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Scarlet Moss

Scarlet Moss
Rose of the Month For May, 2009
by Gail Trimble

Moss on a Bud Moss roses originally began as sports of Centifolia and Damask roses. According to the Encyclopedia of Roses by Charles & Brigid Quest-Ritson, “mossiness is a mutation…whereby the sepals, calyces and pedicels are covered in a growth that resembles moss. This moss is hard to the touch and sticky, and it smells of resin. Moss roses were widely bred and selected by French breeders in the middle of the 19th century.” Some of the most famous moss roses include the cabbage shaped ‘Communis’, or ‘Old Pink Moss’, a medium pink moss introduced before 1720; ‘Henri Martin’, a medium red moss introduced in 1862; and ‘William Lobb’, a mauve moss introduced in 1855.

Moss Prickles ‘Scarlet Moss’ was bred in the United States by Ralph Moore in 1988 from a cross of two unnamed seedlings: (Dortmund x miniature seedling) x (Dortmund x miniature striped seedling). Introduced by Sequoia Nursery, it is classified by the American Rose Society as a medium red miniature with a garden rating of 7.9. ‘Scarlet Moss’ has intensely red blooms of 12-15 petals with bright golden stamens and dark green foliage. Being a moss rose, it has an abundance of prickles and has a tendency to mildew in our area.

Valuable in hybridizing, particularly as a pollen parent, ‘Scarlet Moss’ is the parent of 12 roses, including ‘Mel Hulse’, a mauve moss hybridized by Paul Barden in 2002, named after the renowned rosarian and rose rustler who was the Garden Maintenance Director of the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden until his death on January 22, 2008.

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