Sunday, July 5, 2009

Suzanne/Spinosissima breeding

This year I have acquired the Spinosissima hybrid 'Suzanne' for breeding purposes. Bred by F. L. Skinner in 1950, this is generally considered to be an F2 hybrid of ('Stanwell Perpetual' X R. laxa). It is a tetraploid, which is what you would expect, given that both parents are tetraploids.

'Suzanne' has played a significant role in the breeding of the Canadian Explorer series of roses, contributing both disease resistance and Winter hardiness. The key hybrid in creating the Explorer roses was a seedling by Robert Simonet of 'Red Dawn' X 'Suzanne', with deep pink semi double blooms. Ian Ogilvie and Felicitas Svejda at Morden and AgCan took this hybrid on for breeding and in combination with R. kordesii' and others, created the Explorers. 'John Davis', 'William Baffin' and 'Champlain' all include 'Suzanne' in their pedigree.

All of these Explorers are fine roses, but the question is, what else can 'Suzanne' offer us? I have done some preliminary work in yellow using the fertile triploid 'Golden Angel' crossed with 'John Davis' and obtained some buffs and soft yellows that appear to be fertile (have set open pollinated seed). The next step is to cross the best of these yellows with each other to intensify the yellow (hopefully) and then start working 'Suzanne' into the mix. With this in mind, I have also a selection of Spinosissima hybrids this year that are 'Condoleezza' X 'William III', from which might come some non-pink hues if I'm lucky. I will select from these seedlings next year when they bloom and incorporate these with 'Suzanne' and the buff colored 'John Davis' hybrids. 'Condoleezza' has shown itself capable of producing clear yellows and peachy tints in breeding, so I am hopeful something of this sort might appear.

I think the Hybrid Spinosissimas are very beautiful and valuable landscape-friendly shrubs that should be explored in breeding to expand their color range while retaining their hardiness and disease resistance. In a decade or so, I just might have made some progress in this area, with repeat bloom thrown in as well!

'Suzanne' on HMF


  1. I definitely see the family resemblance between Suzanne and some of the Canadian breed roses from it.

    I like your idea of crossing Condoleeza with it, especially if the buds of Suzanne are anything like William Baffin. This year I noticed certain roses like William Baffin has sort of a moss to them if you look closely. I was thinking of crossing moss roses with these and against the ones with smoother buds to see if their is some correlation between the seedlings having moss and the difference in buds. I am thinking their will be a correlation. I will have to wait until next year however to test this theory.

    Paul being a photographer is their a digital camera that you would recommend to a novice to take pictures of flowers. Hopefully nothing too expensive. Are their some easy trick to make flower pictures come out better. A lot of time my picture seem out of focus especially onclose up shots.

  2. Very nice rose! The leaves remind me a lot of the woodsii species.

  3. Wu,
    Many non-HT type roses have moderately to heavily glandular buds, and Mossing is simply an exaggerated glandular trait, so its entirely possible you may get the Moss trait out of something like 'William Baffin' or R. virginiana. Well worth looking into.

    As for a good digital camera, I'm not sure what to recommend, at least not in the "affordable" category. I use a Nikon D80 with the best Nikon 28-105 lens, which cost me over 2K in total. I suspect you want to spend less than that. I'm just not very familiar with the smaller, less expensive "point and shoot" digicams with Macro capability. You'd be better to ask about this in a general rose discussion group and see what other people have chosen within your price range. Of course, if you CAN find your way yo spending over 1K, then the Nikon DSLRs are spectacular and versatile.

    You, of all people should consider working with 'Suzanne', to get improved hardiness and species-like shrub architecture. I got mine from Vintage.

  4. Hmmm... after two bad experiences, I don't think I'll be buying from that source again. Will look for it elsewhere.

    Wu, I use a Kodak that cost me about $350, and seems to serve just fine for what I do

  5. Breeding spinossimas sounds good. Have you tried William's Double Yellow? It is the hardiest yellow rose I Know. It is usable as pollen parent an it's a tetraploid. Here in Finland we have lot of hardy and beautiful spinossima hybrids: