Use of Rosa blanda/woodsii in breeding

I think that we should have a discussion on breeding with this clone. Over the years I have sent seeds of these roses from the wild Rosa woodsii and Rosa blanda from my selected clones. I live on the western border of Rosa woodsii and this rose fits my climate. Being able to tolerate great cold, it has a lovely Tim Burton like open shrub but it has its faults like being very prone to rust, it resists BS and mildew tho. Rosa blanda is taller and more floriferous but is not as hardy. It still has the weakness and advantages too.

Fifteen years ago I decided to work exclusively with diploids thus the choice in the previous. I started to breed them with Rosa rugosa mostly with Explorers. but I found that most did not produce a nice bud. Jens Munk as an example being stumpy. So I now work with mostly White Pavement and some of Martin Frobisher to produce nice droopy like Tea flowers that are long in bud. This flower is ((rosa rugosa alba x rosa woodsii) x Martin Frobisher) x (Rosa woodsii x White Pavement) the size and shape are good for a plant that is hardy to the tips in zone 2.

Did anyone get the seeds that I sent out when most were on garden web?

I got some Rosa woodsii seed from you and have selected out two very vigorous seedlings to work with, now a yr and a half old. Nice looking vigorous seedlings, so far no rust. I may have discarded a couple that did have a bit of rust show up, as this is one thing that I have a low tolerance for.

Wow! Tip hardy in Zone 2! Congratulations!

Thanks for posting this! It’s fun to see the results of someone who has been at it long enough to work with multiple generations of roses.

I’d be in the market for interesting or improved seeds in this direction if you ever send them out again. (OK coming to USA?)

I have five R. woodsii planted out. I ordered 25 or 50 from Lawyer Nursery and selected the five least thorny. Now they’re pushing six feet tall. I’m not sure what afflicts them, but they don’t seem particularly healthy later in the summer. It would be fun to compare plants from a line selected less randomly.

I have one R. blanda that I ordered from High Country Roses. I would only consider it to be fair in terms of vigor. Not thornless. Somewhat chlorotic. Again, there has to be better clones out there and it would be fun to compare.

I believe it’s now accepted by botanists that Rosa blanda is just a variation of Rosa woodsii, which is what I’ve believed for many years. There is a great variety of difference in the appearance of shrubs in Rosa woodsii populations, including the amount of prickles on their stems. It’s no accident why the so called Rosa blanda has the same ploidy (diploid) as Rosa woodsii.

Rosa woodsii, to date, has been the most successful when hybridizing with Rosa rugosa, and I think that work should continue. But it would be
interesting to cross this species with other diploid species, and then develop breeding programs from these species hybrids. For example, Rosa nitida x R. woodsii, using it with Rugosa cultivars to develop interesting shrub forms, having improved cold hardiness and more attractive (shinier) foliage.

In my new location (Rainy River, Ontario), I have Rosa nitida planted in between two different shrubs of Rosa woodsii, so I should be able to cross these two species next year.

For several years I’ve wanted to cross ‘Carlos Dawn’ (‘Hansa’ x Rosa woodsii) with Rosa wichurana to get a tougher ‘Max Graf’ type of rose that possibly could be used for further breeding. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it within the near future.

Paul, I love Rosa nitida also that I use through Metis. The problem is that I have never gotten many crosses to take. I have no experience with the pure species so I can’t comment and I only have 5-6 seedlings of Metis. I would rate Métis as one of my top 10 roses.
I know that many people lump woodsii /blanda together. At my farm the woodsii are uniform with the ones in Edmonton. The ones that I collected in Manitoba were distinctly different. I like the farm ones the best…
I hope that you are finding your new home nice and that you will have many years of breeding.

This is a test…I have a diploid species rose that I believe is R. blanda and I’d like everyone’s opinion. I’ve never uploaded photos and this is my first try. Here goes! The last photo is rather indistinct but is supposed to give you an idea of the size and shape. It is about 7 feet tall, upright, some prickles up to about 2 ft. from the ground, after that mostly thornless. Very hardy in zone 4. Suckering but not wildly so. Small single lilac-pink flowers with clove scent. I have used its pollen with Rugosas and gotten reduced thorns on the offspring. I’ve tried it with some other diploids this year and time will tell what we get from that. So, what is this rose?

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Is it tall because it grows in shade? I’ve seen multiflora here go 20 feet straight up under a canopy.

I can’t answer your question except to say that, while it’s always good to know the identity of a breeder, it’s almost academic. If you knew then you might be able to plan crosses in a slightly more informed fashion but the value in having it is the potential for health and vigor. Is it native to your environs or, at least, is it from seed from an established wild population? Is it disease resistant? It looks plenty vigorous given the shade it’s under.

Since it is cross compatible with rugosa you might want to try it against Magseed and Joyseed. Depending on how my plants do the rest of the season I might be able to send some pollen for use next year but you will need to remind me in the fall.

Thanks, Don! It was sent own-root from a nursery that (I found out later) was legendary for mislabelling. It was supposed to be R. acicularis ‘Aurora’ but it is not. My guess that it might be Blanda is based on the fact that it’s diploid (thanks, David Z.!) and the letter B comes after the letter A in the alphabet. If the nursery had their species lined up in alphabetical order, therefore, blanda would come after acicularis and it might have been mixed up that way. I don’t know whether it would grow shorter in full sun, but seems to do fine in partial shade. Very healthy! I am always impressed by any rose that can grow tall without winter injury here. I’d be glad to try some of the pollen you recommend–will try to remember to remind you. ;^)

My guess is that it probably is R.blanda since it is only prickly at the base of the stems. This is a common trait for R.blanda. The leaves in the picture look a little more pointed than the typical R.blanda around here where the end of the leaves tend to be more rounded. R.blanda doesn’t usually get 7’ tall in the wild but I had some that grew that tall or more after I moved them into my yard. R.blanda can sucker profusely, but that can differ in different individual plants. My thornless R.blanda doesn’t sucker as much as other R.blanda I’ve had.

I used four different pollens on Metis this year. It looks like some of the pollinations have taken on three of the four pollens whereas the forth have all aborted. I have hips from Schneezwerg, Catherine Guelda and one of my third year seedlings ((Showy Pavement x R.blanda) x (Marie Pavie x R.blanda)). I’ve also been putting Metis pollen on the third year seedling, but it’s still too early to tell if those have taken. I wanted to put pollen from a (Marie Pavie x Robin Hood) plant I have because it also has small shiny leaves, but it hadn’t started to bloom by the time Metis was finished blooming.

Just a heads up, Magseed pollen did not take on either Therese Bugnet or Showy Pavement when I tried it several years ago.

Magseed pollen did not take on either Therese Bugnet or Showy Pavement

That’s what makes this sport interesting.

To be fair I haven’t had much luck with either TB or SP as seed parents. After I did those crosses I was told that it is better to use TB as the pollen parent. And I haven’much luck using most Rugosas as the seed parent so it doesn’t surprise me that Magseed didn’t take on SP. If I were to do it again I have other plants (like Showy Pavement x R.blanda) I would put the Magseed pollen on besides those two.

A few things about Rosa woodsii.

  1. Rosa woodsii is quite tolerant of shade. It is often found growing in poplar bluffs on the Canadian Prairies, for example.

  2. It is often stated that Rosa woodsii and Rosa acicularis hybridize with each other. Yes, there is some overlap in bloom. But generally speaking this doesn’t happen readily, because the flowers self-pollinate easily. And there has to be very favourable conditions for seedlings to develop. For example, populations of both species growing near each other where the soil is exposed. In all my years of botanzing these two species on the Canadian Prairies (including its boreal forests) and in NW Ontario, I’ve never encountered small seedlings of either species.

  3. It should be remembered that ‘Therese Bugnet’, one of the greatest shrub roses ever developed for a cold climate (Zone 2), likely has Rosa woodsii in its pedigree, rather than Rosa acicularis as commonly stated. Georges Bugnet, the developer of this rose, didn’t know the native species growing in Alberta that well, and so he was likely mistaken about the identity of the native rose he used in his breeding program to develop this cultivar. If Rosa woodsii had been stated in the pedigree of this rose, perhaps it would have encouraged more development of roses using this species. It’s very good to see the work Johannes and Paul has done with it.

  4. Several years ago I discovered a very prickly rose growing in the Maple Creek, Saskatchewan cemetery (Maple Creek is located in the southwest part of the province, not too far from the Montana border). Initially, I thought because of its severe prickliness, it might have been a Rosa woodskii/R. arkansana hybrid. But later I determined it was a Rosa woodsii genotype. I think the severe prickliness of the shrub could be an adaptation to an ecosystem often having poor soils and extreme weather conditions.

  5. On the western outskirts of Rainy River, this spring I discovered a Rosa woodsii genotype having quite large elongated hips. The flowers are a lighter pink than usual. It’s possible this could be a Rosa woodsii/R. acicularis hybrid. I’m going to send it to David Z. for ploidy testing. I think it has potential to use with Rosa rugosa for a rose hip breeding program.

I have other plants…I would put the Magseed pollen on

We’re in the doldrums now but if we get a fall flush I’ll grab all the Magseed pollen I can and spread it around - it might not be much as the plant is still small. Remind me sometime after Thanksgiving which is when I generally head indoors and prepare to hibernate.

Will do Don.

I have made a slightly close cross to the one rugosa X (polyanthas x Rosa blanda) but reversed the order I crossed
(Fru Dagmar Hastrop X R. blanda) x Mothersday. Over a two year period I got 2 seedlings to survive one rebloomed unfortunately they got tall 2 m and the flowers were muddy, 6-7 petaled,the size of a penny and produced very sparingly. The worst was that they would not set hips and there was no anthers. johannes. I guess that just because i got seeds did not guarantee quality. I think that I may have pollenated and collected 200-300 hips.

Wow, that’s a lot of hips for just two seedlings. But you don’t know what you’re going to get with such wide crosses.

The first wide cross I made (Marie Pavie x R.blanda) I only had 9 seedlings and only 4 were definitely from the cross. Two of those had compatibilty issues with really weird leaves and growth so they were culled. The other two didn’t have growth issues but one was clearly sterile so that left just one, the one I still have.

I have tried several crosses similar to the one you made with my (Showy Pavement x R.blanda). In 2012 I put a mix of poly pollen on it and started out with 16 seedlings but by the time I planted them outside they were down to 5 because the rest died. I have three left but only 1 is for sure from the cross, the other two I’m not as sure. The first one bloomed this year but there were only one flower per stem and it hasn’t repeat. Now it’s getting black spot and losing leaves, but it has better hardiness than the poly parents. Last year I put (Marie Pavie x Robin Hood) pollen on (SPxRb) and I got lots of seeds and seedlings. So many of the seedlings died by the time I planted them out that there were only 6 left. Now those have gotten powdery mildew so bad that I’ll probably cull them all. So there won’t be any seedlings left from the 205 seeds I started with.

Also last year I also made a (SPxRb) x Cuthbert Grant cross and those are doing well. So well that I used three other triploid pollens on (SPxRb) this year, two have taken and one did not. So if you have any triploids that you can use that might be a better option.

Yes I am going the way of the triploid but I am using Adelaide Hoodless instead. Cuthbert Grant just is not hardy for me here.
I really like Showy Pavement but it fails on not being pure white. That is why I use White Pavement.

I am getting very excited about the multiflora crosses they seem to be taking. It appears that the problem with the polyanthas is not the multiflora but the chinensis parent. I spent many wasted days crossing Sanguinea with no results or I got 4seeds with Old Blush. But when I first time I smelled a multiflora I knew I was going to develope a line with this scent.