Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Something I saw while looking at R. virginiana

I was emasculating a few of the early blooms on my R. virginiana this morning and was taking note of the glandular buds and their shape and arrangement on the stems. Then it occurred to me, I have seen this somewhere else before. I picked a leaf and a bud and took it over to where 'Banshee' is located and compared the two roses. The photo above illustrates the remarkable similarity of the two roses both in foliage and the character of the flower buds. I wonder if there's any connection? There has been a lot of speculation about the origin of 'Banshee', with some references suggesting it was originally found in the prairies of Canada. Just something to ponder. I thought some of you might find the similarities between the two interesting.

Oh, and in case you are interested in R. virginiana as a breeder, its a tetraploid.

Someone asked in the comments whether 'Banshee' ever sets seed. This photo depicts seven seeds I found in one hip on my plant of 'Banshee', from last Summer. I have no idea if these would be fertile or not. (Click on the thumbnail for a larger view)


  1. Good Morning Paul. I have been reading your blog all spring. I feel like I know you and certainly would like to. Therefore I felt I should sign up. I found you through Rogue Valley Roses. I LOVE all your roses and I am buying two! I'm on the waitlist for 2 Treasure Trails as well. I love chatting with Janet through email. She thinks very highly of you, Paul. I gardened in Phoenix for years. Recently I have moved to Hauser Idaho to help care for Mother. Gardening/rose growing is an entire new game. That said, I'm learning more about own root and also Old Roses. Your work is fantastic and I so enjoy reading about your plans etc. Nice to meet you Paul. Continued success! Regards, Rod Wright

  2. Has anyone ever even counted Banshee's chromosomes? I've wondered about it for a very long time. I rustled mine from a cemetery eons ago, and it never once set a hip. My only remnant at this point is holding its own in the shadow of a monstrous Rugosa alba plena. Contrary to all expectation, it actually set a few hips a couple seasons ago. Since then, I've wondered if it was stray Rugosa pollen, or just some freakish cosmic event. Is Banshee known to set hips on occasion?

  3. delcavallo,
    'Banshee's ploidy is not known. Perhaps I should arrange to get a count done!

    It does occasionally set seed. Case in point: I went to look over my plant this morning and found one of the hips from last year had a few seeds in it. (See photo in original post) You can have these if you wish. They are probably in deep dormancy and won't germinate till next Spring if they germinate at all, but who knows.

  4. Welcome to Blogspot, Rod! And thanks for your kind comments :-)

  5. Thanks - I'll skip this go-round, but will take a rain check. At the moment, I'm a bit of an armchair hybridizer. I did it once, years ago, and produced an absolute monster. It was a nameless Rugosa crossed onto R. suffulta. The result was Rugosa flowers on suffulta footstalks - they drooped straight down. Adding insult to injury, they smelled like linseed oil. I haven't made myself the time to dive back into it, but I will one day, and I'll begin by just getting my seed sprouting techniques down. If you have any lying around in 5 years or so, I'll probably take you up on it! :)

  6. Paul, I reckon you should send those seeds to Don to see if he can work his magic with them.

  7. Sounds like a conspiracy.

    The seeds arrived several days ago and I stuck them in the fridge while I gear up for a production run. I'll queue these in front and post here what transpires.

    Paul, I had a good look at my first virginiana blooms. I find it remarkable how many anthers they have, more even than many of the HT's, and also the tight, rigid concentricity of their arrangement. I haven't inspected the blooms on Banshee yet though hopefully it will be in bloom when I get to Elizabeth Park soon. Can you tell me whether Banshee (or any other rose for that matter) has a similar large array of tightly wound of anthers?

  8. There are very few nurseries that sell Rosa virginiana -- just Vintage, as far as I've been able to tell. Is it exceptionally hard to grow from cuttings? Hard to believe if it spreads at the root so readily. I'd think it would also be easy to self-pollinate within a patch and just grow out the seed.

    Or is there just almost no demand for it?I'm interested in growing R. virginiana, and the health and fall color of the foliage is a big part of the appeal. But it seems like a plant you don't want right in the cultivated garden, as with some of the other enthusiastically spreading natives (goldenrod, asters).

    I'm going by my experience with the Scotch rose, which has a lot of the same qualities, good and bad. (Come to think of it, you don't often see it offered, either.) The Virginia rose is just as bolt upright, taller, probably not quite as fragrant? and with somewhat less interesting hips. But it's a native rose, and I'm a native Virginiana, and I've got room out here in the country, so I'd like to have a patch.

  9. See

    for an update on the seedlings that came from The Banshee seedlings.