most popular cultivated roses being polyploid (more than 2 sets of chromosomes) one may have some normal versions of an anthocyanin gene, some with an element disrupting the gene, etc. So, depending on normal versions of the anthocyanin gene, the tendency for when the jumping tends to happen, etc. all contribute to degrees of contrast for the striping and large and uniform the striping is. Carotenoids (leads to yellows and some oranges) are in a different part of the cell (they are fat soluble vs water soluble like anthocyanins) and can be thought of as being bred for separately, yet together both classes of pigments give the overall color effect. For instance, one can focus on richer yellow backgrounds for the stripes to be over or white or cream, etc.

Wishing you the best in your breeding.


Thank you so much!!! Such good information i really appreciate it!

Its my first year hybridising and so far its gone really well. I didn’t expect to have so many germinate lol

I still have more seedling popping up each day so expect ill get 1000 or so which is crazy considering i would have been thrilled with 10 …

Nearly all were hand pollinated (i have 75 roses in my garden so lots of choice) but alot were chosen just as a nice match rather than a lot of thought behind them as i never imagined it would all go this well i just wanted some to work so i used every bit of pollen i could. About 40% of the crosses i really planned though so vwry excited to see how it goes.

This spring/summer id like to do a little less and focus more on what id be keen to try for so this year it will be stripes along with trying for purples and russets etc

So would imagine its easier to get stripes over the red and pinks then it would over yellows?

I do have around 60 seedling so far that have a striped parent. I used these ones

Claude Monet
Cherry Blossom (Parade Day)
Harry Wheatcroft

So hoping with any luck a few might be striped. I just wanted to learn some more about the genetics side of things of bith syripes and the purples and russets before i fo my crosses un the coming months.

Ive learnt so much already especially about my own roses and which ones make great seed or pollen parents etc

Enjoying it!!

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David, thank you for this. I’m particularly interested now, because I conducted several crosses with Ferdinand Pichard this spring, and will shortly be harvesting the hips.

My question: does this transposable element adhere to normal heritability rules for recessive genes? Or is it something different?

This is interesting. David, are you aware of any heritable striping that can be traced ultimately to any rose other than Fernand Pichard? Poking around HelpMeFind, I haven’t been able to find any. Was this amazing attribute a single event, a one-off, or has this been found or induced in other roses?

Thank you for sharing your progress and early results! May I ask, what are your goals with hybridizing? You have a lot of seedlings, that’s impressive! What will you be looking for/what are you hoping for as they grow?

Thank you :slight_smile:

Honestly this year i just crossed lots in the hope some hips would grow lol i never dreamt it would all go so well!!!

With this lot of seedlings theres about 1/3 i wouldnt cross again or use the parents at all. I have them in my garden an enjoy them but not what i want to focus on as far as breeding goes. So these will be evaluated on form, health, colour and scent. Im sure ill keep lots to test out longer and hopefully some will make it into my own breeding programme at some stage. I do have things im personally hoping for too which might not be commercially viable but if love for my own garden.

Its spring here now so ill start my hybridising again over the next few months and will be very selective in my crosses. Focusing on stripes as well as purples and russets. But same criteria again. Health etc is priority.

I do like a very full petalled rose alot like the Austins so thats where ill be heading hopefully long term. I fo like hybrid teas etc but not where my heart is.


Great questions Minutifolia. I haven’t read of another path to heritable striping other than Ralph Moore’s great work with Ferdinand Pichard. Periodically there is a striped sport of a rose it seems on the market, but I don’t know why or if it has been heritable (virus?, a transposable element recently moved into a pigment gene, different factors in place that lead to jumping at the right time in flowers to see it as striping, etc.). It seems like Mr. Moore’s use of FP and finding routine striped seedlings over actually many generations now is great and a wonderful breakthrough. He sure pioneered a lot of great traits bringing them into the modern roses he loved (mossing, the Hulthemia blotch, oak leaved petals, minis in general, etc.).


This thread brings up a question I’ve always hungered for an answer to: do any of the striped “sports” like ‘Harry Wheatcroft’ breed stripes? Or do they breed as the parent-plant, in this case ‘Picadilly’? What of other colour-change mutations, as well; is a yellow “sport” more likely to throw yellow offspring? Does ‘Chicago Peace’ produce brighter offspring than its parent?

The closest I can come with an answer to your question, VanIsleDWSmith is something Ralph Moore said decades go. He had two beds of enormous Queen Elizabeth bushes. One was the white sport Dr. Lammerts created by exposing QE to gamma radiation. The other was traditional QE. I begged him for years to please sell the radiation induced white sport but as it was rather heavily infected with Mosaic Virus, he wouldn’t. He stated he had made crosses with both the radiation induced white sport and the traditional pink and there were no differences between the two in breeding. Both produced extremely similar offspring when mated with the same mates.

Whether a sport would breed differently from the original would depend upon how deeply the mutation went. Most are only “skin deep”, only affecting the depth responsible for outward appearances. When the mutation goes all the way to the sexual level, such as with New Dawn, it will breed differently from the original. New Dawn was a break through in that it actually bred repeat flowering Wichurana climbers where its sport parent did not.

Back in the mid to late 1990’s, I corresponded with Dr. Michael Dykstra who introduced several roses in the late 1990’s into 2001. He was breeding for stripes using striped sports of HT’s. I recommended he switch to using Mr. Moore’s striped minis. Dr. Dykstra introduced a few stripes, all bred from either McGredy’s Hurdy Gurdy (bred from Moore’s Stars’n’Stripes) or Stars’n’Stripes itself.


Thank you for that, Kim. That question has been rattling around inside my head as well. I have a Peace rose, that routinely sports approximately 75% white blooms. Does not seem to be dependent on environmental factors. It’s just random. I wondered what would happen if I tried breeding it, but it certainly sounds now like this is superficial, and wouldn’t breed true to the white color.

You’re welcome, Lee. A white Peace sounds interesting! Looking at the sports section of Peace on HMF, it shows there were two or three white mutations I wasn’t aware of. Of course you could always try raising seeds from both types of flowers to see if there are any great differences between the two.

I suppose that if I’d grown a white rose, and it sported to Peace, I’d be really excited. And possibly rich. But a white sport…meh. It is interesting on the science level, though.

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