Beware of careless scientists

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Karl K
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:49 pm

Beware of careless scientists

Post: # 73596Post Karl K
Wed Dec 22, 2021 11:46 am

A few months ago I came across a paper in which the authors claimed to have crossed the wild-type sweet pea (Lathyrus odorata) with 'Painted Lady', the first color variant to be introduced so long, long ago.

They were wrong.

I wrote to one of the authors to explain that I had 19th century reports from three men who made the cross and got very different results. One of these men was Charles Darwin. My polite note was not well received. I was assured that "the science" was not in error.

The simple fact is that the sweet pea strain being distributed as 'Cupani' is an imposter. If you want the genuine article you can get seeds from Dr. Keith Hammett of Auckland, NZ, or visit Sicily to collect your own.

Similarly, the original 'Painted Lady' was long-since replaced by a more stable look-alike. Breeding experiments dating to the early 1900s suggest it was already gone by then.

Now there's this:
Theor. Appl. Genet (2001) 102: 398-404
The domestication process of the Modern Rose: genetic structure and allelic composition of the rose complex
M. Martin, F. Piola, D. Chessel, M. Jay, P. Heizmann
p. 402
(2) "Common China" (no. 58) and "Bengale Animé des Anglais" (no. 54) belong to the group of the "Chinenses". Their present non-discrimination confirms the failure of Raymond (1999) to distinguish these two cultivars using 30 morphological, three colorimetric, 16 chemical (flavonoids) and three isoenzymatic characters.

This all sounds as obscure and scientific as anything can be, but I object.

On page 399 of the paper, 'Bengale Animé des Anglais' is said to have been created in 1832. This is certainly not Knight's 'Animating', which was introduced to France from England prior to 1817. The alternative is 'Rose Animated', raised by Hibbert and Buist of Philadelphia, PA, and introduced prior to 1832.

If the various modern authors could not distinguish this variety from 'Old Blush', they must not have smelled or seen either.

"No. 2. *Rose Animated, daily, is a very fine rose, and its merits are appreciated by those who have it in their collections. It is more double, and better formed than No. 1 [Rosa indica, common China or daily], and partakes of the fragrance of No. 8 [Rosa odorata], is perfectly hardy, colour a fine blush, grows freely, and flowers abundantly; and is coming into great repute.
*Those marked thus * we have grown from seed."

Furthermore, C. M. Hovey (June 1835) wrote, "The animated Daily is a very desirable rose, as it retains its form for many days, closing up every night, a peculiarity quite uncommon."

Buist's 'Animated' was (is?) literally animated, smelled better than 'Old Blush' and lasted longer.

Last time I visited, there was a rose at the San Jose Heritage Rose Garden identified as, 'Bengale Animée'. ... animee.jpg
I don't know that this is Buist's rose, and I never hung around after dark so see whether it closed. And last time I saw it, I didn't know that I should be sniffing it.

Karl K
Posts: 1452
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Beware of careless scientists

Post: # 73602Post Karl K
Sun Dec 26, 2021 3:03 pm

J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 131(1): 66-73 (2006)
Characterization and Genetic Relationships of Wild Species and Old Garden Roses Based on Microsatellite AnalysisValentina Scariot, Aziz Akkak, and Roberto Botto

This is an interesting attempt to link garden roses to their wild relatives, and worth some attention. But does fall short in some regards. For example, they claim to have 'Parks' Yellow Tea-Scented', even though this rose only exists in the imagination of garden writers who prefer to copy old errors. In fact, Parks returned from his mission with two roses.
Parks' Yellow China Rose is Rosa banksiae lutea.
Parks' White and Yellow China Rose was very double, very fragrant but not Tea-scented. The cream-colored flowers had some yellow in the center, but needed heat to open fully. The leaves were dull, like those of 'Old Blush'.

The Yellow Tea-scented rose was a self-seedling of the Blush Tea-scented. It was semi-double, light yellow with a slight odor of tea (fine Hyson' tea). It opened well and set seed freely. It was parent to Devoniensis and Safrano, among others.

But on the plus side, the authors may have solved an old mystery:

Two cases of uncertain attribution to these sections were examined: 'Andrewsii', considered belonging either to the section Pimpinellifoliae (Beals, 1985) or to the section Rosa, Moss group (Beales et al., 1998), was genetically closer to Pimpinellifoliae; ...
In other words, this old Moss rose is likely a hybrid of a Moss and a member of the Pimpinellifoliae.

It is worth repeating an old observation:
W. Paul, The Rose Garden: In Two Divisions. pt. 1, p. 84 (1848)
According to the statements of M. Boitard, there is scarcely any limit to the variation of Roses produced from seed. He affirms that M. Noisette, a French cultivator, has never sown seeds of the Chinese Roses (R. INDICA) without raising some Scotch Roses (R. SPINOSISSIMA) from them. He states, This fact is not supported by a solitary occurrence, but has been frequently observed by that cultivator, and is further attested by the evidence of M. Laffay, who raises seedlings on an extensive scale, and has this year between 200,000 and 300,000. It were easy to conceive a mistake occurring in the gathering, storing, or sowing of the seeds; but when the facts have been noticed repeatedly, and by different individuals of known probity and great horticultural attainments, the evidence, we think, must be deemed conclusive.
As a more general objection, I find these dendrograms to be unhelpful. Some old roses have lineages involving more than two ancestors. Can we look at Cardinal de Richelieu, Reine des Violettes, William Lobb and Génie de Châteaubriand without suspecting more than a little Tuscany in their backgrounds?

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