Thornless wichurana,among others

[quote=Kim]Paul, have you considered playing with thornless Wichurana in hopes of eliminating the prickles? Has anyone raised anything from the Basye Thornless Wich.? I have it but haven’t used it yet. Too many other things get in the way. Kim


So I decided to check up on just how prickly (or not) all of the seedlings from Bayses thornless wichurana (which I recieved from Kim last spring ) are turning out. The cross that produced the most offspring were with a very low bristle count (it has maybe under ten thorns on the whole bush)seed parent which is Moondance X BStreisand, a very fragrant, disease free large medium pink. All of these offspring are not only thornless, but so far the rhachis (just looked up the spelling and realized I have been mispronouncing this word-pronounced ‘rey-kis’) is also prickle free. The only problem with Bayses’ thornless wich. is that the rhachis reach out and grab you, and don’t really want to let go. So this is a great improvement. I also found a seedling from Mme Maurin x r.wich., (an old tea). This one has thorns in about the same proportion as Mme Maurin and has not bloomed yet, but is a very pretty little seedling (3 mo old) with nice dark fine textured foliage. Several others do not have thorns but are pretty young (under 10 weeks) so I’ll be tracking them. I also used Bayses’ Legacy and Paul Bardons’ 36-06-05, for increasing thornlessness. These have also worked well, with only a few crosses not resulting in almost total thornlessness. The Bayses’ Legacy crosses have still retained their sharply bristled rhachis in all seedlings I checked.

Hi Jackie, how exciting for you!

Thanks for sharing the results you got so far.

Are you able to give the parentage of Paul B’s hybrid 36-06-05 here?

You can key in 36-06-05 on HMF to get the specifics, but if I remember correctly (whoops, I don’t) I do know that Kim’s Indian love Call figured in there along with Basyes’ Legacy. I do have a small number of good thornless things going . Next to start reintroducing them to each other.

I tried that Jackie, it said it was not recognised ?

Hi Jackie,

It sounds like you are making great progress! Congratulations! Are all of these blooming in the first year?

I still have to make some crosses this year with Bayses’ Thornless, Gina’s Rose and My Stars. I had a seedling of Gina’s Rose that was thornless but have been disappointed with it as a parent - none of the seedlings of it have been thornless.

David-So sorry, the number is 34-06-05. I do not use numbers because after more than 45 yrs with the same social security #, I still don’t always remember it. I am not much of a numbers person.

Thanks for the clarification, Jackie.

Paul B, that seems a fantastic thornless rose!


Many of these have bloomed, lots of purplish/lavender/blued pinks and deep reds in the Basyes Legacy and the 34-06-05 (sorry, used the wrong # up there) even one white and a peachy apricot. In the Wichurianas, about 30% have bloomed, and they have been mostly dble white and pink, with one peach that faded to white quickly. So far with the Basyes Legacy I have only gotten one pink, a single that mildewed, so it got sacked fast. I expected more. But there is still a group of them that are under 10 weeks (some are 4 weeks old) old, and then there is a small group that want to do the Jack in the Beanstalk thing. Nothing is more sad and pathetic than a 2 ft. tall rose that is developing a woody stem and it is still in a coffee cup, needing to be watered twice a day. I am thinking these are probably not going to bloom this yr, and will probably can them up for next yr., depending on the cross. But over all they have been very successfully smooth-although the Basyes legacy do have some wickedly bristly rhachis. Most have produced dble or semi dble flowers. If the seed parent was fragrant, the fragrance came through, sometimes better than the parent. The foliage is fairly distinctive, mostly shiny, and except for a little mildew (mostly on the 34-06-05 seedlings) they have been quite healthy. I have had an uncharacteristicly heavy outbreak of blackspot this yr, and only one of the Basyes has gotten a few spots, none of the wichurana offspring have.

To add to this… Kim sent over some OP (assuming BTW x BTW at this staged), seed from his Bayse’s Thornless wich (BTW) and I have one seedling… it is proving strong and healthy so far at this early stage in its life and so far it is smooth with no prickles under the rachis. It would appear that thornlessness is an inherited trait in BTW and what would be interesting, Jackie, is for you to take the crosses with thorns that are out of BTW and either self them, cross within the different sibling seedlings or go back to BTW. I reckon crossing between siblings might be the best option as it might bring repeat back out (if it’s not already there), and also demostrate how thornlessness is inherited… if it can be re-expressed in the next generation it may indicate a normal recessive trait.

It also goes without saying that anyone in Australia wanting cuttings of the thornless wich. can contact me and I’ll send them out as soon as it is large enough to take cuttings from.

You can see photos of BTW on Kim’s blog here: Pushing the Rose Envelope: Wichurana . You can follow progress of my BTW seedling on my blog here:

Don’t mean to threadjack but…

Natalie, Kim (or anyone else who might know), do you guys know how Dr Basye came up with this “Basye’s thornless wichurana (BTW)”?

Even if ya don’t actually know, any associated rose ficiton/mythology surrounding this one would be nice to hear about, as well!

I’ll have to go out back and take some pictures but I have something like 14 seedlings from OP hips Kim sent me last year of Basye’s Thornless Wichurana. Going off the top of my head I believe only about 3-4 are actually thornless, another 5-6 have a few thorns, and the rest are average to slightly above average in thorns. I’ll have to take an inventory to see what the exact numbers are.

The ability to inherit thornlessness intrigues me. Is it a recessive trait or dominate trait? Is a qualitative or quantitative? If I understood how it works I might be able to determine if these were BTW X BTW or BTW X Unknown (assuming the trait is recessive). Every other characteristic these seedlings have pretty much matches wichurana which suggests to me they might be selfs.

I don’t know if anyone has observed this, but another intriguing obeservation I have made regarding thornlessness seems to be temperature related. It has been very noticeable this year because Iowa, like everywhere else in the U.S.A., has had some pretty unique weather. The few weeks of 80 degree weather in March pushed a lot of roses to grow extremely fast. Most of this fast, fleshy growth was normal, but on many, the canes were completely thornless. When the weather cooled significantly with several nights of freezing temperatures, the growth slowed and the thorns returned. Two varieties were very interesting. My Senior Prom has a thick, fleshy cane that has about 6-8 inches with not a single thorn but it has about 4 inches on top of that full of thorns. Sweet Nothings has one thick cane that has not a single thorn on it but another cane that has the usual amount of thorns. Both canes are the same size and grew at the same time (I’ll see if I can post some pictures of these too). Some of the other varieties that were affected include Therese Bugnet (normally very thorny), Compassion, Hadley, and Morden Sunrise (there’s more but I can’t remember them at the moment). Senegal does this every year in late summer when the when temps are in the 80’s and 90’s. So I wonder, if a variety that normally has thorns throws up growth without thorns when the weather is favorable/unfavorable, does this mean there is a good chance it has the genes to pass on thornlessness or nearly thornlessness? So many questions…

Hmmm, just noticed that Therese Bugnet is listed as being nearly thornless on hmf. So is it normal for TB to be very thorny on many canes but completely thornless on others. I still think this thornless cane is weather related though as I only have the one new cane on TB that is thornless and the rest are full of small thorns. Maybe I’ll have to post another picture… Hopefully I won’t overload anything with all these pictures I’m promising to post.


My TB is also thorny on some canes and thornless on others.

My TB is thorny on the bottom of the canes but the tops are very smooth. I think on an earlier thread it was determined that thornlessness tended to be quantitative. I find other factors seem to play in; could it be epigenitics at play.

I had a bird dropped rose seedling grow, healthy as hell, and totally thornless except for one cane. After a few yeas it flowered and the flowers looked like an anemic Ballerina. It is a spring bloomer. The following year, the flowers were still whiteblushed pink but the petals were wider, touching, and the clusters were fuller. Getting ready to move, I pruned it way back, pruned the roots and planted it in a black pot. The canes are all thorny and I wonder if it will take several years of growth to revert to its smooth canes or maybe it won’t revert back.

Veilchenblau did a similar thing. A friend gave me two plants of it that had sprung from the remaining roots when he dug up the mother plant. I didn’t quite believe him since the canes were moderately thorny. I also took some cuttings from his smooth mother plant.

I later planted out the 2 thorny plants in the ground which continued to pump out canes with thorns though I noticed after about 2 years in the ground and with an increase in size, some of the new canes were smooth. Over time the plants were completely smooth like the mother. Was it due to stress that they had reverted. I know often, root cuttings will throw mutations as has been mentioned here on previous threads. But these reverted back.

Jackie, thanks for starting this thread and giving the info you have observed. I have reached the point that I won’t buy a new rose unless it is smooth or almost smooth. I have gotten so tired of cuts, infections, warts as a result of torn skin, and ripped clothes, and scratched eyeglasses!

Jim P

Jim P, have you tried to bud/graft any of the thornless ones and see if they remain thornless, just my thoughts this morning.

Grandmother’s Hat has done similarly for me. I had several in five gallon nursery cans out back waiting to be planted. Now, she’s coming back from the roots everywhere the cans sat. The adult plants had few to no prickles. Both of these suckers are definitely prickly.

[attachment 612 thornyghatsucker1.JPG]

[attachment 613 thornyghatsucker2.JPG]

Kim, or anyone that answers, is it in young wood this happens or only suckers/own root. The other thing could it come from previous generations

I’m wondering if it is a stress response. Prickles are definitely a climbing mechanism, but might also be a self defense response. The plant would register that something ate it, so might be responding by arming itself against grazing. I would imagine had it been due to cold or fire, other hormones might have been released/created stimulating a potentially different response?


I have wondered that too , if it was stress, or size or maturity. What made me so annoyed with the one that was at the base of a pole which I labelled “bird gift” was so healthy and smooth that I had thought of using it in breeding since it was a stiff 5 foot shrub. The only improvement it needed was better flowers and repeat flowering . Again, don’t epigenetics turn genes on and off depending on stresses, environmental changes, plant maturity? I believe epigenetics is a fairly new field.

David, I have never grafted nor budded so I don’t know whether that would affect the degree of thorniness but we all know that weak roses are grafted to increase vigor and in fruit trees the root stock can induce dwarfing. I have a beautiful hybrid tea which was mislabelled so I don’t know what it’s name is but cuttings have eventually died so this will be a future endeavor to use some of my thornless multiflora which I have rooting.

Jim P

Back in 2007, David Zlesak posted a brief list of character inheretance patterns, including prickles, and I think it is worth reposting them all:

"Here is a partial list of the primary inheritance(s) of some of the key traits. It isn’t always as simple as what is listed, so that is why I say primary. Hope it is helpful.


Qualitative Dominant

Black spot resistance

Double Flowers

Glossy Foliage

Male sterility

Miniature stature



Powdery Mildew resistance

Qualitative recessive

Repeat bloom


Blackspot resistance

Double flowers (degree of doubleness)

Flower color- flavanoids and carotenoids

Flowering under low irradiance

Juvenile Period

Male fertility

Prickles (degree of prickles)

Winter hardiness

Flower yield "

In it he mentions that prickles appears to be a dominant trait that is quantitaively expressed. On HMF there is an article that explores the viability of pollen in species roses (here: Cross- and self-compatibility in various species of the genus Rosa … of particular note is the plants referenced tab at the top of the page) which also covers the % of selfed to cross pollinated ‘takes’. Rosa wichurana is reported as follows:

(2001) Page(s) 393.

R. wichurana > Crép. Ploidy 2x

Pollen fertility 98.3%

Selfed Fruit set 0%

I also have Rosa wichurana growing here, quite some distance from other roses, and can’t say that I have ever seen an open pollinated hip on either of my three plants. If BTW behaves like R. wichurara (Crépin) then might we assume that any hips Kim has seen on his BTW, and seedlings we have from it, are almost certainly the result of crosses and not selfs?