Success with R. virginiana and R. kordesii as parents

I am considering using R. virginiana and R. kordesii to breed disease tolerance back into Minis and Floribundas (All Tetraploids). How do these two species perform as seed and pollen parents? Anyone have experience with these species?

R. kordesii is a very good pollen parent. It’s fertile as a hip parent, but I have a feeling that it may fertilize itself early.

A friend is raising what seems to be an excellent seedling of Livin’ Easy x R. kordesii (few of them actually).

I will be crossing R. kordesii with Living Easy once more, along with Golden Angel, Baby Love, and other roses. It seems to me that kordesii has been mostly concentrated with spinissomas, laxa, and other cold hardy parents (which isn’t bad).

It’s just that kordesii hybridization with floribundas, hybrid teas, minis, etc. haven’t been made, with the exception of Kordes’ early breeding.

R. virginiana works much better for me as a male than a female parent. Out of years of trying the most successful crosses I’ve had with R. virginina as a female is with a couple other tetraploid species or early generation species hybrids. As a male though, I have generated hybrids with it and modern roses more easily.



I havent seen Rosa virginiana yet. What is the interest with this species? It seems similar to Rosa californica (a native in my area that Im familiar with) in nature concerning that they are tetraploid, pink-toned, similar size and from the Cinnamonea section.

Is there something unique about it? I really like californica because of the neat foliage (grey-green tint and soft plush in texture), low thorn count, non-twigginess and silvery tiny to the bloom color. The disease resistance seems to range from average to above average. What is virginiana like?

My R. virginiana is very winter hardy even in zone 3. I also believe it’s from the Carolinae section. I think it’s a unique single pink species because, although pink, contributes favorably to favaonoid pigments in its offspring. In crosses with yellows and apricots it tends to produce more warm colored first generation offspring than other pink species. Perhaps it has minor genes for flavanoids that aren’t being expressed in an obvious way and combine favorably with modern roses. Mine at least is pretty disease resistant. Dr. Leo Dionne mentioned finding some thornless selections in the wild as well. I read that it has been overlooked to some degree for winter hardiness breeding because where it’s native to there are other species that may seem more phenotypically pleasing to work with. I have a wonderful apricot climber that has R. virginiana as a paternal grandmother. The hybrid is very cane hardy in zone 4 although it has a tender yellow mini as a direct female parent. Dr. Roger Mitchell, Kathy Zuzek as well as other RHA members are using R. virginina. I look forward to the results of our efforts in the years ahead.



In addition to what David said, I think Rosa Virginiana has two traits that would benefit rosedom. First of all, it has the best fall color of any rose I have seen (brilliant red). Second, at least some forms of it have extreme tolerance to salt. I have seen it growing right along the shore next to Rosa Rugosa.


Joyce Fleming has used R. Virginiana, unfortunately in the past, everytime I have tried to purchase one of her R. Virginia crosses, the plant was “out of stock”.

A Google search with her name in brackets and the word roses will yield additional information (to that given in the link below).


Thank you for the replies. Its nice to get some definition contrasted that cant be found in a book directly. I used Cinnamonae because that is what the septet formulae reads but I do note an asterik explaining that there is not enough differentiation for the Carolinae section.

I have a quick question. During my younger years, I spent a lot of time on and around railroad tracks in north-west iowa (Spencer and Okaboji area) and remember the wild roses quite well. They could always be found along the rail roads in the ditches. What is the most probable rose I was coming across, would it have been r. virginiana? They were always fairly short, in the 2 - 3 feet range with finer needlish thorns. Similar to the ‘Nearly Wild’ rose.

Just curious.

I’d guess R. arkansana or R. suffulta or R. carolina, just going by the location. The height could probably go for any of them. R. carolina has a slightly larger flower (maybe 2"+) and is more likely to have solitary blossoms, while the other 2 tend to clusters and have smaller blossoms (maybe 1.5"). If you ever saw them blooming in the fall in a field or area that had been plowed or scraped, chances are best for the R. suffulta.

Stephen, I would agree with Peter. It was probably not Virginiana. R. Virginiana is found more often in the Northeast and is much taller than what you specified (5-6 ft). I would guess the rose you saw was Carolina or Arkansana or some combination thereof.

Here is a good link about roses in Iowa.

Joyce Fleming has been having some computer problems and asked me to post the following information in response to Darin’s post:

I have 2 hybrids using R. virginiana as pollen parent. One, ‘Charlotte Marie’ is a very pristine pink and white cultivar which seems to be lost. I have contacted a number of purchasers of Hortico roses and have not yet located it. Single, it is very disease resistant and hardy in Can. zone 6a - 7b. Parentage:‘Marchenland’ x R. virginiana.

The second hybrid, ‘Jim Lounsbery’ has proven to be an exceptional rose, being an F1 generation that is a remontant and disease resistant rose. Fragrant. There is a chance that this rose is really an F2 generation plant, as the pollen was collected at the edge of a wooded area in CT and looked like R. virginiana, but some cultivated roses some 1,000 feet away could have pollinated R. virginiana and produced a plant virtually identical to a true R. virginiana.

Another good breeding possibility is ‘Breeding Line 83’ - a complex hybrid usually classed as a Kordesii hybrid. Parentage:

(R. rugosa Thunb. x R.wichuriana Crep ) = ‘Max Graf’

(‘Max Graf’ x ‘Max Graf’) =‘G12’

(‘G12’ x ‘G12’) =‘G49’

(‘G49’ x R. kordesii Wulff) = ‘L 83’

Breeding Line 83 is 6 feet tall, hardy and healthy, but not remontant. It is fertile, and presumably originated from unreduced gametes of the diploid ‘Max Graf’. As you can see, 'G12’is a full sister of R. kordesii since they originate from another cross of the same parents which makes ‘L83’ something like an inbred grand-niece of R. kordesii. Released by Agriculture Canada in 1988.

Rosa suffulta (arkansana) also grows along the rails in north eastern Kansas. I once found a fine assortment of shades – from the usual pink to red – growing by the tracks about midway between Hoyt and Holton, KS. In case anyone in the area wants to look for them.

I also found a small colony with white flowers growing beside a gravel road a mile east of the I-70. It was a killer-hot summer, though, so there were no hips to collect. I haven’t been in the area for more than 20 years, but maybe the plants are still there.


Thanks for the info. One of the reasons I asked was I swore I saw a rose along the railrode last summer that I thought had a lot more petals than usual. I could be totally wrong though. My father is involved with an excursion railroad in NW Iowa ( that I get to ride on every so often. I was riding in the last car last year watching the ditches and could have swore that I saw this interesting rose. I will be going back to check it out this spring. We were going pretty slow but my eyes could have been wrong. Most likely were. It would have been in the middle of the county side between Silver Lake Iowa and Spirit Lake Iowa.

My father loves railroads and he and I often walked the railroads in NW Iowa looking for date nails. I always saw roses and thought they were wonderful. I even brought one home but it didnt survive.

Railroads in the midwest have such an interesting collection of flowers in the spring.