thornless rugosa hybrid!

Roses never cease to amaze me! One of my ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Gold Coin’ seedlings is coming along quite nicely (no flowers yet as expected - I only kept two of the batch - the other one has got one more season to grow before it is mulch too), and on checking it today I noticed it is thornless! It has a few little hairs that look like they want to be rugosa-type thorns but these are very soft and they mostly fall off. They are only on the older stems (which end up smooth anyway). The plant is a miniature with disease resistance far better than ‘Gold Coin’ but not as good as ‘Scabrosa’. The leaves are not rugose at all that I can see. This is the only ‘Scabrosa’ x miniature that has produced anything of good form so far and the last thing I was expecting was a thornless rugosa hybrid! I’ve only kept 5 ‘Scabrosa’ x miniature seedlings from ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Gold Coin’, ‘Magic Carrousel’, and ‘Black Jade’. I got no hips from ‘Scabrosa’ this year. Animals ate the lot :frowning:

Congratulations. Surprises are what make it fun.

Wonderful, Simon! Ralph Moore had a greenish white thornless rugosa/mini out of Cal Poly. It sported to a yellow. I have friends here who still have them.

Next season I intend to put rugosa ‘alba’ onto ‘Popcorn’ (and vice versa) to see what this turns up too… had a few ‘Scabrosa’ x ‘Rise n Shine’ and ‘Cricket’ hips forming this year… unfortunately the local possum population decided they needed them more than I did. ‘Cricket’ has turned out to be such a good rose for breeding this year. It makes plenty of pollen that seems to work on most things, and has set hips quite easily itself and is a nice healthy little plant here.

So Simon how difficult were these crosses to make? Did you have to do a lot of crosses to get them to take?

Sounds great Simon!

Kim, I’ll have to check, but I think that I still have a yellow thornless rugosa from Mr. Moore’s breeding, but I think that it is more “shrub” sized rather than mini. Have you seen it?

Jim Sproul

Hi Jim,

What is that yellow thornless rugosa called? I would like to get it. I have one of Mr. Moore’s very thorny yellow rugosas, Topas Jewel.

Daniel Pennell

I think that my tag said, “Yellow Thornless Rugosa”. I got it a few years ago as cuttings from Mr. Moore. He had warned me that it was difficult to root, but it ended up rooting just fine.

Jim Sproul

That rose must never have been registered or sold anywhere. I searched the web and could not find anything by that name. Could you please root a couple for me? I could pay you for them and shipping if you want. It may be that you are the only one in the world that has this special rose. I do not think that A&M will ever sell or have a nursery sell any of Mr. Moore’s roses that they have.

I have a few seedlings this year that are thornless so far. They are from Kashmir X Gina’s Rose.


Some roses grow thorns on old wood. My Therese Bugnet carries thorns on the oldest part of the plant. The one- or two-year old canes of the upper part are still thornfree.

I have a seedling of R. calocarpa that was thornless for the first two years. Then it started to grow bristles on its basal area, however this bristles are not strong enough to hurt human skin.


Daniel, I have some others of Mr. Moore’s roses that were never released that I am trying to get permission from TAMU to use in breeding and to share with others. I will track it down and see if it is still alive! It’s in a small 5 inch pot. ‘Gina’s Rose’ has been great for me. I really like that rose.

Ulrike, it seems that many of the “thornless” roses do produce thorns on the lower part of their canes and on new growth after the canes are cut back hard during the regular growing season. Seems like a defensive characteristic to me that would be minimally effective in the nearly thornless types, but might be more effective in thornier ones.

Jim Sproul

Jim, if I’m remembering correctly, what you are speaking of was a Cal Poly seedling. The original was greenish white. It sported to yellow. When Jim Delahanty and I went to Sequoia a few weeks ago to meet Carolyn, it was still alive and blooming in the row behind Grandmother’s Hat, across the greenhouse from the huge stand of 12-59-10, the William Lobb X Pinocchio that is taller than the greenhouse it stands beside. Sharon VanEnoo still has it growing in her garden. I saw it there last month and am able to get cuttings, IF I want to drive to Torrance from the Valley. She also has a rugosa seedling which stains very deep, bright red on the petal outsides, but opens pure white. It is well scented. An old friend offered Ralph the name, “Fire’n Spice” for it.

The crosses were dead easy… I’ve not been doing many repititions of each cross, trying instead for maximum variety. Only a few flowers of each cross were done because I was really just playing at the time.

I sent an email to TAMU and (I can’t remember his name) said that they were looking for a nursery to propogate and sell Mr. Moore’s roses that they have. I do not think that they are looking very hard.

I hope that my seedling stays thornless. I have a hard time getting Gina’s rose seeds to germinate. Out of all the seeds from it I had only 2 grow so far. I think the one that I had from last year was eaten by something during the winter. It was a semidouble that looked like Gina’s Rose.

Here is a picture of the Kashmir X Gina’s Rose.


Daniel, that’s a very nice seedling, with nice smooth appearing stems - congratulations! I’ve been using ‘Gina’s Rose’ as a pollen parent. It works very well that way.

Simon, it is fun to see what works and then hit the more productive crosses harder the next year. Some crosses are like a gold mine, while others are full of duds!

Kim, I just cannot remember the parents of the seedling that I am talking about, though it might be the one that you mentioned. Do you recall Mr. Moore talking about it being difficult to propagate?

Jim Sproul

If I were TAMU I would certainly look harder. They can start making money with out much effort once they find a nursery. Since they are not their plants after they find a nursery they probably will just sit back and collect royalties. I do not see them doing other things that others like Austin’s company does like make sure royalties are paid rite and no one else is propagating it. Hell at one point I read that JP even where telling others how to market their roses after they left the fold.

Nice seedling Daniel. I like the darker patches on the already bright color. Looks kind of moody.

Jim, I don’t remember Ralph commenting on that Cal Poly/rugosa being difficult to propagate. He just didn’t think it would be commercial, and I agree. It would only be interesting for breeding and messing around with. As far as TAMU collecting royalties on anything, there really isn’t anything they inherited worth patenting. None of them would pay for the cost of the patent. There ARE some interesting roses, but primarily to US, not to the commercial market. Fresh Pink could be sold for landscaping IF someone put some effort into it, but they couldn’t patent it. As far as I know, there are just a handful of outstanding Sequoia patents, and his daughter is collecting the royalty pittance that dribbles in.

You can bet that IF we see any of his roses on the market here, they will be at the big box stores, mislabeled as they always are and as the ones Greenheart dumped were. My local Home Depot had several pallets of Sequoia minis in gallons for $7 each. Helmut Schmidt is NOT a yellow mini.

There were four different colored Jewel Box plants, and one of them was a Hybrid Tea.

His Hulthemias are not worth patenting. They are too “rustic” yet to be commercial. They are tremendously interesting and very collectable…by collectors, but TAMU could never expect to recoup the cost of patenting any of them. His Rugosa and Bracteata hybrids are the same. The best of the bunch is Out of the Night. It could be grown with English Roses and hold its own.

I don’t mean to disparage Ralph nor his work, but he marched to a drummer who didn’t care about mass market products. The few he created, he patented and collected what there was to collect, but nothing in the past decade was deemed worthy of paying to patent.

If TAMU can obtain and police a gentleman’s agreement with the producing nurseries, they may collect something, but I seriously doubt they will ever make up the money they were promised and never received.

Kim by what you said it makes more sense why they are not on the ball with things. I just thought there was something worth patenting that even with understaffed and under funded ag departments it would be good for them o make a little effort. With what you say hopefully some one there falls in love with his work and they do what they can just for the passion of it. Otherwise we all I think know what could happen to it. It would be sad if in the future it becomes like Basyle’s, or some of the exceptional work from Canadian hybridizers. Even the US ag department did some interesting work way back in the day not as interesting as in Canada but anyway this work is mostly lost.

That is a drum beat I strive to follow too… it is a drum beat with foresight and Mr Moore would have been fully aware of the lack of ‘finish’ in these hybrids but would also be aware that breeders in the future would help to bring out the diamond from the rough… that’s how I want to be too. It’s just a shame that there are others with more capitalistic views who don’t share this foresight and are only in it for the quick buck. I’ve been thinking about this a bit too… I think what I’m going to do with my own breeding is pursue things which fascinate me and along the way if I produce anything worth while I will register it, as I have just done (note to Australian hybridisers… you don’t register through ICRA… you need to go through Laurie Newman here in Australia who then submitts the details to ICRA and adds it the Australian Rose Registry. You need to apply for your breeder code through ICRA but that’s the last contact you have with them. The rational behind this is that we are looking after Australian rose interests and maintaining our own detailed records of new registration so that the Australian heritage roses of the future are better documented) and then propagate it and sell it myself from my own property. I have the space (but not the time or the money at the moment) to propagate large numbers of roses and maybe supply specifically chosen nurseries… just so I can make a little extra to help pay for the whole thing. If I could almost break even I would be happy and in the process if I could distribute my roses to others who would also want to use them then that too would make me happy. With these miniature rugosa hybrids I know full well that they aren’t worth propagating yet (and I know this without having seen any of the flowers yet), except maybe to ensure they don’t fall foul of misfortune, but they might be a good stepping stone for me, someone else, or future generations picking up the baton. And the best thing is that I get to learn from people like you guys to feed that quest for knowledge that drives me. I think the gentlemen’s agreement sits better with me too instead of the cut-throat world of patenting. I think it will be up to collectors to propagate Mr Moore’s roses to sell/trade/gift to ensure they aren’t lost. Maybe people here with extensive collections could begin propagating them for limited sale/trade/gift to kick start the process then at least wew know we have the labels right.

Hmm – I think My Stars could have been (or maybe still could be) a commercial success – same as KnockOut and for all the same reasons – if TAMU or someone else had been on the ball with it.