What’s a sport or even a sucker? Not what you think.

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For those new rose growers as well as the experienced rosarians, understanding the Rose Lingo will help you enjoy your newfound hobby of rose gardening to the fullest. Here is an updated list of rose glossary:

AARS – All American Rose Selections

ADR rose – a winner in the German ADR rose trial (Allgemeine Deutsche Rosenneuheitenprüfung). No chemical pesticides have been allowed since 1997.

ARC – American Rose Center

ARS – American Rose Society

Anther – the part of the flower which produces pollen. It is the upper section of the stem.

Axil – The angle between the upper surface of the leaf stalk and the stem that carries it.

Balling – the clinging together of petals in wet weather so that the bloom fails to open and turns to brown color.

Bare-root – a rose dug up at the nursery and sold with no soil around the roots.

Basal shoot – a shoot that emerges from the neck or crown (bud union) of the plant.

Blind shoot – a mature stem which fails to produce a flower.

Bloom – stem having one-bloom-per-stem with no side buds.

Bract – a modified or reduced leaf that occurs beneath and next to a peduncle.

Bud eye – A dormant bud on the axil of a leaf.

Bud stage – Rose should be less than 50% open. Sepals must be down.

Bud Union – the swollen part of the stem where the scion of a grafted rose meets the rootstock.

Calyx – the green protective cover of a rose flower, composed of the 5 sepals.

Cane – one of the main stems of a rose plant.

Coat Hanger –a description for an errant pruning cut on a cane made above a bud-eye leaving excessive length (or a stub) which will wither in time.

Collection Class – multiple stems or blooms in specified classes.

Confused Center –a term used in judging Hybrid Tea roses at a rose show indicating that a bloom has petal alignment faults at its center.

Corolla – the petals of a rose flower considered as a single unit.

Crown – the area on a rootstock where a bud or scion was grafted, and from which the principal growth of it will emanate.

Cultivar – a named rose variety exhibiting distinct and consistent features, indicated by single quotation marks.

Deadheading – removing spent flowers.

Die-back –an expression used to identify a condition of partial or entire cane loss.

Disbudding – removing buds from side or center of spray to improve overall appearance of specimen.

Disease Resistant Roses – Roses that have been bred to resist many diseases. Disease resistant are just that resistant but not immune to disease.

Double – a rose with 21 petals and over.

Foliar feed – a fertilizer capable of being sprayed on and absorbed by the leaves.

Grade No. 1 – refers to the top-quality rosebush available for purchase. Hybrid Teas must have three or more heavy canes at least ½ inch in diameter within three inches of the graft union (crown). At least two of these should be 18 inches long (before being pruned for convenience in handling). Floribundas must meet the same requirements except the canes can be a couple of inches shorter, and Climbers must have canes a few inches longer.

Grafting –the process of inserting a bud or scion into a slit in another stock from which it will draw vital fluids and continue to grow.

Hard Pruning – Rose canes are severely cut back to less than 6″. Not all types of roses respond well to this treatment.

Hilling – A method used to protect roses from winter damage. Material, such as compost, is mounded 10-12 inches around the base of the bush after the ground is frozen.

Hip – the colorful fruit of a rose, large and decorative in some varieties.

Inflorescence – the arrangement of flowers on the stem.

Lateral branch – a side branch which arises from a main stem.

Leaflet – the individual segment of a compound rose leaf.

Node – the point on a stem from which leaves and buds emerge.

Old rose – strictly speaking, a rose introduced before 1867, but more loosely used to describe any rose grown or introduced before 1900.

Once-blooming – a rose that flowers only once in early summer and does not repeat.

Open bloom – roses should be completely open and center stamen visible.

Own root – a rose propagated as a cutting rather than by grafting.

Peduncle – a stalk that supports a single flower or flower cluster.

Pegging – bending the rose cane to the ground to encourage lateral branches.

Petal – the showy, usually colored part of a flower.

Petiole – the stalk by which a leaf attaches to a stem; also, leafstalk.

Pistil – the female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of carpels, ovary, style, and stigma.

Pith – the spongy material at the center of the stem.

Pollen – the yellow dust produced by the anthers. It is the male element which fertilizes the ovule.

Prickle – the technical term for a rose thorn.

Recurrent flowering – same as repeat flowering.

Remontant – roses that repeat flowers during the season, same as repeat flowering.

Rootstock – the root portion of a plant onto which the scion is grafted; also understock.

Rose Rustler – a person who propagates Old Garden roses from cemeteries and old homes sites. Etiquette requires that permission be obtained if possible before cuttings are taken.

Scion – a shoot grafted onto a rootstock; the “top” of a grafted rose.

Semi-double – a rose with 8-20 petals.

Sepal – one of the five individual, leaflike divisions of the calyx.

Single – a rose with less than 8 petals.

Single-Site –a term used to describe a systemic fungicide’s mode of control. It enters the stem and foliage to neutralize only one site within the fungi’s composition, interrupting its integrity and preventing viable reproduction.

Specimen Class – single stem of any rose variety in specified classes.

Sport – a spontaneous genetic mutation, often resulting in a plant that bears flowers of a different color or with more or fewer petals than the original plant.

Spray – stem that has two or more blooms with or without side buds.

Stamen – the male reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of a filament and anther.

Standard rose – a term used for tree rose.

Stigma – the part of the female organ of the flower which catches the pollen.

Stipule – a small, leaflike appendage that occurs at the base of the petiole.

Sucker – a stem, usually unwanted, that originates from a rootstock.

Sustainable Roses – are those roses that are winter hardy, possess above average insect & disease resistance, and require little or no pesticides in order to remain healthy.

Stage – an exhibition rose that is at its most perfect phase of possible beauty.

Stem-on-stem – Refers to a bloom on a stem that branches off another stem. This Y formation cannot be exhibited.


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