Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another misidentified species hybrid?

Several years ago I purchased a group of R. omeiensis from Lawyer Nursery in Montana. Their description and title of the plant was somewhat vague but it led me to believe these might be a form of R. sericea ptericantha, with its wide, bright red wing-like thorns. As these made some new growth it became apparent that these were not what I had hoped, but some variation on R. sericea that, for the most part, had very few thorns and the ones it did have were usually greenish in hue and not very prominent. The thorns you see in the photo are rare on these plants, and only this dark pink one makes reddish thorns; the other only greyish green. I gave most of these away and discarded what remained.

However, two individuals stood out among the group as being quite distinct. Both of these had denser foliage with more rounded, larger leaflets that were quite downy when young. Blooms come in clusters of three to a dozen at the axils along the canes and are pink with a white eye. Take a look at the shape of the receptacles in the lower left photo: tubular and elongated! There is a light, pungent musk-like scent to the blooms. Both plants have bluish canes when young and neither has ever set seed to my knowledge. Both are about 8 feet tall now, upright but arching from the top third or so. Neither gets Blackspot or Mildew.

I suspect these roses were all seed grown and the two I saved are conspicuously hybrids with something else they were growing in the field. Do any of you recognize any of this rose's features? Does it remind you of any other species?


  1. Interesting. The thorns look similar to those on a cultivar of Sericea that I have see but it lacks bristles and, of course, it has too much pigmentation in the bloom.

    It is difficult to tell the size of the leaves and buds and the thickness of the thorns in this photo. Maybe you could put those in perspective with another shot?

  2. Don,
    If I take a few photos of the various plant parts with, say, a typical house key for scale, would that suffice? Or maybe a coin?

  3. ann in tennesseeJune 18, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    That prickle is distinctive. I'm not sure what it reminds me of, but the hairs on my arms rose in memory of damage done by similar sharp ones. And it's the narrowness as well as sharpness that is the memory.
    (I do have Pteragonis from Pickering and its so covered with fine bristly prickles in addition to the omiensis-like broad red prickles.)

  4. Paul, sure a key or coin works but your thumb would do fine and give you less lighting problems.

    I was just out looking at the foliage on my various omeiensis. The texture matches the appearance of your own, being somewhat rugose. My guess is you do indeed have an omeiensis hybrid on your hands. Pasteur was right - dans les champs de l'observation, le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares.

  5. Pasteur was a very clever man! I have learned that in this line of work, its very important to actually LOOK at the plants in front of you, because the subtlest of clues are easily missed if you aren't really examining the plant's behavior. The mind tends to make a cursory evaluation of the subject and quickly make assumptions. By doing so, we easily miss important details.

    I'll get some new photos sometime today, with any luck. Stay tuned.