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Article|05 Jan 2022|OPEN
Complex and reticulate origin of edible roses (Rosa, Rosaceae) in China
Wei-Hua Cui1,3 , Xin-Yu Du2 , Mi-Cai Zhong1 , Wei Fang1 , Zhi-Quan Suo1,3 , Dan Wang1,3 , Xue Dong1,2 , Xiao-Dong Jiang1,3 , , Jin-Yong Hu,1 ,
1Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 650201 Kunming, Yunnan, China
2Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 650201 Kunming, Yunnan, China
3Kunming College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 650204 Kunming, Yunnan, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhab051 (2022)
Views: 197

Received: 15 May 2021
Revised: 16 Aug 2021
Accepted: 25 Aug 2021
Published online: 05 Jan 2022


While roses are today among the most popular ornamental plants, the petals and fruits of some cultivars have flavored foods for millennia. The genetic origins of these edible cultivars remain poorly investigated. We collected the major varieties of edible roses available in China, assembled their plastome sequences, and phased the haplotypes for internal transcribed spacers (ITS1/ITS2) of the 18S-5.8S-26S nuclear ribosomal cistron. Our phylogenetic reconstruction using 88 plastid genomes, of primarily maternal origin, uncovered well-supported genetic relationships within Rosa, including all sections and all subgenera. We phased the ITS sequences to identify potential donor species ancestral to the development of known edible cultivars. The tri-parental Middle-Eastern origin of R. × damascena, the species most widely used in perfume products and food additives, was confirmed as a descendent of past hybridizations among R. moschataR. gallica, and R. majalis/R. fedtschenkoana/R. davurica. In contrast, R. chinensisR. rugosa, and R. gallica, in association with six other wild species, were the main donors for fifteen varieties of edible roses. The domesticated R. rugosa ‘Plena’ was shown to be a hybrid between R. rugosa and R. davurica, sharing a common origin with R. ‘Fenghua’. Only R. ‘Jinbian’ and R. ‘Crimson Glory’ featured continuous flowering. All remaining cultivars of edible roses bloomed only once a year. Our study provides important resources for clarifying the origin of edible roses and suggests a future for breeding new cultivars with unique traits, such as continuous flowering.