Thursday, June 4, 2009

Basye's Amphidiploid

Many years ago someone sent me a few open pollinated seeds from Dr. Robert Basye's 'Basye's Amphidiploid', from which I obtained three seedlings. Two are large Spring-blooming shrubs with terrific vigor and complete immunity to disease. (the larger of these two is pictured above) The third is a short plant to 24" tall and blooms on and off all through the growing season. It too is immune to disease, but is a rather runty plant that lacks vigor. I have used their pollen occaionally on a few things here and there but rarely with any concentrated effort. This year I am making a bigger effort, since they probably have the ability to further the goal of disease proof roses of the future. I am assuming these seedlings are tetraploids and so I am using L83 and 'Basye's Blueberry' on them. When my 'Commander Gillette' blooms in a week or so, I will use its pollen as well.

What follows is a bit long, but well worth the read, in my opinion. Dr. Basye specifically mentioned 'Commander Gillette' in reference to working with the Amphidiploid with the goal of Blackspot immunity in mind. The following is a quote from an article written by Dr. Basye in the 1980's.

"May I outline just one plan of attack which I would consider if I were that young rose breeder? I would consider starting with a nucleus of three tetraploids: 'Commander Gillette, and the two amphidiploids, 67-305 and R. kordesii. These three stud roses carry genes of the four species carolina, rugosa, abyssinica and wichuraiana, all of which are highly resistant to Blackspot. And 'Commander Gillette' has the potential of removing the thorns."

"We would begin by crossing the two amphidiploids and growing a population of F1 seedlings. We would expect no great variation here in Blackspot resistance, but if there should be, let us select the best ones for selfing. In each of the resulting F2 generations of selfs we have a segregation of characters and thus a better chance of variation in Blackspot resistance. Again we select from each F2 the plants with the highest resistance. Let A designate this final group of plants of highest resistance. We would hope that their resistance equals or excels that of the two amphidiploids. In any case, we now have plants that carry genes of rugosa, abyssinica and wichuraiana. "

"It remains to introduce the fourth species, R. carolina, and take the first step in the thorn problem. 'Commander Gillette' is ideally equipped for this. I mentioned in a 1985 article that the cross 67-305 X 'Commander Gillette' produced a rose, 77-361, which was free of thorns and bristles and had perfectly smooth midribs of the leaves. Recently, I repeated this cross and confirmed this possibility. But before making the cross Ai X 'Commander Gillette', where Ai denotes a member of the group A, we first make a cosmetic change in 'Commander Gillette'."

" 'Commander Gillette' itself is free of thorns and bristles and has smooth midribs. Among the selfs, however, the bristles will often appear; also a rare thorn or a slight roughness on the midribs. Those recessives are easily bred out by several successive selfings. The criterion for success in such a self is that one further selfing produces a population completely free of the undesirables. One reason I have not done this before in my other breeding work is that it can lead to the loss of other recessives that are desirable. For example, 'Commander Gillette' contains a latent gene for recurrency which might be lost. I nevertheless recommend the cosmetic change for the labor saving dividends it will pay down the road - not a small item."

"We return now to the crosses of the type Ai X 'Commander Gillette' where Ai denotes a member of the group A, and 'Commander Gillette' has been subjected to the cosmetic change described. A small percentage of the seedlings of this cross should be free of thorns, bristles and roughness on the midribs. Several successive selfings of each of these should produce one or more plants homozygous with respect to each of the three traits. We repeat this routine for each member of group A. All the roses so obtained form a group B. Our final group G comes from selecting from B the plants with outstanding resistance to Blackspot."

"To further reduce the labor of the operation just described, it might be best to use the reverse crosses, 'Commander Gillette' X Ai, and mix the pollens of Ai."

"Of the group G we can that each rose it it has high resistance to Blackspot, is homozygous with respect to freedom from thorns, bristles and roughness of the midribs, and, last but not least, carries genes of four of nature's noblest roses."

Since it appears that my F2 seedlings from the Amphidiploid already have superior resistance (immunity?) to Blackspot. I am going to go ahead and pollinate all three with L83, rather than R. kordesii, since L83 is essentially a derivitive from R. kordesii with superior disease resistance and improved Winter hardiness. While this does not follow the Basye plan exactly, it does employ some of the same materials. As I say, when 'Commander Gilette' blooms in another week or so, I will include it in the crosses I make, bearing in mind Dr. Basye's outline for obtaining a superior race of disease resistant roses. If I can obtain germplasm that is capable of furthering the goal of Blackspot immunity in roses, I will be more than pleased. Its well past time we had a group of roses that could be grown without "life support" and which have better architecture and Winter hardiness, making them better shrubs for integration into a garden landscape.

Final note: I will make pollen of my Amphidiploid F2 seedlings available to anyone (in North America) who wants to experiment with them.


  1. "Its well past time we had a group of roses that could be grown without "life support" and which have better architecture and winter hardiness, making them better shrubs for integration into garden landscapes."

    This statement is so true. I think a large part of the down turn in popularity of roses comes down to this. And some of the best disease resistance comes on the ugliest plants like knockout.

    I am currently working on this same goal, but in a different way. I am working on breeding a better mauve rose. At least the modern mauves I know of are horrible plants. So may plain is to cross these mauves with hardier disease resistant roses. Then I am going to select the better seedlings on terms of hardiness, disease resistance and plant form. I think coloring does not need to be a criteria for selection in the first generation because I plain to cross these seedlings to each other and I think some mauves should reappear. I expect at least for the first generation I will get a lot of junk because the mauves are mostly junk in my opinion and at least the mauves will receive some much needed outcrossing.

    For this goal I am using the L83 from you, some of Henry's R15 crosses, Cuthbert Grant, and what ever else I can get my hands on.

    This is one of my three programs I am working on.

    So Paul do you think this is a good plain?

  2. I'm curious what mauves you plan on using in breeding. Hybrid Teas, or ?? Not too much I can say until I know what cultivars you have your eye on. I just hope that 'Angel Farce' isn't one of them. That rose has so many flaws that must be overcome, and I think it would throw more obstacles in your way than you really need.

    Have you considered any of LeGrice's mauves bred from R. californica? I think these may have what you need. Although I think 'Lilac Charm' leaves a lot to be desired as a shrub, it has a lot to offer as a breeder. I would also HIGHLY recommend Kim Rupert's 'Carlin's Rhythm' for breeding disease free mauves. It is from 'Lilac Charm' and 'Basye's Legacy', so it has good genes from both sides.

  3. I love Dr. Basye's work and I have been searching for his amphidiploid for what seems like an eternity.

    Paul, did you get your Commander Gillette from Mr. Moore. I am just curious to see if we have the same plant. Mine is in bloom right now. It is a monster even in my zone 5. No dieback or disease ever and it is eight feet tall and getting bigger at three years old.

    I have been planning the Basye's Legacy/L83 cross. I am going to put your L83 pollen on it in the morning. I've got the flowers all picked out for tomorrow morning so I can get to them quickly because they self-pollinate so fast.

    By the way Paul, my plant of L83 is really doing well now. It is putting on some good new growth finally.

  4. Mike,
    I will attempt to root pieces of my three amphidiploids this Summer. And yes, my plant of 'Commander Gillette' came from Sequoia Nursery several years ago. Its a fine rose by any standard. Good luck on the Gillette/l83 cross! Glad to hear your L83 is finally taking hold.

  5. I am afraid angel face is one of the mauves I picked out. The other ones are not much better. They include sterling silver which is a weak grower and get powdery mildew; two problems angel face also gets. Passion which is more of a mauve blend I do not know much about it yet but the plant hasn't impressed me so far. These were selected more because they where good female parents supposidly.

    I also got winter magic. I read nothing about it being a good parent but I thought I would try it. I wish I would have read your blog on midnight blue last year.

    I am going to try out the this year but they don't give me much hope. That is why I was crossing Wild Blue Yonder and Ebb Tide to Rise 'n' Shine I thought that it could be back up just in case. Maybe I could get a better plant with at least mauve genes in it. I also had pollen from Rasberry Punch and Lavender Sunblest I was planning to use on Peace for the same thing. I was planning to use Peace for two reasons (1) it produces vigorous plants according to what I read (2) it seems like most modern mauves come out of Peace so maybe the genes are their, but it has been used so much it might be just because it is Peace.

    I will definetly have to look at these roses. But getting any of them will have to wait until next year. Soon the heat will be u here and anything that not established will suffer. Does any of these set seed that germinates?

  6. After looking up these two plants on help me find I remeber being interested in Carlin's Rhythm but I ruled it out because I could not find a source for it. I do not remeber Lilac Charm but since it is in the parentage of Carlin's Rythm I must have at least looked at it. Do you know a source for Carlin's Rhythm?

  7. Wu,
    Carlin's Rhythm:

    'Ebb Tide' will make an excellent parent, FAR, FAR better than 'Angel Farce' so I'd emphasized 'Ebb Tide' if you have it. Loads of fertile seed that germinates readily. It makes beautiful mauves and some deep purples as well.

  8. Any of the roses in the ancestory of 'Ebb Tides' would be good. Roses such as 'Violette' and 'Sweet Chariot' have a lovely deep purple and both a very healthy with the added benefit of striking easily from cuttings.'Rhapsody in Blue' would be a better start than 'Angel Face' I reckon...