Under-used species with great potential...

Ok. I’m just fishing here. But following some other threads, I thought I might just solicit opinions on such…

I had mentioned some Synstylae, including R. brunonii, setigera, and helena in the thread on Long John Silver, and was wondering what others felt would be intriguing routes to explore…

I’ve also often wondered about yellow non-foetida species such as harrisons, and xanthina…

There are obvious difficulties to introducing some species such as the Caninae… It might be worth acknowledging the known obstacles in using your “species with potential”…

Rosa primula. Rosa virginia. Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’. Rosa Roxburgii normalis. These are the unusual species I am playing with. There are others I would love to decades down the road but this is what I have room and time for. I am mainly mixing them with Baby Love, Belle Epoque, Daybreaker and Pretty Lady for now.

I dont plan anything specific from any of these species. I think that they have a lot of horticultural merit and would like them mixed in with modern roses for usage. Some of these have been mixed in but not very well in my opnion. For example, the older moyesii hybrids are “less than” in terms of quality when compared to their species parent. The only main goal would be to improve them in some way and get them to a size managable in modern gardens. For example, Rosa primula is a top notch horticultural specimen but it is far too large for a modern garden and it does not rebloom.

One of the aspects I was particulary curious about would be which species might show promise in offering disease-resistant progeny. Obviously, R. wichuriana is a proven one, but there are many under-used species which might also offer potential. (My curiosity about other Synstylae evolved from looking into roses related to R.w.)

I had in the past wondered about R. palustris since it reportedly tolerates some adverse situations, but assumed it might take many generations to yeild plants with good attributes. I have since read (on another thread) that the double form may, in itself, repeat. Dunno how likely one would be to get a repeating F1 out of it…

Rosa virginiana might.

I agree that R. palustris tolerates some adverse conditions and can transmit disease resistance. Kathy Zuzek has some very nice descendants that have performed well. She had a field that would get pretty wet in the spring and these descendants survived, while other backgrounds couldn’t tolerate it very well and died. The descendants also performed well in her regular, drier fields. I like R. virginiana as well and as mentioned on the forum in the past as a species it seems to allow the carotenoid pigments to come through more easily to F1 and beyond progeny when crossed with yellow/gold parents. I still like R. laxa (the Cinnamomeae section one) used so extensively by Skinner, Buck, and others. The original clone all these people used if I understand right was brought back by Neils Hansen (South Dakota, breeder of Lillian Gibson and other hardy roses). The clone is at the MN Landscape arb. It has some fall bloom pretty reliably. In crosses with other roses, including R. virginiana, some hybrids tend to have consistent fall bloom as well. I think that the “repeat” out of R. laxa is not the same mechanism or gene per say probably as the major repeat bloom gene described for standard garden roses, but it is sure nice and I think useful. It seems like it is somewhat dominant. I have a yellow mini x (R. virg x R. laxa) hybrid with apricot colored flowers that is great and has consistent late summer bloom. It also is very very hardy too and realizes when winter is coming and sets strong terminal buds and hardens off nicely for winter. I raised op seeds of the male parent of it and out of the seedlings all had the fall rebloom, but one had it stronger than the others and also happened to be the most disease resistant one of the group. I hope to use that clone now more in the future as a male on modern warm colored roses.



Well, Henry K’s thread on R. setigera in Canada makes R.s. seem a tad less promising…

I confess, David, that the only Cinnamomeae I have much familiarity with is Rugosa. (How plebiean of me…) I know that Kim Rupert a few years back had mentioned the potential he felt that R. fedtshenkoana had. (I believe it has subsequently been discovered to be a parent of the Autumn Damasks through DNA analysis.) The few species I have any familiarity with from this section all sucker.

Thanks to you both for reminding me of the R. virginiana hybrids. I found photos of ‘Jim Lounsbery’ on Rogersrose.com. I didn’t realize the recurrent potential – helpmefind seemed less positive about this.

I’d love to see photos of your seedling.

Jadae, I’ve wondered about R. primula as well. I had a Rosa xanthina spontanea plant which seemed to fit the description of R. p. much better. It never set any hips, and expired during the Katrina evacuation. (I was fortunate to be in the 20% of the city that didn’t flood, but no fresh water or access for over a month nonetheless did in many unestablished plants.)

Moyesii has always caught my eye in photos. Probably not a good candidate for my climate though.

Link: www.rogersroses.com/gallery/default~gid~14.asp

It sets blackish hips. Almost always self. I couldnt pollenate it if I tried because the pollen is very fine and spreads before it even opens.

Rosa moyesii definitely should be used more in breeding programs. Mature shrubs (they are tall) of this species are spectacular when in full bloom. I don’t know why they haven’t been considered more (have they ever?) for breeding Climbers because they should be. The ‘Geranium’ cultivar, since it is cold hardy to Zone 3 has potential to add red colour in a shrub rose breeding program. For example, it might be the solution to develop truly red Rugosas cold hardy to Zone 3. This year I began such a project by making a few ‘Hansa’ x ‘Geranium’ crosses.

I like (what I believe are) the closely related species Rosa beggeriana, Rosa fedtschenkoana and Rosa laxa for their grey-green foliage and white flowers that can be painted any colour. These species are tough, disease resistant and have been used successfully in breeding programs in a limited way. However, I think to maximize their effectiveness they should be first hybridized with other species. Preferably with North American species that could produce interesting combinations that could be used to develop new types of roses (I note that David has had some success doing this). Having said the above, this year I crossed Rosa laxa with Rosa spinosissima altaica. But I did so because I think it is an ideal combination to develop Climbers cold hardy to Zone 3.

I was examining a shrub of Rosa pendulina a few days ago at the Devonian Botanic Garden, and I realized I have to use this species more. It’s not developing roses with thornless canes I’m interested in. Rather, it is another of the relatively few species cold hardy to Zone 3 and therefore should be experimented with. I also like the upright form of the shrub and the reddish colour of the canes.

Rosa palustris, I like the vigour of the root sytem. I keep thinking this would be a valuable trait to incorporate in shrub roses.

Rosa glauca remains an underused species. The reddish foliage colour of this species has tremedous potential to develop roses that provide contrasting foliage colour in the landscape, combined with flowers of many shades of pink and possibily red colour.

While there are several underused species, I think it’s good to keep in mind that developing species hybrids is the most valuable thing an amateur rose breeder can do. This is the route to develop new types of roses that can be grown successfully in a wide variety of climates and geographical areas.

Rosa moyesii fargasomething is used by Horner in the UK.

Ah, I found it. I remember it being in other hyrbids as well.

Link: www.helpmefind.com/rose/pl.php?n=5358&tab=21&lstTyp=256

I’ve had primula and my problem with it is the very short time between bloom and hip drop. The hips must be very tasty as the local rodents leave the ground hip free. It is magnificent and because it blooms earliest in my part of the world, it has made five weeks of dense blooms. Later blooming once bloomers don’t have that long a bloom cycle. And my mature plant did manage scattered fall rebloom.

A lot of rose growers hate thrips with passion for the damage done to white blooms. The petals on R. spinosissima and R. spinosissima altaica are in our garden surrounded by hay fields (Hay fields= thrip valhalla) yet the blooms on the spins don’t have the damage (but they do have thrips).

I would add to your list R. moschata which is both long blooming and has fragrances in offspring.

Does anybody have any information about Rosa rubus or ‘blackberry rose’? Flora Linnea in Sweden sells this species, and they mention that it is a large climber with white, strongly scented flowers. Something for a breeder of hardy ramblers?

Yeah, I have to freeze R. primula pollen to use it.

I love R. primula too. Wow, it’s beautiful. I have a few crosses of the rugosa ‘Apart’ x R. primula. They have never flowered and are 5 or 6 years old. They are about knee high and have petite foliage like R. primula. I would love to coax them to flower to see what the flowers would look like. I also had a seedling of Rise N Shine x R. primula. It looked very unusual and like it could be a hybrid. It repeat bloomed and was tetraploid. It had very large and abnormal pollen for a 4x plant too. Maybe it is a hybrid and there was some strange chromosome alterations??? Have others been successful crossing R. primula with modern roses?



I can tell you that this winter when I plant my Belle Epoque x R. primula seeds. The seeds seem healthy and large. Theyre still in the fridge.

R. moschata abysinnica seems to be an interesting rose. While I haven’t gotten anything from it (yet)-- I have used its decendents. Bayse’s 77-361, Kim’s Lynnie, my Qeen Elizabeth X 77-361, and my Abe Darby X Basye’s Amphidiploid.

I think my last seedling will be something special because not only is it disease resistant, but roots in water and has an especially strong and delicious musk rose fragrance.

I also have two seedlings of Pacific Serenade X 77-361 and they’re interesting so far. No fragrance, but one has spectacular autumn foilage and the other has foilage like leather.

I tried to pollinate my rooted abysinnica with the single petal lady banks rose, my possible swamp rose, and R. foliolosa.

Nothing took.

I think this maybe because I may have been too rough in removing the petals. I’m trying to repeat Bayse’s original cross with a rugosa rose if possible.

Do you have tweezers? I use those combined with those miniature sewing scissors.

Paul, I have a quick hypothetical question… I don’t grow either, so I don’t even know if the bloom times are even close to one another, but do you suppose that a cross of glauca and moyesii would be feasible? I suppose it would be a monster of a plant, but for some reason the image of the potential offspring is quite attractive in my mind’s eye…

OK, it might not have the most graceful form nor florirerous displays, if in fact it were to bloom at all, but still…

Jukka, I know nothing about R. rubus except that it is also a Synstyllae, and I believe (researching it now) it had been considered a sub-species of Moschata at one point. What do you hear of it? Is it reportedly superior to other roses in the group in any particular trait?

I’d use Rosa rubus but probably not glauca (personal preference).

Rosa rubus would be good for a repeat blooming, white. floribunda-like climber.

I learned about Rosa rubus at the website of the Swedish rose nursery Flora Linnea.


Flora of China was about the only other website where I could find any information about this species.


What caught my attention was that according to Flora Linnea R. rubus is very hardy, the zone recommendation (Swedish and Finnish zones are totally different from the USDA zones, by the way) is about the same as for the Canadian Explorer roses. This would mean it’s hardy in southern and central Finland, while Rosa multiflora, for example, is barely hardy in southern Finland.

They mention that it grows to 6 meters in height and the single white flowers have “a wonderful fragrance of summer berries”.

I’m a bit doubtful about the hardiness, I’ll have to contact the nursery and ask how much experience they actually have about this species.