Yellows in Pimpinellifoliae

Conventional wisdom has it that the double persian yellow rose, used to introduce the intense yellows into modern lines, introduced extreme Blackspot susceptibility. My assumption is that other yellows in this group, such as R. ecae would introduce the same Achilles heel, but I’m not sure – I do not grow any roses in that group.

My understanding is that R. ecae was known in the west for some time before anyone hybridized with the persian rose, yet ecae was never really used in breeding.

While I obviously have no intention of reinventing the wheel to get a yellow modern in the course of the next century, I was wondering if anyone knew anything of R. ecae or Canary Bird or Golden Chersonese and the susceptibility of their offspring. I find the arching form of many of these roses attractive, and the odor of R. primula is also quite interesting. I could potentially see some interesting landscape shrubs derived from them.

That said, this is probably more a question of academic curiosity than one of any practical application.

Does anyone have any experience with these roses?


I’ve only used Rosa xanthina (akin to ‘Canary Bird’) and have two hybrids:

Rosa rugosa X xanthina - Not very susceptible to the big three (blackspot, mildew, rust)

Rosa glauca X xanthina - Not particularly susceptible either, but an extremely slow-growing little runt (has never bloomed - 10 years old probably)

I think Joan Monteith has had some Golden Chersonese hybrids. I don’t think she ever mentioned that they were particularly susceptible to blackspot.


Im still trying Rosa primula. It seems picky and very hard to use as a seed parent (it selfs almost immediately which makes it impossble to even try to pollinate it). I think Im going to try it on the Yellow Ribbons rose I just bought since the other dwarf yellows like Baby Love and Rabble Rouser are horrible seed parents…

I have (had) a number of hybrids with Golden Chersonese. I can


Joan, I know you had been pursuing that route a few years back, but I’ve been out of the loop for a while. (Katrina has given me reason to look for distractions, hence my renewed presence on the forums! My hometown, New Orleans is a disaster, and I’m very cynical about its future.)

Is GC relatively fertile? I had a R. xanthina spontanea plant (pre-Katrina) which never really did that well for me, and seemed relatively sterile. Its flowers were paler than I would have expected, and the fragrant foliage made me wonder if it in fact was a R. primula. It did Blackspot, but shed its diseased leaves very quickly.

Tom, I assume your seedlings weren’t yellow, were they? My impression is that those seed parents generally tend not to allow for such, but I have no real experience along that line. Does anyone know if there are species roses which are generally more charitable towards the yellow phenotype?

And changing the subject slightly (along that sterility tangent…) I used to have a link to a ploidy list of rose species and species hybrids which I have lost. Can anybody provide such?


Philip, probably you’re looking for the first or the second of the following links, but you might find the others interesting too.


And I just remembered another link for triploids. We all owe a big “thank you” to Karl King for his wonderful collection of rose resources.


Phillip, Rosa primula is unmistakable with it’s paper-thin triangual prickles and ferny foliage that smells like evergreens. It has never blackspooted for me in this blackspot intense climate. However, that doesnt always mean anything. In fact, I find it to be extremely healthy and a great landscape addition for the healthy and ornamental foliage alone.

Thank you Peter! Those links are helpful. And probably even more extensive than the one I was remembering!

I am, however, also interested in ploidy of other species particularly of the sections Synstylae and Pimpinellifoliae. I didn’t find that info in the above, and don’t know if I have actually seen it before, or if I am imagining such. (The second link on species appears to cover only those in the section Cinnamomae.) I suppose I could try a google search for ploidy and rose group and see if any papers come up.

Jadae, my impression is that many of the roses in the section are quite similar in description. The rose I had did have the thin flat thorns, ferny foliage (I don’t recall how many leaflets, but they were many) and aromatic foliage as well as mahagony colored new stems. It really resented pruning and any trimmed stems typically died to the ground.

Interesting article on breeding roses from Hulthemia persica by Jack Harkness in the bulbnrose site. Harkness seems to think that, in addition to the interesting characteristics of flower pattern and shrub form and foliage, etc, the persicas offer a good source for a deeper richer yellow. He does have some interesting hybrids. I had read about Tigris and Euphrates before, but is interesting reading about earlier attempts.


Philip wrote,

“I assume your seedlings weren’t yellow, were they? My impression is that those seed parents generally tend not to allow for such, but I have no real experience along that line. Does anyone know if there are species roses which are generally more charitable towards the yellow phenotype?”

Actually, the rugosa X xanthina is a pale yellow - almost as yellow as xanthina itself. As you’d probably expect, it has not been fertile for me at all yet. The xanthina must contribute gene(s) that inhibit the pink pigment of the rugosa because there is no pink (except for very rarely a trace on the outside of a bud). I’ll include a link below for you to see what it looks like.

If glauca X xanthina ever blooms I’ll let you know what color it is.



Tom, that’s pretty neat. (It seems I do recall another telling me of their rugosa x yellow species giving a yellow offspring a couple of years back which had surprised me. Perhaps that was you?)

So if the little bugger won’t set hips, what are the odds of it having a pollen grain or two that might be fertile?


I was thinking just like you, two seasons ago, and pollinated the rugosa parent with all the pollen I could, of the hybrid (rugosa X xanthina). The hybrid only makes a small amount of pollen and I have no idea of its viability, but I did get seeds to form. Unfortunately, seed-eating insects got into those hips and most of the seeds ended up being hollow with a hole bored in each one. I was hoping that at least a few seeds would germinate and maybe would show some signs of xanthina ancestry (most hoped for of all, the yellow flower color). But, I didn’t get any germinations and haven’t tried a repeat attempt yet. Maybe I’ll get a chance this coming season.


I have a Rosa blanda X Gol. Cher. hybrid. I am hoping that it will flower this year. looks more like Blanda but with bigger prickles. No Disease!

My take on the Foetida-Blackspot connection is that the species is summer dormant. The leaves aren’t built for long-term survival. They are produced with enough nutrients (protein, etc.) to last a few months. But when the species is crossed with a non-summer-dormant relative, the hybrids usually don’t go dormant, and the leaves run out of supplies before the end of the growing season – leaving them very susceptible to infection.

The white (or non-red) trait in roses is commonly dominant dominant when it belongs to a species. ‘White Surprise’ came from a cross of Rosa bracteata and R. rugosa rubra. ‘Purezza’ came from R. banksiae lutescens and ‘Tom Thumb’. ‘Lamarque’ from ‘Park’s Yellow’ and ‘Blush Noisette’.

The loss of yellow in crosses usually results in an increase fragrance as the carotein is degraded and oxidized into perfumes.

i did Rugosa (typica)x Aicha and got 4 seedlings. The foliage is inbetween though rather elongated i’d say. The stems quite prickly with that rugosa hairy prickle. 2 of the flowers were much like r. pimp : cream white, pleasing in their own cream, single way. 1 was very like fimbriata or the grootendorsts (this one is defunct), and one a firecracker red/orange single (sort of like r. paulii in shape) with a more yellow center. Hips thought briefly about developing on one of the r. pimp types, but aborted. And at first i seemed to get nothing as far as pollen went. Or rather there were stamens to gather, but they seemed to give no pollen. Then i tried gathering stamens from all of the seedlings still extant, put them together in a mortar and pulverized them with a pestle. This i used on Lilian Austin, and i seem to have wound up w/ 2 small hips. i’m not necessarily expecting much, if anything, from germination, but it might work. i had originally not planned to say anything about this until i either did or didn’t get something, but i realize i learn a lot from the forum on peoples experiments that don’t work, as well as the ones that do, and figured others probably do the same. Best, joe

Sorry about that lack of clarity in that previous message, it was during a verrrry long week. What i meant to say was that one of the Rugosa X Aicha crosses had these very large anthers that i thought must contain pollen, but they seemed almost to have a hard coating on them. So i tried crushing these with a mortar and pestle and did indeed get pollen which i used on Lilian Austin. (2 hips, maybe 25 seeds).

Also, i’d like to clarify that i meant that i feel the beauty of this forum is that everyone puts their ideas out there, and we all learn at a greatly accelerated rate due to the sharing of our trials, both “successful” and not. Though i have come to have the feeling that while we may not get the desired result always, the exeriments. the what ifs, are the best part of it all. Best, joe wright

Agreed Joe! (about sharing of theories and experiences, etc.)

And about your rugosa X Aicha seedlings… I’m thinking that… when there is a high percentage of aborted pollen, the anthers may not be able to dehisce/open properly. In this case, the relatively few, perfectly good pollen grains trapped inside wouldn’t stand a chance of getting to a stigma without a little help – from your crushing.

Good luck with those 25 seeds. Tom

Aha, this is really good to know. i may have to rethink some breeding strategies to see if this will work with others too. Thanks so much Tom.