Unusual rose sucker

TracyTaubOctober 20, 2011

I saw a rose sucker from a commercially grown rose bush that has grown to five feet in height within three months. It is tree-like, with no leaves or branches up the trunk, which is at least two inches in diameter. The trunk is covered in thick, nodule-based thorns, one on top of the other, almost reptilian-like in appearance. The foliage is a canopy at the top, spreading out in a four foot diameter.

It is clearly in the rose family, but like nothing I've ever seen. Its roots are so strong that they have pierced the bottom of the plastic container, rendering the pot unmovable without some serious spading.

The initial bare root was for a rosh bush, not a standard rose. The gardener who owns it has been growing roses for decades and has never seen anything like it before, either.

Any ideas what this would be?

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jerijen(Zone 10)

'Dr. Huey' is a once-blooming Climbing rose of great vigor.
If you check the Doc on HelpMeFind, you can find photos of Dr. Huey foliage, which might be helpful.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 10:15PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

What part of the country does this rose grow in? Dense thorns are not often normal
Could you tell us about the symmetry of the leaves up at the top and how far apart the leaves up there are?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Someone needs to take many photos of this sucker. Good, clear, close-up photos of all the plant parts. Including shots as close to where it grows from the existing plant as possible. Otherwise, you will receive many guesses based upon the individual guesser's experience and fears. I can tell you, so far, you've had a suggestion for a common root stock, as well as beginning diagnostic questions hoping not to have to give you the death sentence of a rather nasty virus. Without proper photographic documentation, there is no way for anyone of us to give you a decent idea what you're looking at. Kim

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 12:12AM
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Thanks. I will try to get photos this weekend. It is not anything like a regular rose bush, including Dr. Huey. It is shaped like a tree, with a strong center trunk and canopy at the top. The leaves are rose-plant-like, although much bigger. Again, this is a very, very odd looking plant, certainly nothing like I or the professional gardner who owns it have ever seen.

I suspect it might be a South American, Amazonian root stock, given its enormity and that rose breeding has shifted to that part of the world. The rain forests there are covered with wild roses, but I have yet to find a list of roses native to that area. The trunk is indeed totally covered with huge thorns. It might have been intended for grafting a standard rose, but got mixed up in the bush stack.

When I return for the photos, I will get the name of the breeder/company that produced it. It truly is bizarre.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 7:45AM
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This sucker is so unusual that if you've seen it, you would recognize it from the description I gave. It is clearly not the product of a virus or mutation; it is some kind of new grafting root stock.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:48AM
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I am also looking forward to seeing pictures - close ups of the leaves, the prickles, shots of the entire thing, etc. Look for any buds and take pictures of them too - even tiny ones. Very interesting sounding!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 10:25AM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

There are no roses native to the Amazon, sorry. Wild roses are restricted to the northern hemisphere. Florist rose cultivation is big in the tropical parts of South America and Africa but in greenhouses, and all hybrids developed for florist production. I am not aware of any rose breeding going on there, just cut flower production for export to North America and Europe.

This sucker does sound very interesting. How old is it? If it's 2" in diameter it sounds like it's some years old. Have you seen flowers on it? I am looking forward to photos!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 12:36PM
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Roses do in fact grow in the Andes Mountains, but as trees, the Polylepis family. Rosa mosqueta grows throughout the Andes, but as a naturalized rose.


After speaking with a botanist, he suspects it is either one of the Andes Polylepis or a Silk Floss Tree. The Silk Floss, Ceiba speciosa, is often used in grafting of other plants but has a tendency to sucker and overtake. Its leaves are pinnate, though, unlike the plant I saw, but he said the pinnate quality often doesn't show up clearly in the first year. The Polylepis are usually slow growing, like my specimen, but he said they might be much faster growing at a lower elevation. Both the Polylepis and Silk Floss are covered in thorns; both are tropical or subtropical and will not tolerate our winters without good covering.

In any case, a commercial grower has decided to use a very unusual rootstock! And to take chances by putting the final plant on market.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 3:34PM
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Tracy, where in the "United States" do you live, per your profile? You're discussing South American species and roses in the Andes as if that's where you are. Silk Floss trees grow readily here in Southern California and sometimes self seed, particularly in potted plants where they find more fertile soil and better water. The "Rosa Mosqueta" you discuss is Rubiginosa, the British Sweet Briar. It is an introduced plant in the Andes where it has naturalized. Reg is correct. While there are members of Rosaceae Family in the Southern Hemisphere, "roses" do not occur naturally outside the Northern Hemisphere. All roses enjoyed in South America, South Africa and other Southern Hemisphere countries are there because someone took them there.

I'm guessing once a detailed look is taken at the "sucker" in your plant, it's going to be determined to be a volunteer seedling of some tree. There aren't rose species nor hybrids which present themselves as this one has been reported, even under extreme conditions. Attempting to produce commercial roses on other types of plants, even though they may belong to the same Family, is too hit and miss and usually fail. Even Luther Burbank, who practiced "Island of Dr. Moreau" gardening, had limited success with such experiments. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: R. Rubiginosa on Wikipedia

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:17PM
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I know, as I stated above, that the mosqueta was naturalized. The Polylepis are rose family, as I stated, but not what we think of here as rose bushes, as I implied. They are trees, as I stated. The sucker in the plant I described, as I wrote, is coming directly from the root ball, therefore not a seed from another plant. I've been through this site. Most queries don't have pictures.

Nevermind. I'll take it elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 4:48PM
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Tessiess, SoCal Inland, 9b, 1272' elev

Please post photos. I'm very curious as to what it looks like.

Earlier this year I spent quite a bit of time observing the species roses grown at Cliff Orent's Eurodesert Roses in Morongo Valley, CA. MANY species I'd never, ever seen before, and numerous with very unusual/strange growth habits. There was such a variety, and eventhough I went multiple times and was in the gardens for hours and hours, I didn't get the chance to study every species rose close up. I would find something just so very different that I'd take a lot of time looking at that rose, which meant I didn't get to do that with all of them. So more undiscovered (for me!) gems. I saw hips the likes of which I'd never seen (one that even looked like a small, prickly flying cucumber*g*), the same with foliage and thorns. Growth habits of prostrate on the ground to behemoth upright jungles. So I'm looking forward to seeing what you have found!


    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 6:13PM
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anntn6b(z6b TN)

The first question should have been:
are there stipules at the base of the leaves?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:49PM
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petaloid(SoCal 10a/24)

Tracy, you're in Ohio, right?

To my knowledge, no such rootstock is being used there.

My best guess is that what you saw is a separate, exotic plant that is growing in the same pot as the rose bush. Perhaps an exotic seed ended up in the potting soil.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 12:29PM
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