'Muriel', bred by Ralph Moore, California 1989.
Breeding: R. bracteata X 'Guinée'.
In the past 20 years, Ralph Moore has made significant progress in working with R. bracteata. In 1989, Mr. Moore released a new hybrid created from a cross of R. bracteata and the old climbing Hybrid Tea 'Guinée' (1938). Only a few seedlings resulted from that cross, and the one that was chosen for release was named 'Muriel', after Mr. Moore's mother, Muriel L. (Witherell) Moore.
'Muriel' is a striking hybrid very much in the typical Bracteata style. It is a vigorous grower that is best used as a climber. The foliage is dark green, very glossy, and extremely disease resistant. (Bracteata hybrids are rarely affected by Mildew, and seldom troubled by Blackspot) The canes are very thorny, also a typical Bracteata trait. The blooms are quite large; about 4 to 5" across, semi-double (8 to 10 petals) and a silvery light pink color. There is a good fragrance that is variable with weather and cultural conditions. 'Muriel' puts on a wonderful display of bloom in early summer with moderate rebloom throughout the rest of the season. It has greater vigor than most of its offspring, but this also means that it can get too large for smaller gardens. A mature plant of 'Muriel' can easily attain a height of 12 feet or more, depending on climate. It is likely that 'Muriel' is not dependably hardy in regions colder than USDA zone 7, a trait often encountered in first generation Bracteata hybrids. The closer to the species a Bracteata hybrid is, the more suitable it is for a hot, dry climate like the southern States and California.
It was Ralph Moore's great fortune that 'Muriel' has proven to be a fertile link to another generation of hybrids. (It is interesting to note that R. bracteata has 14 chromosomes while 'Guinée' has 28. In spite of this mismatch of chromosome counts, 'Muriel' is fully fertile, which challenges the myth that all triploids are inherently sterile.) Many of the first generation Bracteatas are at least partially sterile, and so a fully fertile hybrid of this nature is a valuable thing indeed. Mr. Moore recognized 'Muriel' as his stepping stone to his own race of Hybrid Bracteatas, and he took full advantage of it! He says, "I have also made a number of different crosses of Miniatures X 'Muriel'. Most were only Spring bloomers. None were of any real interest; poor, unattractive plants - and sterile!" So, the choice of parents in this type of breeding is all-important; some will be of no use whatsoever, and some will be worthwhile links to the next generation. As you will see from the list of 'Muriel' progeny below, eventually one of the Miniature crosses did produce some valuable offspring.
offspring of 'Muriel' to date includes the following:
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2006