CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1194
*e-mail: su bodhskdatta@r ediffmail.com
Breeding of new ornamental varieties: Rose
S. K. Datta*
A5/1 Kalindi H ousing Esta te, Ka lindi , Kolk ata 700 089, India
Floriculture has become an important industry in
many countries as a result of advanced scientific tech-
niques and stable supply of improved varieties. Devel-
opment of new varieties and their fast marketing are
major challenges in floriculture trade. Rose is grown
mainly for cut flowers for floriculture industry. All
the present-day colourful varieties and their novelties
are the result of extensive random hybridization,
spontaneous and induced mutations and selections.
Voluminous literature is now available on rose breed-
ing using different technology. Here we highlight how
present knowledge can be exploited to regulate vari-
ous desirable characters of rose for selective hybridi-
zation, target-oriented induced mutation and in vitro
mutagenesis. Molecular breeding offers new and exci t-
ing challenges for future improvement of rose.
Keywords: Floriculture, genetic diversity, hybridiza-
tion, mutation, pigments, rose breeding.
ROSE is the world’s most popular flower due to its long
history, symbolism, colour, fragrance and sheer elegance
of form. The flower originated in Central Asia, dating
back to between 60 and 70 million years – the period
known as the Eocene epoch. It gradually spread all over
the northern hemisphere. Roses were highly cherished
and cultivated extensively by the Egyptians, Chinese,
Greeks, Romans and the Phoenicians as early as 5000
years back. Missionaries introduced Chinese roses to
Europe in the 14th century. The genetic basis of the
‘modern rose cultivars’ was developed due to extensive
hybridization among the Chinese, European and Middle-
Eastern roses1,2. These flower s are the most ancient and
highly appreciated ornamentals. We find every stage
within one genus, from entirely wild species and early
cultivated forms to the most highly evolved garden forms
of today. All these forms have been artificially cr eated by
the concentrated efforts of many great rosarians. The ge-
nus Rosa consists of about 200 species and thousands of
cultivars in which more than 150 species have been cata-
logued3,4. Also, only 11 out of 200 Rosa species have
contributed to the origin of modern cultivars5,6. A wide
range of variability in flower type and plant growth has
been developed in the genus Rosa due to considerable
advancement in r ose breeding technology for the last 200
years. Unfortunately, just a small portion of this
variability has been used in the present breeding7.
It is difficult to postulate when rose cultivation started
in India. The medical monographs of Charaka and Sus-
ruta endorse that roses grew from time immemorial and
that they play an important role as part of the social,
medical, cultural and religious fabric. Early introduction
of rose in India is not the focus of this article. However,
one can gather kn owledge on this aspect from the litera-
ture8 –10. This article covers breeding aspects for devel-
opment of new rose varieties. The modern era of rose
growing in India started with breeding by th e pioneer
Indian hybridizer, B. S. Bhattacharji in the 1940s. How-
ever, wild roses of th e Himalayas – R. brunonii, R.
sericea, R. webbiana, R. foetida, R. ecae, R. longicuspis,
R. macrophylla, R. gigantean, R. beggariana, R. eglante-
ria, R. laevigata, R. banksii and R. bracteata are worth
There is always demand and the need for new varieties
in floriculture, and the global flower industry prospers on
novelty traits such as flower colour, form and scent which
are primary n ovelty markers in consumer choice. For de-
velopment of a new variety, creation of genetic variabil-
ity is a pre-requisite. Genetic diversity plays an important
role in breeding because hybrids between genetically di-
verse parents manifest greater heterosis than those be-
tween closely related parents1 1–14. A number of plant
breeding methods like cross-breeding, induced mutagene-
sis and molecular breeding play an important role in the
development of new varieties. Interspecific hybridization
of ornamentals has resulted in many award-wining culti-
vars. Knowledge on th e basic genetic information about
the breeding system is the most important for a meaning-
ful breeding/improvement programme. This can be
achieved through experimental hybridization among the
cultivated and elemental species from the wild as the ge-
netic system controls their heredity and variation. Com-
mercial n ovel characters in ornamental plants can be
created through breeding. Breeders should be conscious
about the potential and limitations of different breeding
approaches. This will help them to select the most appr o-
priate as well as economic strategy for achieving their
goal under prevailing circumstances of variety improve-
ment. This is not always easy, but by understanding some
of the genetics involved, one can make decisions as to
which crosses might lead to success. The breeding objec-
tives of flower crops differ from crop to crop and depend
upon the nature of the plant and the part used for com-
mercial exploitation. Roses have many beneficial compo-
nents for the consumer that can be cr eated, enhanced or
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1195
improved through breeding programmes using classical
and modern techniques. Breeders should have clear
breeding objectives for developing new varieties. The
important part is accumulation of enough gene pool and
identification of desirable genes or genotypes. Selected
genes or groups of genes are utilized in crossing to create
more favourable combinations. Th e next step is selection
of superior genotypes followed by testing and release of
Normally for developing new varieties through hy-
bridization in any ornamental crop, we start crossing
among varieties/species available at hand. If this is suc-
cessful we obtain a new variety. However, this variety
may not have any/much market value. Scientific man-
power and time are wasted. Therefore, we must acquir e
relevant knowledge befor e starting hybridization.
All the present-day changes in growth habit, flowering
and flower shape, colour, size and fragrance of roses have
been evolved through complex inter-specific crosses
among elemental species, open pollination, indiscriminate
hybridization, spontan eous and induced mutation and
molecular breeding14– 16.
Rose and chrysanthemum are perhaps the two orna-
mentals where maximum breeding work has been done.
At early breeding stage each of th e rose species might
have contributed to a specific trait. For example, R. gal-
lica and other robust polyploid species lent the trait of
cold hardiness, R. chinensis brought recurrent blooming,
and R. foetida bestowed the yellow flower17. The rose has
undergone the most dramatic and fascinating changes
during its life history of millions of years. Till AD 1800
there were only wild rose species and their derivatives r e-
sulting from natural crossing, such as damasks (R. dam-
ascene), albas (R. alba), centifolia (R. centifolia), gallicas
(R. gallica), muska (R. moschata) and a few others. Sub-
sequent introduction of the Far Eastern rose species, R.
chinensis and R. gigantean into Europe and their hybridi-
zation with the European species, R. damascene, R.
galica and R. moschata brought about significant devel-
opments in the improvement of roses. The important
types of r oses evolved from these inter-specific crosses
till the first quarter of the 19th century were Bourbon,
Noisette, Portland, Hybrid Perpetuals and Tea18. R. gal-
lica (also called French rose) has been identified as the
oldest rose that exists even today. R. damascena or the
damask rose originated from R. gallica. It is popular for
its fragrance and has been an essential part of the history
of roses sin ce its first appearance in 900 BC. Rose breed-
ing is now done on large scale mostly by h ighly competi-
tive private companies, but they do not publish their
applied genetics knowledge5,1 9–24.
In India, rose breeding was initially considered as a
hobby for self-fulfilment by amateur rosarians. Now ama-
teurs, commercial or non-commercial pr ofessionals, res-
earchers, nurserymen, etc. are engaged in breeding. After
the pioneering work of Bhattachar ji nearly 90 years ago,
a number of amateurs, some nurseries and a few institu-
tions took to the developing of new rose varieties in our
country. Though several new varieties are developed
every year, only a handful of th em are ultimately released
and find their way in nursery catalogues or books. Th e
earliest Indian rose ‘Dr S. D. Mukherjee’ was introduced
in 1935 by D. K. Roy Choudhury. Later other breeders
and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI),
New Delhi took up such breeding studies. The Division
of Floriculture and Landscaping, IARI, remained the pi o-
neer in rose improvement evolving numerous varieties
utilizing various breeding tools. B. P. Pal, the doyen of
Indian rose science, developed the first hybrid rose ‘Rose
Sherbet’ (Fl.) in 1956. In 1956–57, the Division of Flori-
culture and Landscaping, IARI, started research on dif-
ferent aspects of roses. The first varieties ‘Pusa Sonia’
(HT), ‘Himangini’ and ‘Suryodaya’ (Fl) and ‘Swati’
(Polyantha) were released in 1968. As a r esult of inten-
sive hybridization, a series of new rose varieties were
evolved, described and released in 1991 (‘Rakitma’,
‘Preyasi’ and ‘Shreyasi’ – HT; ‘Lahar’, ‘Manasi’ – Fl and
‘Climbing Sadabahar’)25-27. The main objectives of br eed-
ing were to evolve varieties suitable for gardens, exhibi-
tion and cut flower under subtropical and tropical
conditions. Then breeding for disease resistance began.
Although a good amount of new varieties have been de-
veloped through hybridization in our country, no system-
atic work has been done by gen eticists to explore the
scientific basis of rose breeding. The flower has a wealth
of information on genetics that remains unexplored28–30.
Literature survey indicates that rose breeding in the coun-
try is still random. Majority of breeders start breeding
with varieties available at hand. Due to the heterozygous
nature, new flower colours/forms are detected in the seg-
regating population and breeders are satisfied with new
traits and release new varieties. Researchers are also sat-
isfied with a new variety. India is now flooded with such
varieties. Th ere ar e hardly any data available in the coun-
try regarding the market acceptability of these varieties
and also their use as parental material in further breeding
programme. India is now well equipped with knowledge
and technology in floriculture and appreciably is contrib-
uting in world floriculture trade. We must now assess our
floricultural activities in th e context of world activities.
This article focuses on practical breeding of rose. Impor-
tant aspects of rose breeding in the context of results re-
ported by different breeders and based on experience
gathered from years of breeding different ornamentals are
discussed. We will not discuss in detail about the avail-
able technologies, only the achievements and few inter-
esting examples of varieties will be cited as r eady
reference. Literature survey shows that valuable knowl-
edge has been accumulated on rose breeding. Important
characteristics (trait/s) have been identified in different
genera, species and cultivars. Appreciable breeding con-
cepts have been reported by different breeders and
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1196
amateur growers. Unfortunately such wealth of informa-
tion has not been utilized by successive breeders. It is dif-
ficult to obtain all information as it is scattered in
different journals. Another major constraint is that most
commercial breeders do not disclose their breeding de-
tails. We now need all the valuable information to prop-
erly plan for successful breeding. If the experience is
properly utilized, the expected results may be achieved
more easily and in less time. We should change our ran-
dom breeding strategy and start selective breeding to
develop particular desired phenotypic traits (characteris-
tics) by choosing parents having desirable chara c-
ters. Breeding objectives may be diversified as need and
societal benefits. The main objectives of rose breeding,
realized by different breeders, should be to create ever-
green everblooming garden varieties, with greater vigour,
new attractive flower colours, prickle-free, form, fra-
grance, floriferousness, recurrent flowering, long stems,
winter hardiness, resistance to pests and diseases, resis-
tance to heat and easily propagated by cuttings, suitable
for growing under subtropical conditions, high oil con-
Rose breeding in other countries is mainly carried out
by private companies and they never disclose their ap-
plied genetic knowledge. Furthermore, some technical
factors make rose a difficult model system for genetic
studies3,6,3 1. Available knowledge on genetic background
of mor phological and/or physiological characters of roses
is limited. Highly heterozygous and polyploidy nature
(diploid, triploid, tetraploid, aneuploid, etc.), high male
and female sterility, chromosomal disorders, poor seed
setting and seed germination, etc. are the major hindrance
in rose breeding to develop desired combinations32. Mod-
ern hybrids are highly heterozygous as they bear the
genes of many ancestors and therefore, it is practically
impossible to forecast the result of any specific cross. An
attempt has been made to prepare the evolutionar y tree of
a modern rose ‘America’s Junior Miss’ (Figure 1). It is
clear from the figure how complex rose hybridization is
for developing a new variety. New roses can be easily
developed from seedling selection, but development of a
real good r ose is a difficult task. Selection and identifica-
tion of parent varieties with desirable character/s is most
important for h ybridization. Although it is difficult for a
rose breeder to have directed breeding to achieve th e
desired results, it may be possible for him to be success-
ful to some extent by genetic manipulation of the breed-
ing technique and by carefully ch oosing the parents for
Rose br eeding is now done on large scale in France,
Germany, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada and other
developed countries. Crosses between Chinese and Euro-
pean roses resulted in the development of modern roses
such as Portland, Bourbon, Noisette, Hybrid Perpetuals,
etc. ‘La France’ was the first hybrid tea rose developed
by Guilot in France in 1867 by crossing a Hybrid Perpet-
ual with a Chinese Tea rose32. Hybridization of different
species has been primarily responsible for the evolution
of new groups of roses. All characters are present in ele-
mental species and varieties. Breeders must kn ow some
fundamental facts about genetics to obtain target-oriented
results. Each chromosome consists of many genes which
are the carriers of characters and are the units of heredity.
One gene may influence a particular characteristic, many
characteristics or a particular characteristic may be influ-
enced by several genes together. Blossom colour, leaf
shape, plant stature, disease resistance, etc. are controlled
by a single gene. Modern hybrids possess genes for many
colours either in dominant or recessive form. Some in-
formation has already been generated on the pattern of
inheritance of a few important characters. Plant vigour is
inherited maternally. One may, therefore, use a tall and
vigorous growing cultivar as a female parent with a view
to combining its vigour with other desired characters. The
inheritance of prickles is caused either by a single or two
complementary dominant genes in the diploid rose popu-
lations. Recurrent flowering segregates as a single reces-
sive gene confirming other studies in tetraploid and
diploid populations33– 36. Double flowers ar e known to be
inherited as monogenic traits in many plant species and
several ar e transmitted as dominant genes. Inheritance of
characters like double flowers, pink colour and prickles
has been reported to be controlled either as single domi-
nant genes or as complementary genes in crosses between
diploid R. multiflora hybrids37 ,38. In spite of significant
progress in rose breeding in recent years, there is an
unlimited field for the improvement of garden roses.
Even the most ardent rosarian will admit this fact, for no
known rose is perfect; none has all the qualities we de-
sire. There ar e still many characters (greater vigour and
hardiness, resistance to diseases and pests, and new col-
ours not yet obtained) we would like to see in the garden
roses. Accumulation of desir ed scattered characters is
also important. With the advancement of knowledge, rose
breeding is becoming more scientific. However, the
experience gained through numerous studies conducted
worldwide suggested directed breeding for desired objec-
tives. Certain interesting possibilities for directive rose
breeding are highlighted here.
Breeding for disease resistance
This has not received much attention from the rose breed-
ers. Some breeding lines have been identified which may
be utilized as resistant parents in the breeding pro-
gramme: Iowa State University, USA; US Department of
Agriculture and others have developed varieties resistant
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1197
Figure 1. Schemat ic representation of evolu tiona ry hybridization tree of rose cv. ‘Am erica’s J unior Miss’.
to black spot and powdery mildew – ‘Spotless Gold’,
‘Spotless Yellow’, ‘Spotless Pink’, ‘Ballet’, ‘Ovation’,
‘Captain Thomas’, ‘Prairie Princess’, ‘Music Maker’,
‘Appllow’, ‘Dezant’, ‘Gabricab’, ‘Jaguar’, ‘Golden
Showers’ (developed by W. E. Lammerts), ‘A
Mackenzie’, ‘Charles Albart’, ‘Champlan’, ‘William Bat-
tin’, etc.18, 32,39,40. R. bracteata is immune to black spot. R.
clinophylla is closely r elated to this species and may well
transmit black spot resistance. Other sources of black
spot resistance are the tetraploid R. multiflora seedlings.
With regard to mildew resistan ce, the climber ‘Golden
Showers’ is worth a mention. Many of the modern H.T.’s
are also mildew-resistant, e.g. ‘Slver Jubilee’, ‘Pristine’,
Breeding for cold resistance
In the temperate countries like Germany, USA and
Canada, attempts have been made to evolve winter hardy
varieties. Winter hardiness has been derived from R.
rugosa and R. wichuriana18,42 ,43.
Breeding for heat resistance
Breeding for heat resistance in tropical countries is of
considerable importance. Possible strategies for tr opical
rose breeding include the use of heritage roses like ‘Arch-
duke Charles’, ‘Parle d’Or’, ‘Cecile Brunner’, ‘M. Fal-
cot’, etc. which do well under warm conditions. Selected
garden roses like ‘Montezuma’, ‘Maria Callas’, ‘Peter
Frankenfeld’, etc. do well in warmer parts of the world.
‘Delhi Princes’ (India) has been identified as heat-
tolerant18. R. clinophylla is the only rose species found in
the tropical tracts of India. This is perhaps the only repre-
sentative species of the tropical region of the world.
This species has not yet been included in breeding to
develop better heat resistance rose strain in India. It is
diploid, whereas standard roses are tetraploid41,44. The
remarkable concepts and pr ospects of breeding with R.
gigantean have been highlighted by eminent r osarians. It
flowers freely and sets seeds quite easily with standard
varieties. The flower colour in R. gigantean seedlings
ranges from greenish-white to pure white, cream and light
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1198
Breeding for thornless roses
Roses generally have thorns. The desire for thornless
varieties has probably existed since cultivation of roses
began. Thorns may be curved, hooked, straight, dense,
short, soft, needle-shaped, etc. Many do produce a few
thorns, but their numbers are so few that they are often
considered thornless. Some of the early thornless roses
were developed in France in the early to mid 1800s and
are thought to be derived from the species R. pendulina,
R. blanda – the ‘Smooth Rose’46. It is sometimes called
the ‘Hudson Bay Rose’ or ‘Labrador Rose’. Varieties
have been developed having less thorn or are relatively
thornless (‘Betty Bland’, ‘Prairie Youth’, ‘Modern Fire-
glow’, ‘Allister Stella Gray’, ‘Blush Noisette’, ‘Nasta-
rana’, ‘Mine Legras de St.Germain’, ‘Chloris’,
‘Celestial’, ‘Paul Neyron’, ‘Elizabeth Arden’, ‘Sutter’s
Gold’, ‘Old Soothie’, ‘Harmonie’, ‘Jacaranda’, ‘Stryker’,
‘City of London’, ‘Playgirl’, ‘Louis Bugnet’, ‘Betty
Bugnet’, ‘Metis’, ‘Martin Frobisher’, ‘J.P. Connell’,
‘Royal Edward’, ‘Kathleen Harrop’, ‘Zephirine Drouhin’,
‘Adam Messerich’, ‘Honorie de Brabant’, ‘Charles de
Mills’, ‘Belle de Crecy’, ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’,
‘Cramoisi Picote’, ‘Hippdyte’, ‘Duchesse de Buccleugh’,
‘Empress Josephine’, ‘Officinalis’) and thornless (‘Grand
Gala’, ‘Nevada’, ‘Cecile’, ‘Brunner’, ‘Mrs. John Laing’,
‘Hermosa’, ‘Mme Pierre Oger’, ‘La Reine Victoria’,
‘Camaieux’, ‘Zephirine Drouthine’, ‘Bella Multiflora’).
Croses between R. carolina (tetraploid) ‘Hugh Dick-
son’ resulted in one thornless variety (coded as 65-626).
Seventy-five roses with no or few th orns with particular
emphasis on varieties having fragrance and with a view to
their being used in a garden for the blind have been re-
ported. Some grow in public gardens in USA (‘Nevada’,
‘Cecile Brunner’, ‘Mrs John Laing’, ‘Hermosa’, ‘Mme.
Pierre Oger’, ‘La Rein e Victoria’, ‘Camaieux’,
‘Zephirine’, ‘Drouhine’). More species and varieties have
been identified having few or no thorns – Species roses:
R. banksie lutes – almost thornless, R. blanda, R. lherifi-
eranea, R. multiflora, R. penduliana, R. wichuriana;
Climbers: thornless or few at base – ‘Amadis’-Laffay
1829, ‘Amethyster’-Norin 1911, ‘Reve d’or’-1869,
‘Veilehenbleau’-Schmidt 1909, ‘Zephirine Drouhin’-
Bizot 1968, Allister Stella Gray’, ‘Blush Noisette’, ‘Nas-
tarana’, ‘Burgundiana Rose’, ‘Tourde Malakoff’, ‘Mine
Legras de St. Germain’, ‘Chloris’, ‘Celestial’, ‘Georg
Arends’, ‘Mrs. John Laing’, ‘Paul Neyron’, ‘Ulrich
Brunner Fils’, ‘Souv. due Dr Jamain’, ‘Blush Rambler’,
‘Tausendsction’; Shrubs: ‘Bellinda’-Bentalf 1936, ‘Balle-
rina’-Bental 1937, ‘Cecile Brunner’-Ducher 1881,
‘Gestendirector Otto Linne’-Lambert 1934, ‘Lavender
Lassie’-Kordes 1960, ‘Margo Koster’-Koster 1931,
‘Marguerite Hilling’-Hilling 1959, ‘Nevada’-Dot 1927,
‘Nyphenburg’-Kordes 1954; Old modern roses: ‘Adam
Messerich’-Lambert 1920, ‘American Beauty’-
Ledechalex 1875, ‘Baroness Rothschild’-Permer Pere
1868, ‘Belle de Crecy’-Roerer 1848, ‘Bells Isis’-
Permemtier 1845, ‘Blush Noisette’-Noisette 1817,
‘Camaieux’-Vibert 1980, ‘Celestial’, ‘Champney’s Pink
Cluster’, ‘Chloris’, ‘Commendant Beaurepaire’-Moreau-
Robert 1874, ‘Complicats’, ‘Ducherse de Montebello’,
Ferdinand Pichard’-Tanne 1921, ‘Frau Karl Druschki’-
Lambert 1901, ‘George Arends’-Hinner 1910, ‘Her-
mosa’-Marcheseau 1840, ‘Katheleen Harrop’-Dickson
1919, ‘La Rein e Victoria’-Schwartz 1872, ‘Lady Hilling-
don’ Lowe & Shawyer 1910, ‘Louise Odier’-Margottin
1851, ‘Madame Legras de St. Germain’, ‘Madome Pierre
Ogre’-Ogre 1878, ‘Madame Plantier’ Plantier 1835,
‘Maman Cochet’-Cochet 1893, ‘Marchioness of London-
derry’-Dickson 1893, ‘Marie Pavie’-1888, ‘Mary Wash-
ington’-Rossw 1891, ‘Mrs Dudley Cr oss’-1917, ‘Mrs.
John Laing’-Berner 1887, ‘Petite Lisette’-Vibert 1817,
‘Paul Neyron’-Berner 1887, ‘Prince Charles’-1842,
‘Reine des Violettes’-Millet-Malet 1860, ‘Rosa Galica
Officinalis’, ‘Rosa Mundi’-Pre 1851, ‘Rosette Delizy’-
Nabonnand 1922, ‘Ulrich Brunner’-Levert 1881); Flori-
bunda: ‘Apache Tears’-Edmunde 1978, ‘Apricot Nectar’-
Boerner 1966, ‘Dusky Maider’-Le Grice 1947, ‘Gruss an
Aachen-Geduldig 1909; HT: ‘Gpsy’-Swim & Weeks
1973, ‘Medallion’-Warriner 1973, ‘Sterling Silver’-
Fisher 1957; Miniature: ‘Andrea’-R.S. Moore 1978, ‘An-
gel Dust’-Dee Bennet 1978, ‘Cinderella’-de Vink 1953,
‘Cinderella Gold’, ‘Jack Horner’-T. Robinson 1955, ‘Lit-
tle Linda’-Ernet Schwartz 1976, ‘Madelyn Lang’-
Williams 1974, ‘Mistee’-Moore 1979, ‘Royal Ruby’-
Morey 1972, ‘Pompon de Paris’ (1939), ‘Sweety Fairy’,
‘Melody Marshall’ (1993), ‘Halo Today’ (1994), ‘Halo
Rainbow’, ‘Pretty Penny’, ‘Elizabeth Arden’, ‘Sutter’s’
Gold (1950), ‘Blue Moon’ (1964), ‘Old Soothi’ (1978),
‘Harmonie’ (1981), ‘Jacaranda’ (1985), ‘Audrey Hep-
burn’ (1992), ‘Stryker’ (1994). ‘Sugar Palm’, ‘English
Porcelain’ (1995), ‘Fortune Cookie’ (1996), ‘Col Dude’;
Greenhouse Roses: ‘Grand Gala’, ‘Pink Parfait’, ‘City of
London’, ‘Playgir’, ‘Bella Multiflora’, ‘Smooth Melody’,
‘Smooth Angel’, ‘Smooth Lady’, ‘Smooth Perfume’,
‘Smooth Romance’, ‘Heritage’, ‘Charlotte’, ‘Sir Walter
Roleigh’46,47 . It is now possible to develop more thornless
roses through selective breeding.
Breeding for fragrance
Rose and fragrance are synonymous. The flower becomes
more beautiful if it has a sweet mellowed fragrance. The
fragrance is due to the presence of volatile oils. The
amount of fragrance is determined by several factors such
as rose varieties and climatic conditions. The contour of
fragrance depends on soil, warmth, humidity, time of the
day, etc. Rose perfume of commercial importance is
derived from R. damascena and R. centifolia. There are
several hybrid teas and floribundas having fragrant flow-
ers. The inheritance of fragrance is govern ed by several
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1199
genes. Even when two fragrant roses are crossed, it is not
necessary that the seedlings will have fragrance because
of random segregation and unfavourable recombination
of genes for fragrance10 . The genes in the rose cells re-
sponsible for perfume are many times linked with some
undesirable characteristics, which make it difficult to
have scent along with a good rose. Breeding for fragrance
appears to be feasible if parents with good scent as well
as other desirable characteristics are selected. However,
no breeding is done purely for perfume, but Indian hy-
bridizers appear to be paying special attention to this
quality. The British also cherish fragrance as one of th e
desirable qualities in a rose and the Royal National Rose
Society offers the ‘Clay Challenge Vase’ for the best new
scented rose raised in a year by a British hybridizer4 8.
The types of rose scent described in the literature vary
from the mystical seven noted by Le Grice (1969)49 –
Rose, Nasturtium, Orris, Violet, Apple, Lemon and
Clove – to about 40 recorded by S. C. Harlord. These in-
clude Alonond, Black berry, Honey, Magnolia, Musk,
Myrrh, Pineapple, Raspberry, as also Bugs and Turper-
tine. Over 30 compounds are involved in r ose fragrance.
The most common frequencies reported in Indian varie-
ties are lemon (‘Radhanath’); apple, clove, nasturtium,
orris, violet, musk (‘Heart Throb’, ‘Week End’, ‘Tribute’,
‘Double Helix’); raspberry, Parsley, wine orange, pineap-
ple, mixed fruits (‘Lalima’, ‘Kum Kum’, ‘Anirban’,
‘Bhanu’, ‘Brahm Datta’, ‘Red Perfume’, ‘Kasturi Ran-
gan’); citrus, myrrh, strawberr y, dianthus, tea (‘Haridra’,
‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy’, ‘Sunanda’, ‘Corn. Sukumarda’,
‘Nefertiti’, ‘Ganges Mist’, ‘Manipur Magic’, ‘Climbing
Kanyakumari’, ‘Bhargav’, ‘Shantaraj’, ‘Willian Carey’,
‘Bharati’); honey, spicy (‘Kishori’, ‘Fragrant Mauve’,
‘Touch of Heart’, ‘Mrs. Davis’, ‘Sudhanshu’, ‘Sweet
India’, ‘Stealthy Kiss’, ‘Rajni’, ‘Asha’); Rose (‘Su-
gandha’, ‘Fragrant Beauty’, ‘Rose Bengal’, ‘Our Indira’,
‘Classic’, ‘Pride of Nagpur’, ‘Dr Kane’)50,51.
Fragrant rose varieties have been analysed in the agro-
climatic conditions of the Tarai r egion of Uttar Pradesh.
The quality of fragrance has been generally inflated
through superlative terms like ‘glorious’, ‘intriguing’,
‘intoxicating’, ‘alluring’, ‘penetrating’, etc. to deceive the
gullible customer5 2. The merit rating of fragrance (F) is
scaled from 1 to 10, the higher the number, the better the
fragrance: ‘Gruss An Coburg’ (H.T., 1927, F9), ‘The
Doctor’ (H.T., Howard 1936, F9), ‘Lady Luck’ (H.T.,
Miller 1956, F8), ‘Granada’ (H.T., Lindquist 1963, F8),
‘Oklahoma’ (H.T., Swin & Weekes 1964, F9), ‘Inge
Horstmann’ (H.T., Tantau 1964, F9), ‘Blue Moon’ (H.T.,
Tantau 1954, F8), ‘Lemon Spice’ (H.T., Armstrong 1966,
F8), ‘Whisky Mac’ (H.T., Tantau 1967, F8), ‘Perfume
Delight’ (H.T., Swim & Weeks 1973, F9), ‘Double De-
light’ (H.T., Swim & Ellis 1977, F9), ‘Sweet Sarrender’
(H.T., Weeks 1983, F10), ‘Blue River’ (H.T., Kordes
1984, F9), ‘BelAmi’ (H.T., Kordes 1985, F9), ‘Ranjana’
(H.T., Dr. B.P.Pal, F7), ‘Sunsprite’ (Flori., Kordes 1974,
F8), ‘Shocking Blue’ (Flori., Kordes 1974, F9), ‘Magali’
(Flori., Meilland 1986, F8), ‘Climbing Crimson Glory’
(Jackson & Perkins 1946, F9). Some other hybrid tea and
grandiflora roses with significant fragrance in clude: ‘Ari-
zona’, ‘Command Performance’, ‘Electron’, ‘Friendship’,
‘Love’, ‘Perfume Delight’, ‘Sundowner’, ‘Sheer Bliss’,
‘Sweet Surrender’ and ‘White Lightnin’. Some fragrant
floribundas are ‘Angel Face’, ‘Apricot Nector’, ‘Cathe-
dral’, ‘Cherish’, ‘Intrigue’ and ‘Saratoga’. ‘White Amer-
ica’ is a climber with a spicy scent. It has been observed
that roses with dark colour petals, more petals, thick pet-
als and velvety petals ar e highly scented. Red and pink
ones are most likely to smell like a ‘rose’, while white
and yellow ones incline towards orris, nasturtium, violet,
or lemon. Orange-shaded roses usually have scents of
fruit, orris, nasturtium, violet or clover. In addition, some
of today’s most fragrant Bush Roses are – ‘Scented Air’,
‘Ena Harness’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Margaret Merrill’
(1977), ‘Fountain’, ‘Royal Gold’, ‘Radox Bouquet’,
‘Double Delight’ (1977) and Climbers are –
‘Compassion’, ‘ Breath of Life’, ‘Rosy Mantle’. To this
list one can add ‘Papa Meilland’ (1963), ‘Oklahoma’
(1964), ‘Mr. Lincoln’ (1964), ‘Sutter’s Gold’ (1950),
‘Super Star’ (1960), ‘Tiffany’ (1954), ‘Lemon Spice’
(1966) – most fragrant roses grown in India. Some early
varieties need mention which serve as source of fragrance
are – ‘Lady Mary Fitzwilliam’ (1882), ‘Devonienses’,
‘Victor Verdier’, ‘Mme. Cr oline Testout’ (1890), ‘Ope-
lia’ (1912), ‘Catherine Kordes’ (1930), ‘Crimson Glory’
(1935), ‘Soleil d’Or’ (1900), ‘Sensation’ (1922), ‘Souve-
nir de Claudius Pernet’ (1920), ‘Julien Potin’ (1927),
‘Talisman’ (1929), ‘Souer Therese’ (1931), ‘Peace
(1945)’, ‘Signora’ (1936), ‘Charlotte Armstrong’ (1940),
‘Ena Harkness’ (1946), ‘Fashion’ (1949), ‘Sutter’s Gold’,
‘Lemon Spice’, ‘Fragrant Cloud’ (1963), ‘Prima Balle-
rina’ (1957), ‘Tenerife’ (1972), ‘Forgotton Dreams’
(1981), ‘Dolly Parton’ (1984), ‘Velvet Fragrance’ (1987),
‘Radox Bouquet (1980), ‘Mr Lincol’, ‘Rosy Mantle’
(1965), ‘Compassion’ (1972), ‘Rajni’ (1984), ‘Somasila’
(1987), ‘Breath of Life’, ‘Spartan’ (1955), ‘Little Dar-
ling’ (1956), ‘Elizabeth of Glamis’ (1965), ‘June Park’,
‘Avon’, ‘Josephine Bruce’, ‘Wendy Cussons’, ‘President
Hoover’, ‘Eden Rose’, ‘Tahiti’. ‘Chrysler Imperial’, one
of the most dependable fragrant roses of all times carries
a rose-clove flavour. ‘Queen Elizabeth’ is ideal for those
who wish to capture an outdoors or wood-like fragrance
inside their homes. ‘Mister Lincoln’ combines tea and
damask; ‘Camelot’ is spicy; ‘Tiffany’ – lemony; ‘Gra-
nada’ – spicy-tea; ‘Polynesian Sunset’ – fruity; ‘Junior
Miss’ like a tea rose. Other roses with distinctive
fragrances are: ‘Angel Wings’ – apple scent; ‘Mirandy’ –
rose–lemon. ‘Golden Showers’ – orris; ‘Sutter’s Gold’ –
quince; ‘Charlotte Armstrong – lemon–nasturtium; ‘Tickled
Pink’ delicate but long-lasting. Damask-type perfume is a
strong rose scent, but confined to a few varieties such as
‘Eiffel Tower’, ‘Crimson Glory’, ‘Papa Meilland’,
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1200
‘Avon’, etc. The various ‘Deshi’ roses such as Edouard
(red and pink), Chait, etc. also have a delightful fra-
grance48,51,5 3. In 1951, W. E. Lammerts found that a few
of the older r ose varieties were either only moderately
scented or had no scent at all. In 1956, J. A. Gamble
found on the examination of 3900 rose varieties, both old
and new, that 25% were scentless, 20% strongly scented,
and the rest had some scent.
Rose flower colours are due to the presence of pigments
like anthocyanin, flavonols and carotenoids. The com-
monly occurring anthocyanidins (cyanidin, peonidin and
pelargonidin) provide a distinctive colour, specially most
of the red-coloured and purple-coloured flower s. Simi-
larly, two commonly occurring flavonols are quercitin
and kaempferol. Besides, a number of carotenoids (yellow
and orange) and xanthophylls (yellow) are present. Gen-
erally, white or yellow varieties do not contain anthocya-
nidins, but are rich in kaempferol rather than quercetin.
Most of the red varieties have few carotenoids along with
high cyanidine and quercetin content. Pink roses have
both cyanidine and pelarghonidin, rather than quercetin.
In bright orange-coloured flowers, pelargonidin and cya-
nidine with kaempferol are present with high carotenoid
content15,54– 58. In newly opened roses anthocyanins occur
mainly in the diglucoside form called cyanin, peonin and
pelarginin. Each changes to less intensely coloured
monoglucoside with age under genetic control. Anth o-
cyanins are also pH indicators, being more red and fairly
stable in acid conditions but more blue and fading in al-
kaline media56,59. Cyanin is present alone in many mod-
ern r oses and together with one or both of th e other red
pigments in all other red or pink roses. Highly pigmented
roses are classical blood red in colour and produce vary-
ing shades when diluted. The most prominent red pig-
ment peonin occurs frequently in the Rosa sections
Cinnamoneae, Carolinae and Minutifoliae. Rose contain-
ing only peonin has not yet been reported. It occurs in R.
rugosa and many of its hybrids, where it imparts pinkish
or purplish shades of red. Cardinal red colours of culti-
vars ‘Europeana’ and ‘Adalaide Hoodless’ are due to
peonin. Scarlet and shrimp pink shades in roses (‘Inde-
pendence’ and ‘Tropicana’) are due to the presence of
pelargonin. It has not been reported in any wild rose.
Pelargonin seems to appear only in the presence of cya-
nin, where it may or may not be associated with peonin56.
Marshall et al.56 and Marshall and Collicutt5 9 studied
pigments of native species, hardy and non-hardy cultivars
and seedlings, and reported that each of the three red pi g-
ments was highly heritable and inherited quantitatively.
Cyanin and peonin ratings showed some dominant
genetic characteristics, while pelargonin was in part re-
cessive. Three pigments appeared to be controlled by few
to many genes and several levels of pigmentation devel-
oped due to interactions among the three pigments. These
genes control the amount of different pigments and main-
tain a positive correlation between cyanin and either or
both of peonin and pelargonin. Genes sometimes elimi-
nate cyanin and increase the concentration of peonin and
pelargonin. Interaction between peonin and pelarginidin
creates difficulty in breeding among the recent rose culti-
vars. Genes for cyanin wer e found in old roses of Europe
and Asia. Peonin was possibly introduced from Austrian
copper when yellow was introduced into hybrid roses.
Many old peonin-bearing cultivars, and R. rugosa and R.
roxburghii have been used as parents in breeding pro-
grammes. Segregation could have separated genetic fa c-
tors for peonin which, when combined with other genetic
factors, resulted in the pelargonin pigment appearing
where n o scarlet had been known previously59 –64. Bright
orange colour is derived from a mixture of pigment cya-
nidin mixed with carotenoid. Likewise, bronze colour-
ation may be due to the admixtures of flavonoids in
higher concentration with carotenoids. Pink roses have
both cyanidin and pelargonidin and in th e scarlet colour
pelargonidin is more than cyanidin. In the bright orange-
coloured flowers pelargonidin and cyanidin with
kaempferol are present with high carotenoid content. Ca-
rotenoid is mostly present in yellow and orange roses.
Anthocyanins impart pink and red colours, particularly to
3,5-diglycosyl anthocyanidin s in association with 3-
glycosylated flavonols2,65,66. This broad, general informa-
tion on various pigments present in differ ent flower
colours would be useful in the choice of parents for hy-
The rose flower colour has a complex inheritance with
several genes controlling different flower colours. The
inheritance of pink flower in R. multiflora hybrid popula-
tions is controlled by a single or two complementary
genes. Often pink colour is dominant over red or dark
red. Similarly, light yellow is dominant over deep yellow.
For developing white or yellow varieties, one should use
only similar coloured varieties. When a multi-coloured or
bicolour ed rose is used as a par ent in hybridization, it is
most likely that as a r esult of random segregation of
genes, the hybrid seedlings will have a wider range of
flower colours. The flower colour is mainly due to addi-
tive gene action of several genes or different kinds of
pigments. It may be possible to some extent to choose
and manipulate the parental combinations in hybridiza-
tion in order to achieve a particular flower colour by
pooling the favourable additive genes and random segre-
gation and recombination of genes for the desired
pigments in new varieties to be developed18.
In rose there are varieties where colour changes as they
develop, mature, fade and die. The popular rose ‘Mas-
querade’ is yellow in bud, orange–yellow when freshly
open and deep red before fading. Yellow carotenoid
is produced at early stage, whereas cyanin synthesis is
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1201
delayed until maturity. The undersides of red petals have
yellow patches, indicating that anth ocyanin synthesis in
this variety is light-dependent. It has been identified that
the gene or genes causing the colour change in this vari-
ety are dominant. Light and temperature affect the colour
variations in some roses. Cooler temperatures enhance
rose colours towards darker shades. Heat of mid-summer
changes pink or yellow roses to white or near white.
Temperature and light also induce variations in rose col-
our by affecting the availability of sugars in the bud
stage67,68. Temperature plays a major role on antho-
cyanins biosynthesis69. Environmental factors (tempera-
ture and light intensity) affect petal pigmentation70.
Higher accumulation of anthocyanin takes place at low
temperature and higher temperatures result in a lower
concentration of anthocyanins in roses71,72. Pigment pr o-
duction ceased at temperatures above 30C (ref. 73). Re-
duced supply of carbohydrates at higher temperature may
be the cause of reduction of anthocyanin contents74 –76.
Sound knowledge of different groups of pigments, their
biosynthetic pathways, biochemical mechanisms, co-
pigmentation effects and change in pH in fluencing flower
colour will help create n ew colours in roses. Kanichi
Arisumi (1964–1968) has published a series of four pa-
pers entitled ‘Studies in the flower colours in Rosa’ high-
lighting the role of biochemical and genetic control in
practical breeding61 ,62. Rose breeders should take all these
factors into consideration when selectively breeding for
Breeding for brown colour
Brown roses are unique and fascinating. Le Grice49 intro-
duced a series of striking brown-colour ed roses –
‘Amberlight’, ‘Tombrown’, ‘Cesper’, etc.41. Some more
beautiful brown roses have been reported – ‘Chocolate
Prince’, ‘Colorbreak’, ‘Hot Chocolate’, ‘Hot Cocoa’,
‘Brown Velvel’, ‘Mayflower rose’, ‘Auguste Renoir’,
‘Tasman Bay’, ‘Dark Moments’, etc.77. Important varie-
ties for development of br own r oses ar e ‘Jocelyn’,
‘Tane’, ‘Mar y Sumner’, ‘Princesse’, ‘Kirsty Jane’, ‘Mary
Breeding for better red roses
Cyanidin imparts red colour. Two more pigments –
chrysanthemin and paeonin – produce much more bril-
liant red and are less prone to fading, than cyanidin.
Varieties containing large amounts of these pigments may
be selected by breeders in breeding programmes to de-
velop perfect red roses. Climbing rose varieties ‘Francois
juraiville’, ‘Doroth y Perkins’ and ‘Souvenir de la Mal-
maison’ contain large amounts of chrysanthemin. Several
rose species (R. foetida bicolour, R. rugosa, R. stellata,
etc.) and few floribunda varieties (‘Piccolo’-Tantau 1957,
‘Red pinocchio’-Boerner 1947 and ‘Ruby lips’-Swim
1958) also contain paeonin59,6 2,78.
Breeding for better yellow and orange roses
Pelargonidin has the tendency to co-exist with the
Kaempfer ol type of yellow rose, but is not n ormally
found with the quercetin type. Kaempferol and quercetin
are flavonols present in a number of rose species and
varieties, and generally found in most yellow roses in
combination with carotenoid. Mixture of pelargonidin
and carotenoid will produce brilliance of colour. ‘Louise
de Funes’ (Meilland 1984) is derived from a mixture of
the pigment cyanidin with carotenoid62 ,79.
Breeding for miniature roses
Mini roses are a fascinating group of flowers with all the
characteristics of large roses reduced to mini proportions.
Popularity of miniature roses is increasing day-by-day
due to their growth habits, and diverse and interesting
flower forms and colour. Their origin, breeding system
and multipurpose use are interesting. Miniature roses are
now the fastest growing segment of the rose market.
There is tremendous scope for multidisciplinary research
for impr ovement of miniature roses. The increasing popu-
larity of miniature roses has motivated the hybridizers to
successfully develop many new miniatures. Many minia-
tures do not make good seed, but they are good in pro-
ducing the pollen. Therefore, minis can be used as pollen
parent and crossed with climbers, floribundas and shrub
roses. When a miniature is crossed with a climber, we
may get a mini, or a climber, or something in between.
Mini gene is generally dominant, so one can expect 90%
of the progeny to be miniatures. Literature has already
been generated on different aspects – history, develop-
ment, cultur e, uses, breeding, improvement, characteriza-
tion, available varieties, etc.80–86. All these have been
Dominant and recessive factors
Several important desirable characters behave as domi-
nants. Their expression depends on the action of one, or
at most few factors. Climbing habit is dominant to dwarf
bush habit due to the action of a single factor. Desirable
climber or pillar-type and bush-type can be developed
through backcrossing. We can always recover one half of
the pr ogeny as th e recessive dwarf bush habit and a small
percentage of these dwarf progeny with the desirable fea-
tures of the climber37. Dull foliage is recessive as dull-
leaved varieties always produce plants with dull foliage.
Crosses between dull glossy results in glossy an d dull-
foliaged plants. Long urn-shaped bud is dependent on
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1202
dominant factor/s. Short-budded varieties (‘Crimson
Glory’) give only short-budded seedlings when crossed
with other short-budded varieties (‘Captain Th omas’). It
has been experimentally proven that doubleness is domi-
nant and quantitative in its expression. ‘Recurrent Flow-
ering’, ‘dwarf character’ and ‘moss character’ are
inherited monogenically17 ,34–36 ,88. Double flowers, pink
flower colour and prickles are inherited as single domi-
nant genes or as complementary genes in crosses between
diploid R. multiflora hybrids3 7,89.
Knowledge accumulated through breeding experiments
indicates that different characters – vigour, fragrance,
thorniness, strength of neck, length of cutting stem, width
of leaf, bud shape, etc. are intermediate in their expres-
sion and quantitative nature of inheritance due to intera c-
tion of many factors. One should selectively cross plants
having dominant factors as glossy leaf, long bud, double
flowers, mildew r esistan ce, strong necks, well-shaped
buds and flowers, wide leaves, etc. in the breeding pr o-
gramme. Backcrosses are also necessary to obtain desired
combinations17 ,34,36 ,37,88 ,89.
Colour inheritance and limitations of breeding
Knowledge on genetic backgr ound of rose breeding is
limited. Breeding experiments on ornamental crops are
comparatively less in comparison to other agricultural
crops. There is lack of proper planning for breeding tech-
niques on ornamental crops according to the needs of
consumer. Also, there is gap between the research institu-
tions and breeding companies. Research topics are cho-
sen, managed and restricted within the institutions.
Breeding experiments on ornamental crops should be de-
signed according to the needs of the breeding compa-
nies90 . Geneticists have n ot been able to develop a proper
model system for rose breeding due to its high heterozy-
gotic and ploidy nature and difficulties in sexual repro-
duction6. To understand the genetic complexity of
modern rose an attempt has been made, to trace out the
evolutionary family tree of a rose cultivar ‘America’s
Junior Miss’. Its flower bud is ovoid, flower medium
size, double, high centred, fragrant, soft coral-pink. Foli-
age glossy, vigorous, bushy, abundant bloom. It has de-
veloped by crossing ‘Seventeen’ Demure seedling.
Figure 1 shows the complex evolutionary structure of hy-
bridization for development of rose in general and
‘America’s Junior Miss’ in particular. Modern hybrids
carry the genes of many ancestors and it is practically
impossible to predict the r esults of any specific cr oss. It
is not yet clear whether blossom colour, leaf shape, stat-
ure, disease resistance of a plant is controlled by a single
gene or many. Modern hybrid roses carr y genes for many
colours, which are either in dominant or recessive form.
A single dominant gene governs leaf texture, disease re-
sistance or susceptibility, plant stature, petalage, etc. The
interaction of several genes controls vigour, fragrance,
thorn structure, rigidity and length of flower stem and
shape of flower. Dark maroon–red flower colour is de-
pendent on recessive factors. Red (rose-red to Tyrian
rose) can be obtained by crossing deep red varieties
(‘Crimson Glory’ or ‘Night’) to yellow varieties. Red
flowers sometimes fade rapidly to magenta–red. Nonfad-
ing dark maroon–red colour (‘World's Fair’) can be
developed by crossing red with maroon varieties.
Orange–yellow, yellow, white and scarlet are recessive in
their inheritance. Bicoloured (‘yellow and silver r everse’)
petal colour in ‘Condessa de Sastago’ and ‘Contrast’ is
recessive to self-colour. Dark red, scarlet, orange, yellow
or white, are recessive. Dominant and recessive nature of
different characters along with pollination mechanism has
been reported by different workers17,3 4–36 ,43,56, 88,89, 91.
Characterization is important for corr ect identification of
cultivars. It helps understand the genetic diversity, trace
out th e phylogenetic relationship, taxonomical status,
preparation of catalogue, variation patterns, identification
of desirable/novel genes, hybridization, r egistration, plant
variety protection, farmer’s right, etc. Different parame-
ters of cytology, morphology, physiology, chemical and
biochemical, DNA markers, etc. ar e utilized for charac-
terization. Different characters like stem, young leaf and
flower colour; pickles per unit area and prickle shape;
petals per flower; leaf and petal size; number of leaflets;
pollen grain size and fertility; phenolic compounds in
leaves and petals; chlorophyll content in leaves; carote-
noids in petals; RAPD markers, etc. have been taken into
consideration for characterization of different rose varieties.
Recently, about 150 rose cultivars have been critically
analysed. Good amount of variety-specific morph o-
chemical characters and desirable genes have been identi-
fied through such characterization14. Analysis showed
that carotenoids play an important role for the visible
colours of roses. Carotenoids in combination with antho-
cyanidins and flavonols will be significant to breeders for
selecting proper genotype to develop selective combination
of flower colour as desired by trade92. Half of the wild
rose species is polyploidy and chromosome numbers vary
from 2n = 2x = 14 to 2n = 8x = 56 (refs 93, 94). Pentaploids
nature of R. canina shows unusual asymmetric meiosis95–98.
Rosa prealucens from the Sin o-Himalayan region had
the highest naturally occurring ploidy (decaploidy) in the
genus99. Changes in ploidy level during evolutionary
process have been suggested due to adverse environ-
mental conditions (high temperature)100. Neumeyer se-
lected and prepared a list of rose species and their hybrids
according to chromosome number as reported in Modern
Roses 8. Gudin and Mouchotte21 studied pollination
mechanism, seed maturation and germination for better
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1203
hybridization. Singh et al.2 7 identified parent varieties
(‘Sweet Afton’, ‘Pink Par fait’, ‘Crioson Glory’, ‘Charles
Mallerin’, ‘Golden Splendour’, Buccaneer’, ‘Swati’,
‘Anna Wheatcraft’, ‘Charleston’, ‘First Prize’, Orange-
ade’, etc.) having high female and male fertility. Charac-
terization and identification of rose varieties on the basis
of molecular characters have been reported1 01–110 . Re-
cently, different aspects of breeding and pigment compo-
sition have been discussed with special reference to
development of coloured tuberose111.
‘Sport’ is a natural mechanism by which a plant of an ex-
isting variety puts forth a shoot in which genetic change
has occurred. This genetic mechanism plays an important
role in increasing the range of variation and giving rise to
a new variety. The most important bud sport is the climb-
ing habit in Hybrid Teas. Some important climbing sports
are available in ‘Crimson Glory’, ‘Mrs Sam McGredy’,
‘Climbing Blue Moon’, ‘Climbing Cinderella’, ‘Climbing
Fragrant Cloud’, ‘Climbing Guitare’, ‘Climbing High
Field’, ‘Climbing Kronenbourg’, ‘Climbing Ladies’
Choice’, ‘Climbing Miss Harp’, ‘Climbing Mr. Lincoln’,
‘Climbing Over the Rainbow’, ‘Climbing Peace’, ‘Climb-
ing Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Climbing Rina Herholdt’, ‘Climb-
ing Sterling Silver’, ‘Climbing Yellow Doll’, ‘Climbing
Zambra’, etc. About 18% of the varieties in the Hybrid
Tea group have originated as sports (‘Mme Butterfly’,
‘Lady Sylvia’, ‘Rapture’, ‘Better Times’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Royal
Beauty’, etc.). A huge amount (about 54%) of varieties
have been developed through bud sports in the Dwarf
polyanthas (‘Miss Edith Cavell’, ‘Coral Cluster’, ‘Juliana
Rose’, ‘Locarno’, ‘Cameo’, ‘Ideal’, ‘Little Dorrit’, etc.).
A number of striped r oses have been developed (‘Care-
less Love’ from ‘Red Radiance’; ‘Candy Stripe’ from
‘Pink Peace’; ‘Banhar’ from ‘Charlotte Armstrong’;
‘Harry Wheatcraft’ from ‘Picadilly’). Few more bud
sports are ‘Anand Rao’, ‘Balwant’, ‘Car eless Love’,
‘Chandralekha’, ‘Chicago’, ‘City of Lucknow’, ‘Dazzling
Flame’, ‘Durgapur Delight’, ‘Family Circle’, ‘Harry
Wheatcroft’, ‘Hutton Village’, ‘Janaki, Kanchani’, ‘Nava
Sadabahar’, ‘Orange Sparks’, ‘Pink Montezuma’, ‘Priti’,
‘Rose Bansal’, ‘Sahasra Dhara’, ‘Shanti’, ‘Shirakawa
Star’, ‘Siddartha’, ‘Tapti’, ‘Tata Centenary’, ‘White
Queen Elizabeth’, etc.32,112.
Many new rose varieties have been developed through
induced mutation technique using both physical and
chemical mutagens. More than 67 mutant varieties have
been reported worldwide. Induced mutagenesis at its pre-
sent status appears to be well standardized, efficient and
cost effective1 4,113– 119.
Recurrent irradiation means irradiation of plant materials
that had already been irradiated in one or more subse-
quent generations. Such irradiation methodology ex-
panded more genetic variability which oth erwise not
possible through single irradiation. Recurrent irradiation
induced more genetic variability and increased mutations
and spectrum of mutations in rose14.
Colchi mutation: Colchicine can be used for induction
of flower colour mutations in rose14.
Management of chimera: Diplontic or intrasomatic
selections are considered as the main bottlenecks in muta-
tion breeding. In vitro technique offers advantages over
conventional methods. Novel tissue culture technique has
been standardized for management of chimeric tissue
through direct shoot regeneration. Chimera management
and in vitro mutagenesis have more scope for developing
Rose cannot synthesize blue pigment delphinidin due to a
deficiency of the enzyme dihydrokaempferol 35
hydroxylase. Presence of co-pigments and vacuolar pH
affect flower colour. All basic information/techniques on
flavonoid composition, pH of petal juice, transfer of ‘blue
gene’, etc. have been worked out. The most exciting
development of molecular biology is the synthesis of blue
rose. Calgene Pacific Company, Melbourne; Suntory
Limited, Japan, and Petunia Genetics Group at the Insti-
tute National de la Recherche Agronomique, Dijion,
France, have jointly developed transgenic rose which had
blue hues120– 123.
A lot of br eeding work can be done in rose to develop
new genetic variations using conventional breeding
techniques in segregating population due to its high
heterozygosis and polyploidy nature90.
Br eeding technique and wise selection of parents for
hybridization will h elp to some extent achieve th e
desired results through directive breeding.
Hybridizers in India can achieve success in develop-
ing desired varieties according to the demand of inter-
national markets if they have proper laboratory
facilities and patronage, suitable trial ground, mone-
tary benefits and markets, recognition and royalty as
their counterparts in other countries124,125.
Every rose breeder must have definite objectives for
breeding. A good rose hybridizer must be, as far as
possible, technically sound and experienced. He
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 114, NO. 6 , 25 MARCH 2018 1204
should be scientific-minded, methodical, patient and
should have knowledge about selection of ‘aceptor’
and ‘donor’, pedigree and history, and all other desir-
able characteristics of rose2 4.
Selective breeding has now been realized as the most
essential to develop varieties according to requirement
of the trade. This will be possible in two ways – utili-
zing all available knowledge as guidelines and identi-
fication of desirable genes through characterization of
varieties prior to cross-breeding. Classical breeding is
still a powerful tool in the breeder’s hands for im-
provement as there is huge pool of variation in the yet
unexploited Rosa species21.
Induced mutation combined with in vitro technique
has tremendous potential to change one or a few char-
acters of an otherwise outstanding cultivar without al-
tering the remaining and often unique genotypes14.
Molecular techniques have been applied recently to
Rosa, but further research is needed before they can
be used with full efficiency.
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6. Gu din, S., Improvement of rose varietal creation in the world. In
World Confer ence on Horticult ural Research, Inter national Soci-
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ACKNOWLEDGEMEN TS. I thank my colleague s, nurseryme n and
amat eur rose breeder s for their voluminou s contributions in the breed-
ing of roses, cha racterization and flower pigm ents. I acknowledge the
long association with CSIR-Na tiona l Botanical Research Institu te,
Luck now, where I did all research on differ ent ornamenta l crops.
Receiv ed 23 June 2017; r evised accepted 11 October 2017
doi: 10.18 520/cs/v114/i06/1194-1206