|The original Rosa multiflora|
I've been propagating it successfully for a few years now by seed and by cuttings. (Many American rose growers cringed when they read those words.) In April of this year I began transplanting the new plants from the nursery bed to the rose walk and one is in bloom. Not only is it in bloom, it is a beautiful sport. It's most curious because I always believed species roses remained true to the mother plant whichever way they are propagated. But I know now there are many sports of species roses, perhaps a different shade of pink, or a double version etc. I'm very excited to see this sport as it's quite impressive. While all the other R. multifloras have tiny pinkish buds, this one has slightly larger and plumper, creamy yellow buds. While the original has single white flowers in clusters, this one has double white flowers in clusters. And the bloom is much larger ... approximately 1-1/2 across. All the other features of this rose are as one would expect from R. multiflora.
It has the scent and appearance of an old rose, flowering on the previous or first seasons canes.
|R. multiflora Sport|
|Double R.multiflora sport|
Because I always believed propagation of species would result in true plants to the original, I didn't think to mark which was by seed and which was by cutting. I regret that now.
The cutting or seed was taken and potted up in the summer of 2013, then brought inside to grow on during the winter. It went into the nursery bed last spring, where it remained with all the other R. multiflora cuttings and seedlings, and it came through last summer and winter outdoors with flying colors.
A little background. This rose started out as root stock for either a tea or floribunda in my father's garden many years ago. It reverted to root stock probably due to a bad graft. And although this "sport" appears to be an old rose type, I wonder if some of the tea or floribunda genes transferred (this is why I'm leaning to it being propagated by seed) ... keeping in mind that many of the modern roses we have today have long pedigrees, a past which included the crossing of old roses. Sports are gene mutations and I wonder if there is a sort of transfer or passing along. I would imagine the odds of gene transfer are higher when propagated via seed. Time to pull out my books, I think.
I don't know yet how it will grow. Will it send out long canes (it's starting to) like the other R. multifloras I have? Will the little genetic mutation it presently has remain in the rose, or will it revert to its species type? Will it bloom intermittently throughout the summer? I doubt that part, but you never know. As a sport, it's a new rose. Anything could happen. I'm going to mark it for propagation and hope for the best. It is just ... that ... lovely.