American Rose Annual 75: 78-82 (1990)
Stripes and Other Roses
Ralph S. Moore D.H.M.

A rose breeder specializing in miniature roses, Ralph Moore has many Award of Excellence winners to his credit. He loves venturing into other types of roses, and has recently introduced two new bracteata hybrids and two new rugosa hybrids. As an advocate for ARS, Ralph chairs Operation Recovery.

I have pursued a "rainbow" for some 50 years or more. Striped roses are the "fireworks" of the rose family. Some like stripes, while others may dislike them or could just as well get along without them. But for me, striped roses have always held always held excitement, in part because of their unpredictability with the stripes coming in all sorts of patterns (or non-patterns) and all possible combinations of color. So let us take a stroll down the "Avenue of the Stripes."

In the 1985 American Rose Annual is an article I wrote on my work with the striped roses giving some of the history and background. With the reader's permission, I will repeat some of this background in the breeding of modern striped roses, plus some of the more recent work and results.

It was my good fortune some years ago to discover a source of stripes that was inheritable. Heretofore, the striped roses had to come about in one of two ways. A bud sport (mutation) would occasionally happen on a rose plant, and thus it had striped flowers. But this type of stripes often reverted to the original color of the variety from which it sported. One might bud (or grow from cuttings) a hundred plants of this sport and find that possibly only part of the lot were true to the sported selection. Or, as often happens, a part of the new plant would be the "new" striped variety, with the other branches reverting back to the original color.

The other striped forms of roses (many of the old gallicas and some others) became striped because of virus. When such roses were heat treated to rid them of virus, they lost their stripes. Thus, neither of the two types of striped roses were (or are) a genetic source of this trait for stripes. As stated earlier, it was my good luck to find (really quite by accident) an apparent genetic source for stripes when I used pollen from Ferdinand Pichard on flowers of Little Darling. From this crossing came 29 seedlings—all climbers or semi-climbers except for two. Of these 29 plants, nine showed some degree of striping—red and white or pink and white. Plants were only moderately vigorous. Some only bloomed in spring, and foliage was fair to sparse with a tendency to mildew. Two seedlings were finally saved to continue breeding. One was a bush (floribunda with 3- to 3 1/2-inch semi-double, fragrant flowers, that were well striped). This became #26 stripe.

The other plant was a fairly vigorous climber with 3-inch double flowers that were well striped. Buds were well formed, urn-shaped, and the plant was quite prone to mildew. This selection became #14 stripe.

Many crosses followed with a wide range of mother parents. Most were very disappointing. Crossing Fairy Moss with #26 stripe, we got a low-growing miniature with 1 1/2-inch flowers and pointed buds with some moss! The plant was weak, and the flowers consisted of only seven to eight petals, of which only two or three were striped. Pollen of this rose was used on a wide range of seed parents, giving several seedlings that were later named and introduced such as Pinstripe, Strawberry Swirl, etc. These have been used in further breeding. But the best (most valuable), from a breeding point of view, were a series of crosses on Dortmund. Of these, Rose Gilardi, is the only one so far introduced, with crosses from some of the others giving interesting results. One, an exciting climber/ground cover, is being readied by a major grower for entry in the AARS. Another, also a climber

While at ArmstrongTM Roses, Jack Christensen made a number of crosses using my stripes. Several others have also tried their hand using some of the striped varieties that originated from my work. In the future, we will no doubt see a number of new striped roses including hybrid teas.

The title of this article, “Stripes and other Roses” indicated that I would discuss other new developments I have in the making. First, I would call attention to Topaz Jewel, the first repeat-flowering yellow hybrid rugosa, introduced by Wayside Gardens in 1988 as a Wayside exclusive. This outstanding shrub rose will be generally available after this season from several sources. It is also being released in Europe by Meilland. Other hybrid rugosas are being developed through my research, and some will be released as ready. In fact, we have just introduced our first mini rugosa shrub this season. The plant has abundant, small, bluish green foliage on a much branched, upright plant growing to a height of 3 to 4 feet. Flowers are star-shaped, five-petaled, with a distinctive eye. It repeats all season and should be tried as a hardy shrub or hedge. The variety name—Star Delight.

Another interest of mine for many years has been the moss roses. This is a fascinating subject and will take a lot more exploration and development. We have made considerable progress over the years, but I fear that the moss is not as appreciated as it might be. However, along with the regular thorn-type moss I have been exploring the possibility of developing the crest from 'Chapeau de Napoleon' (Crested Moss) into bush type, repeat flowering varieties. After more than 25 years, I feel that this type of rose is now within my grasp. The cresting has proven to be a much more difficult subject. In my small book, Modern Moss Roses, the earlier years dealing with cresting are detailed. The main difficulty has been in finding or breeding fertile crested material. A few more years and several hundred (possibly thousands) crosses may do the trick.

Yet another dream has been what I term "halo" roses. Jack Harkness has worked for many years on his Hulthemia hybrids. His results have been astounding in that he has been able to carry the bright red base area of Hulthemia over into his hybrids. However, it is yet a long way from being a dependable garden subject. The sterility problem has been the major roadblock, up to now, in breeding with Hulthemia. Hopefully, this can be resolved. In my research I have found a similar marking in certain miniatures, and so I am following up this lead. So far, this has appeared only in single, or near single, flowered seedlings, and the color is basically light lavender to pinkish lavender with the dark basal area of deeper lavender. Since lavender is part red, I have been looking for seedlings which are lighter peach to pink and in which the basal area is more nearly red. To date, I have found a very few, but the promise is there. The beauty of my “halo” selections is that a number are fertile and have proven that this characteristic can be passed on to the offspring. There is yet much to be done, but can you imagine using some of these uniquely marked roses in an arrangement? The possibilities in rose breeding are exciting.

Footnote: In a recent letter from Jack Darkness, he suggested that his Hulthemia hybrid, Tigris, might be useful for me to work with, as he has found that it produces some viable pollen. Tigris is bright yellow with a red eye, and I now have a plant!