Unusual Foliage?

Maybe this foliage is typical of a particular species variety-- what I know about species roses could fit on the head of a pin with room left over.

I’ve got a seedling that has leaves that remind me slightly of parsley. They are fringed and kind of curly. It’s hard to capture in pictures, but I’ve done my best. I’m curious to hear what you think.


What part of the world do your roses grow in?

The midwest of the U.S.

Whatever… I like it!

I think I see a mottle pattern in/on the leaves in the second photo.

Mosaic is the word to describe when leaves are discolored (whether with a sharp or diffuse margin between the colors) due to pathogens.

Your leaves have a really strange edge pattern, the mottling is there, and I think the leaflets are asymmetric as well.

Some of these sypmtoms can be caused by phytoplasmas.

In Empress Josephine’s day, this sort of thing was collectable.

You might want to keep this one away from your other plants.

Ann, I see what you are talking about, but this is a brand new seedling, probably sprouted in sterile media. The very first set of leaves had the pattern, so it seems to me to be unlikely it’s anything it “caught.” You probably know more about such than I do though…

Regardless, I’m liking the thing. Alicia, what’s its parentage, out of curiosity? (I mean, I gotta ask…)

Can you post a new picture in a week or two when it blooms?



Yes, I’ll post an update on it and, I’m sorry, but the parentage on this one is unknown. Just figures!

Ann, thank you for your information. Philip, I was wondering about the fact that it’s a seedling, too. I guess I’ll just have to keep an eye on it.


A virus can be transmitted from parent to seed to seedling resulting in an infected plantlet. I don’t believe pollen transmits viruses to seedlings.

I do like the ‘parsley’ foliage, though. I think unusual foliage is delightful… if it’s not viral. I have a variegated leafed ‘Verschuren’ in my collection.

Even if it is viral, provided it doesn’t affect the vigor of a plant, it’s not necessarily a horrid thing, is it? Most all of the variegated tulips I am aware of are caused by virus. I rather doubt that the seed parent had the same foliage, to say the least, and it is intriguing that this seedling, even if it is of pathogenic origin, has responded with such an unusual and consistent leaf form.

Jeffrey, is it universally accepted that viruses are transmitted from seed parents to seeds? I have seen numerous arguments to the contrary.

Regardless, I think it’s pretty cool, and I want to see if the flower petal is similarly disected. If it were pathogenic, I should wonder how many other cultivars could develop the disected leaves if infected. I’ve never seen such.

I had just started a thread on unusual foliage a week or so before Alicia had to one-up me with her own thread on a real-world example!


Alicia, do show that flower down the road!



Very cool. The mosaic patterning on that lower leaf does look viral, which is unfortunant. Philip, I would say it is pretty universally accepted that plant viruses can be transmitted from parent to seed – squash mosiac virus, for example, is very commonly transmitted via seed. Transmission of a virus to seed is, as I understand it, usually the exception rather than the rule, but by no means unheard of.

But, viral or not, this foliage is really neat. Maybe it will turn out to be stable and not effect the vigor. Isn’t there, after all, some speculation that the striped flowers of Rosa Mundi etc was origionally caused by a virus?


Rose Mosaic virus is a catch all term for a number of viruses that have been found to infect roses. The link below gives a list of these and modes of transmission:


Please keep in mind that at least one of the common types, PNRSV, is a temperature sensitive virus and so in hot summer weather will be found mainly in the roots.

Well, I’m bummed that this seedling could be infected with a virus but I’m hanging on to it anyway, at least until it blooms. I’ll post a picture of the bloom whenever it produces one.

How far away should I plan on keeping it from my other roses? My guess is that I don’t have it at a great enough distance.


If it were mine, I’d keep it in a totally separate pot, and I’d try to keep leafhoppers and beetles away from it as well as thrips.

I hesitate to suggest some of the Bayer systemic insecticides because I don’t know anything about them, but I’d like to use something that would assure that anything that nibbled on the rose leaf would be only half way through its last meal before dieing.

No relation to R. stellata?