Tender Touch Line

Does anyone know anything about this line of roses? I saw some at Lowes and they were completely thornless. Would love to know the parentage for these. Thanks.


Well, when I saw Captain Thomas, I didn’t see thorns except on the newest leaves. And they were sparse. And Golden Showers also has sparse amount of thorns. Perhaps it would be interesting to cross Captain Thomas to its decedents.

Or maybe not.

I think it’s a very pretty rose with beautiful growth.

Robert, thanks for the links and the right name for this line. From what I saw at the links there are several that are attractive. Is anyone using these in breeding or have any experience with these…hardiness, disease resistance, etc? Although none were in bloom when I saw them I was very impressed with the thornlessness.

Greetings Rob Byrnes:

Happy to help, but I am just a born again beginner. Have you tried plugging any of the names into the forum search engine? That is the first place to start. I have a mini climber I got from Moore called Irene Marie that is thornless, disease resistant, blooms a lot and is prettier than its picture and flowers are a nice size, large for a mini. I am not deadheading it and it looks like it is going to set seed easily, but it is still a little early to tell if the hips will take – only problem is Moore’s Sequoia Nursery just closed but I am expecting an announcement on their web site in June that may provide a source for some if not all of his roses. Also if you ask the forum members for info by individual names of roses it may facilitate their responses.

Regards, Bob

It amazes me that Little Darling through probably Captain Thomas carries the genes that allow thornlessness to segregate in progeny. They are carriers, although not thornless themselves. It’s neat to see thornlessness pop up in especially miniatures descended from LD. I once even had a thornless seedling of LD x William Baffin! I remember when I first started breeding roses my primary mentor, Elton Strack, loved his ‘Royal Flush’ rose and wanted to use it to breed more thornless roses. RF is thornless, except now and then a strong cane will express some thorns. There is some disruption in the expression of what is botanically called prickles to develop in these roses. Prickles are extensions from the epidermis and not true thorns (roses don’t have true thorns, but we just call them thorns). So, sometimes under some growth parameters the sensitivity to the expression of prickles is disrupted and these otherwise thornless roses can produce some.

Harvey Davidson sure is amazing with his passion for thornless roses and the great progress he has made with them over the years with his Smooth series (I guess Tender Touch series now).

The Texas group led by Dr. David Byrne published on the inheritance of prickles from crosses with the thornless rose ‘Basye’s Blueberry’. It appears that stem prickles and prickles under the leaf rachis are inherited independantly, at least in that germplasm.

I wish I had more resources and time for rose breeding. I think it would be great to cross hardier thornless roses like BB and B Legacy with some of Harvey’s roses to try to get hardier thornless roses for the northern landscape. Ralph Moore has some Basye’s Legacy offspring like My Stars which should hopefully have some good hardiness to them.



I saw those roses at Lowes also and was thinking of getting Smooth Angel (light pink)until I checked the most recent ARS Manual which Marily edited and it mentioned that it did not set hips. Another one of his was listed as not setting hips also so keep that in mind. Do like those thornless roses; tired of the scratches and cuts.


David, it is interesting how nearly thornless seedlings can show up even when the parents have moderate thorniness. I have a hulthemia seedling that seems completely thornless (lacks prickles on both stems and rachis). I wouldn’t have expected that! The blotch is not impressive, but because it is a repeat bloomer, I have kept it just for its thornlessness.

For the fun of it, I made lots of crosses between Bayse’s Thornless and ‘Scarlet Moss’ both ways a few years back. I wish that I had kept specific numbers, but did find a full range of expression in the seedlings from nearly thornless to fairly mossed/prickled.

Jim P, I would still consider using ‘Smooth Angel’ if you liked the plant/bloom as a pollen parent. I have tended to focus on the seed parents more than the pollen parents, but it is amazing how many more seeds that you can get by spreading around the pollen to many varieties than what you might get in a single seed parent plant.

Jim Sproul