Thornless with big hips

Are there any roses with large hips that tend to pass on thornlessness? Thanks.

Hi Charles,

I’m not sure how large is large. ‘Basye’s Blueberry’ is somewhat large (larger than the thornless polyanthas). Probably among some of the largest hipped thornless roses are the modern thornless roses by Harvey Davidson. If I remember right ‘Smooth Velvet’ could set hips and is a large growing hybrid tea. I’m not sure how easily some of his other roses sets hips.

Legacy doesn’t have “large” hips in comparison to Winifred Coulter, Orangeade, a number of HTs and some species, but they are larger than many and Legacy removes prickles significantly better than Blueberry in my experience. Blueberry is more of a traditional garden plant than Legacy, but very few Blueberry seedlings have been without prickles in my experience. Most Legacy seedlings are either completely smooth or express significantly fewer prickles. Legacy hybrids are also tremendously healthier in my climate than Blueberry hybrids, even when crossed with the same roses. Kim

Thanks for the tips guys, I’m checking into them.

Hi Charles, just wondering, why the interest in the roses having large hips?

I’m imagining he’s thinking of fruit. You’d probably want larger hips to provide more flesh, hence potentially greater yield? Kim

Hi Jim, yes Kim is correct, it is related to an earlier post about edible hips. The idea is to make a thornless, salt tolerant plant with large hips that contain no internal itchy hairs, as a potential commercial crop for either lands damaged by saltwater intrusion or possibly plants salt tolerant enough that they can survive on the ocean if given something to float on.

I know R. rugosa is very salt tolerant and I was reading through the comments section of other species roses recently and remember reading about another species that was mentioned as being salt tolerant but for the life of me I can’t find that reference. If I come across it again I’ll post it Charles.



One of the founding members of our society used to tell us stories about Nearly Wild being flodded by salt water regularily, and uprooted by the ocean tides on a regular basis. He wrote a little about it in one of his articles for our newsletter. One is posted on our society’s website.



Thanks for the link Andy!

Perhaps you may want to consider thornless R. canina as well. I just got a plant from a friend this year and enjoy it. One advantage of Caninae section species is that they tend to be heavily self fruitful. Many of the roses grown for edible hip production in especially Europe are of section Caninae species (there are some cultivars of R. villosa for example). The thornless roses in section Cinnamomeae may be easier to breed with though because of balanced meiosis (section Carolinae is now thought of within Cinnam.) and would include species Basye used to generate his hybrids. There are other species too where thornless or low prickle individuals can be found including Rosa blanda. It sounds like a great project!! The thornless Synstylae section members (thornless multiflora, setigera, etc.) tend to have thin walled hips which dry more nicely for cut stem use, but probably aren’t what you are looking for regarding the edible market.

I’ll look around for a thornless Canina, I’d forgotten they existed, thank you. I ordered a Basye’s Blueberry, Basye’s Legacy, and a Moje Hammarberg-Rugosa with good comments about it’s fruit.

1)Basye x Rugosa, for a thornless Rugosa

2)Canina x Old Blush, for hairless hips

  1. 1 x 2, well that’s the plan anyway

Wow, this is great to see someone pursuing my dream of tasty, edible hips! I think I have too many irons in the fire to pursue it myself, but I look forward to hearing about your results, Charles. After you’ve made your initial crosses and maybe want to grow out a larger population of seedlings, I would be happy to grow them for you if you have limited space.

It takes time, but I’ll be glad to send you some seeds Joe since you are interested in the subject. I have a few acres, and a nearby ocean, so I’m ok on space. The land is sandy and unirrigated though, so they are going to have to be tough. Mother nature will do most of the culling work.

It sounds like you have the perfect place to breed some tough, salt tolerant roses. I’d be psyched to get some seed one of these years, and likewise if I make any progress I will send some seeds your direction. Good luck!


I don’t know how salt tolerant Alika is, but I collected some OP hips from it this year and they were pretty much hollow with few seeds or hairs in them. While it’s not thornless, it doesn’t have that many thorns either.

That’s a good point, having seedless hips would be ideal. I still need a lot of seedlings at this stage, but mixing in something that tends to make seedless hips would be a worthwhile late stage refinement.

I’d like the sepals to fall off cleanly also. A hip that is hairless, seedless, and sepalless could be rinsed and safely popped into the mouth. It would have to be reliably seedless though or people will break a tooth… Maybe there is a rose out there who’s achenes never harden, so even if an occasional seed is produced it can be safely eaten.


I had OP seeds from Bohemian Rapacity (thornless) and all the seedlings were thornless. I had very good germination.


It’s interesting the rose wasn’t cultivated like what people did with other members of the rose family like apples. What hips are the ones you see at euro-shops being sold as hip nectar and jam? villosa? My apple rose has big hips but they weren’t very soft, rugosa hips imo are much better for out of hand eating due to their often big size and soft thicker flesh.