Bourbon Roses Unveiled

Rose flowers are cultivated for their fragrance and their garden value since the antiquity. Very ancient cultivars became famous locally for their specific use and competitive horticultural activities progressively established, leading with time, to landraces with limited polymorphism. The most famous examples, are the oil-bearing Damask roses from Iran and the Yueyue Fen garden strain from China. In 1817, a new rose, allegedly a hybrid from the two previous lineages, was discovered at the Reunion. From this plant, as early as the 1820s, a new founder group, the Bourbon roses, was developed in France, that immediately stir up deep passions among botanists and skilled enthusiasts. Today, more than 30.000 named cultivars have been raised either as garden and landscape plants, for the cut rose market, or even as indoor pot plants. The market handles billions of euros a year, making the rose as the most economically important crop worldwide. Following the inheritance of SSR DNA markers, in this paper, we propose a reconstitution of the very early lineage of the Bourbon roses, clarifying one of the major step, if not the major one, that link the very ancient heritage roses to the modern roses.

Link to the article: On the Origin of Cultivated Roses: DNA Authentication of the Bourbon Rose Founding Pedigree