Jour Roy Hort Soc of London 4: 153-157 (1873)
XXVI. On a pink sport of the Gloire de Dijon Rose.

* Gard. Chron. 1872, 1160, col. A.

OUR first knowledge of this beautiful variety was derived from a specimen forwarded by Mr. A. S. Kemp.* From the history given by that gentleman it appears that the plant was struck as a cutting four years since, and is growing on its own roots, in ordinary garden soil. Up to the year 1872 nothing unusual presented itself, but in the last-named season all the flowers that it produced were a rosy pink colour. A plant of the same variety growing in the same border, within a distance of a foot, is not the least changed.

Gard. Chron. 1872, 1230, col. A.

The outer petals of Gloire de Dijon are frequently tinged with pink, and markedly so before the flower is fully expanded, and in the flowers produced in autumn; hence it is not surprising that some of our Rosarians should have thought Mr. Kemp's specimens presented merely an exaggeration of this tendency. Thus we find Mr. D. P. Fish† expressing himself in relation to this subject as follows:—

"This may be a case of reversion (as suggested) but more probably it is an affair of local peculiarity of soil, or constitution . . . I have even observed marked differences of shade in the same, plant on different branches. Again, this Rose on its own roots, or on the Manetti and rooted over or above the graft, is more apt to show a pinky tint than over the briar, and these alterations of colour are more common towards the autumn than later (? earlier) in the season. Again, few things are more inconstant than the colour of Roses. . . . Are they all reverting," proceeds Mr. Fish "to their remote progenitors? and what were the colours and shapes of these, and why should the modern ones hie back in colour, and assume the forms of the Roses of long, long ago?"

The questions here propounded by Mr. Fish go to the root of the matter, and are by no means easily answered. Before offering any remarks on the possible mode of origin of this variety, it may be well again to cite Mr. Fish, the more so as, before he had seen the variety himself, he 'appeared to consider it as an instance of heightened colouring only. At page 1296 of the volume already cited, however, Mr. Fish, having then had the opportunity of examining specimens for himself, states that "it is wholly different from any of those suffused with pink before adverted to by me. It is so good a pink as to be a wholly new and distinct variety. We have no rose of the same shade that I am aware of. It is more pink than La France, or Bougère, or Adam, and not so deep pink as Baron Gonella (Bourbon). Perhaps the nearest approach to the colour of the pink Gloire de Dijon would be arrived at by blending the Baron Gonella and La France. The kind is a fine dark pink, as much so as Coupe d'Hebe; in leaf and strength of growth it retains the true character of Gloire de Dijon. The colour is not successfully rendered by the artist in the accompanying plate. (Pl. XI.) Nothing need be added in recommendation. A delicate pink Gloire de Dijon will at once take its place in the first rank of the best Roses everywhere." This estimate of the value of this new variety, from the florist's point of view, was endorsed at the time in a letter to the writer of this note by the Rev. S. R. Hole.

The history of this Rose during the present season, as told by Mr. Fish (Gard. Chron. 1873, 1180), presents some further points of interest from a physiological point of view. Mr. Fish, it appears, inserted a bud from Mr. Kemp's plant into a briar stock late in September, 1872. The briar was growing on clay soil in a damp place. The bud "took," remained dormant during the winter, and broke into a strong shoot in the spring. This shoot ultimately divided into three sub-divisions, one of which produced a truss of flower-buds, all of which were removed but two, which were allowed to flower, and produced pink roses of about the shade of Baron Gonella. Mr. Fish, in recording these facts, considers that the conditions under which these flowers were produced were such as might have been expected to wash out the pink colour, had it had but a slight hold on the variety, by the mere flush of sap, but nothing of the kind has happened."

We may now allude to a second specimen of pink Gloire de Dijon which was sent to us in September of the present year by Mr. A. Ingram, of Kardwicke Grange, Shrewsbury (see Gard. Chron. 1873, 1210, 1243). The history of Mr. Ingram's Rose differs somewhat from that of Mr. Kemp's. While the latter was grown on its own roots, Mr. Ingram's was budded on the Manetti stock. It grew in a border among other roses, and produced in 1872 a large number of flowers not differing from those of ordinary Gloire de Dijon. In the spring of the present year (1873) it was moved and planted against a north wall, in similar but somewhat heavier soil than it was growing in before. It was long in starting into growth, but ultimately made several vigorous shoots, on one of which, and that the weakest, the pink flower truss was produced.

It is, of course, not absolutely certain that Mr. Kemp's variety and Mr. Ingram's are the same. No opportunity of comparing the two side by side has yet been afforded, and therefore in discussing the possible causes of the change it is more prudent to consider the two cases separately, in spite of the strong impression on the mind of the writer that the two 'varieties are so nearly the same as to entitle them to be called by the same name.

*A similar instance of a pink-coloured sport in Céline Forestier was shown before the Society in July, 1873. The canary-yellow coloured Rose called Isabella Sprunt is said to have been a sport from the apricot-coloured Saffrano. See Carrière, "Production et fixation des Variétés dans les végétaux," p. 35, wherein a list of such roses is given. See also Darwin, "Variation of Animals and Plants," p. 379 (1868), where numerous references to the literature of the subject are given, and an article on "Bud Variation," in "Popular Science Review" (1872).

Reverting then to Mr. Kemp's rose, we may ask to what circumstances are we to attribute the change? It cannot in this instance have arisen from budding or grafting, because we are assured no such operation was effected. It may have arisen from reversion or "sporting" to an ancestral form. Some of the progenitors of this Rose may have had deep-coloured flowers. Successive generations have participated to a slight extent in the colouring derived from their progenitors, but suddenly this one has gained a full measure of the liquid pigment on which the colour depends. Darwin's theory of pangenesis affords a partial explanation of how this may occur. An hereditary taint, so to speak—a gemmule—according to this hypothesis is transmitted from organism to organism. In one generation it may be dormant and inactive, in another it may be endowed with full vitality, become intensified, and reproduce itself with rapidity under the influence of favourable circumstances. But what those circumstances are, and bow they act, the hypothesis in question does not tell us. That this particular rose, like thousands of similar cases, may have been produced in this manner is of course possible. No one can deny that it may have been so. The suddenness of its appearance is consistent with what is usually observed in similar instances, and so far is favourable to the notion. On the other hand, a sport or reversion is usually local, and presents itself on one particular branch, or on a few only. Many of our garden varieties of Rose have originated in this way.* If we say, as we are quite justified in doing, that this is a mere case of the agency of some local circumstances enhancing and heightening the colour, we still do not get away from the reversion theory, and we do not gain any explanation of the fact that the adjoining plant was unaffected.

So far as we saw there was no change in the kind, but only in the degree of colour. The colouring matter of the Rose is a liquid contained in certain cells of the petals. Now, in this case, a few more of the cells than is customary were filled with colouring matter. Perhaps, for we did not examine the flower, as to this point, the cells with the coloured juices overlaid one another, and thus produced a deeper tint, as we know happens in analogous cases. But supposing that this, or indeed any of the suggested explanations, be true, what caused the sudden change, and why was the sister plant only a few inches off, grown under apparently precisely similar circumstances, unaffected? If we attempt to account for it by some individual peculiarity of constitution, by some idiosyncrasy, as a medical man would say, we only confess, but do not conceal, our ignorance by the use of a technical phrase. Better perhaps to say at once we don't know.

With reference to Mr. Ingram's case the conditions are different. The plant was grafted on the Manetti, a pink-flowered variety.

* For a brief resumé of the more important facts relating to "Graft-hybridisation," the reader is referred to an article in the "Popular Science Review," 1871, p. 141.

Now, there are cases wherein grafting or budding seems to alter the character of the scion. For a long time gardeners, as a rule, refused to believe in any such reciprocal action of stock and scion, but the evidence is becoming too overpowering to allow the matter to remain doubtful. It is not necessary, however, to enter into this subject here, as the probability that Mr. Ingram's Rose owed its peculiarity to grafting or budding is extremely slight. The only explanation then that can be offered in this case is, that it is a bud-variation or "sport." As such, as before explained, it may be due to a reversion to the character possessed by some of its progenitors. In order to ascertain this point it is necessary to know the parentage and genealogy of Gloire de Dijon Rose, but this we have at present failed to obtain.

Mr.. W. Paul, whose interest in the scientific aspects of Rose-growing is as keen as his skill in their practical culture is great, tells me that although he was the first of English nurserymen to receive and exhibit this Rose, yet he does not know its history. Perhaps the publication of this note may elicit the facts of the case. It must be remembered, however, that Rose-growers and florists in general, seldom either conduct or record their experiments with that scrupulous regard to accuracy and jealous exclusion of possible sources of fallacy, which the scientific experimenter demands, and hence it may be that the pedigree of a florist's flower, though given in all good faith, may yet scarcely be a trustworthy document in the eyes of a physiologist.

* Since this was written we have ascertained that Belle de Bordeaux was a seedling variety from Gloire de Dijon, raised by M. Lartay.

Lastly, it remains to be said that an opinion has been expressed by some, Mr. W. Paul among others, that this pink variety of Gloire de Dijon Rose is the same variety as that known as Belle de Bordeaux or Gloire de Bordeaux. But if this be so, then the question arises, what was the origin of Belle de Bordeaux? Is it not likely that it too was a seedling variety, or a sport (bud-variety) from Gloire de Dijon?*

In these matters the practical florists have an advantage over their scientific brethren. The Rosarians have, in some way or another, become possessed of a beautiful addition to their already rich store, and are content with the fact as it stands. The physiologists are left to pore over the why and wherefore. It is most desirable that each should help the other, the florist by carefully noting the phenomena as they present themselves to him, the physiologist by co-relating the facts supplied by the florist, supplying their interpretation, and deducing from them rules or laws which will guide the florist in his culture. It requires no great stretch of faith to foresee the time when the physiologist will be able to supply the florist with a clue whereby he may, within limits, be able to produce at will a pink Gloire de Dijon Rose, or whatever else the needs or caprice of the time may dictate.

To do this requires on the part of the Rosarian strict accuracy of experiment and faithfulness of record. Too often it is to be feared the pedigrees given are at best more guess-work.