Wichuraiana Variegata

Can anyone tell me anything about this rose?

Are there theories about what has caused the variegated foliage on this rose? I know it is not a virus. But, wow, what an unusual genetic trait!

Anyone tried using it in breeding?

Really, I’m just looking for any info on this one, as there is very little information out there on it. I’m quite intrigued by it.


Sometimes this sort of variegation is due to mutations in the chloroplast. Which means that to pass it on, the rose would have to be used as the seed parent. I do not know if Wichuraiana Variegata has mutant chloroplasts, but judging from the photo on HelpMeFind I would bet it does.



I suspect it is a chimera.

I googled chimera and variegated foliage and got the following link (which admittedly, I have not read yet) which looks to be a decent explanation.

Hope that helps.


Link: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/tisscult/chimeras/chimeralec/chimeras.html

I got it with the thought of using it for breeding. However, the flowers are TINY. I do mean microscopic. So collecting pollen…well, I didn’t think I could get enough to bother with.

However, hearing about the fridge storing method, I think it might be possible to save up a bunch so that you might actually have a chance to pollinate something that way. Whether or not it would be fertile, noooo idea. I’d not count on it being fertile as a seed parent though, I’ve never seen it set hips.

I hope it does a little better in terms of flowering this year, but I’m not overly hopeful. I’ll have to try maybe to get more plants and try them in different sports to figure out where it’s best to grow it (unlike other roses, I’ve read it prefers a degree of shade because of it’s ‘tenderness’ but either I have a black thumb (possible) or I just don’t have it in it’s best location yet.

Either way I think it’s something you’d have to be really quite experienced to do well with, unless you happen to have whatever conditions it naturally likes. I also think it’s a plant you need to pamper. For me it’s been slow growing and small. But, I am not very good at fussy plants. Vegetables and hearty flowers are more what I can manage.

Excuse me, I meant freezer above instead of fridge.

A thought. I dream for the day I could have a variegated leaf bush with red roses atop. However, I believe the Dept. of Agriculture is going to make that difficult due to virus identification. Doesn’t Conard Pyle have a garden full of variegated leaf plants?

That would be my dream too Wade. A big fat HT with flowers like Ingrid Bergman with large, glossy variegated leaves. It would even be nice if the plant carried through some shade tolerence that way w. v. does. Red roses tend to burn and fade a little in the sun anyway, so I think that would be an indredibly good specimen plant. You could put it back behind other roses or plants where it was a little shadier, and the light foliage would brighten up the spot and the red roses would look very dramatic.


But that was in the back of my mind when I bought the little variegata. But I think that’s waaaay beyond my ability to figure out how to do, and it would take years of patience even for an expert. I don’t even know if the little thing is fertile at all.

Liz, thanks for the genetic information.

Philip, very interesting. I had not even thought of plants possibly being chimeras. I’m not really sure what I thought when looking at all the variegated plants out there (of which I grow a lot…I love variegated foliage). I probably never thought about it much since I don’t breed any of those other plants…just roses! LOL Thanks for the link.

Amber, I had read that the blooms were small…but I sort of just glossed over that as small is not a big deal for me. However, microscopic is another story. LOL It does concern me a bit that it seems to be that fussy about where it is grown. Working with variegation is by no means a major goal for me. But, it might be interesting to work on it in the background for a few years and see if I can get anything. I am not the patient type at all, and yet…it might be good for me to work on something like this in the background(teach me more patience…LOL ).

Wade, very interesting point you bring up about discerning the difference between a virused rose and what might just be a variegated plant. I had not heard about CP’s variegated plants. But, it certainly would be interesting to hear more about that.

There are some variegated modern roses like ROSA VERSCHERN sold through Perennials – R-S

I have had variegated seedlings before and even have one on the plant stand now. These seedlings have not been very vigorous and eventually were rather weak and I discarded them or they died out on their own. The R. wichurana that is variegated sure seems rather stable. A friend got one years ago and I was surprised the plant was somewhat vigorous. The variegation in my seedlings and this wichurana seem to be due to a periclinal chimera to me. I don’t think the layers of the meristem in roses give rise to as distinct leaf regions as other plants such as spider plants and such, so the pattern is less uniform- kind of like big leaf hydrangea. Plants like spider plants are much more clear in their pattern. Depending which layer of the growing point is unable to generate or sustain chlorophyll either the outer edge or inner portion of the leaf is white.



Michelle, if you go into HelpMeFind and look under Curiosity and click on photos you will see one with a picture of a bud against my hand, which I did so you can see the size of the bud. Two things should be noted when looking at the picture, first, I have small hands, and secondly, the flower opened not long after I took the picture. So the bud didn’t get much bigger then what you see. The flower itself was a white single, and I recall it being not much bigger then the tip of my finger.

My exact thought when I saw it’s final size was, ‘you have GOT to be kidding me’. I was going to take a picture of it, but several days after it bloomed it rained and it was destroyed completely. And by then I was kind of done with my picture taking for the season. When it blooms again I’ll try to get a picture. I’m hoping that the maybe this year, with it being more settled in it will produce some larger blooms.