What mislabeled roses do you get in your garden?

melissa_thefarm(NItaly)July 17, 2011

I was wondering if other gardeners find certain roses that repeatedly show up under wrong names, and generally how much it happens. I'm not just talking about purchased roses.

I've gotten 'Louise Odier' a number of times as other roses. I think (this was several years ago) I bought it once as 'Jacques Cartier' and then got cuttings of it under the same name; my guess is that the gardener got his from the same source. Also my 'L'Ouche', from a different source, that I've had in the garden for some years, it finally occurred to me may also be LO, though I've thought for years that it looked like a Bourbon rather than like the China that 'L'Ouche' purports to be. 'Mme. Boll'/'Mme. Knorr'/'Comte de Chambord' all turned out to be the same rose, or at least they look identical to me...and they came from the same nursery in the same year! Someone wasn't paying attention. My 'Yellow Mutabilis' is plain old 'Mutabilis', so, between on thing and another, I now have four plants of this mighty shrub. My original 'Spray Cécile Bruenner' was bought as 'Mlle. Cécile Bruenner. I propagated it and spread it through the garden, and now I have too much of it, even though it's as beautiful and satisfactory a rose as a gardener could ask for; but it gets big and is practically unprunable. Then, my friend's 'Rush' that he gave me, appears to be 'Spray Cécile Bruenner'. I have another SCB labeled 'Marie Pavie'. This one is totally baffling. Once I took cuttings of an authentic 'Mlle. Cécile Bruenner' and as I recall they caught, but not a trace of those cutting-grown plants can I find in the garden now.

One passes on errors. I myself distributed 'Alba Maxima' for years as 'Blanche de Belgique', propagating the error of the Peter Beales nursery from whom the parent plant came. One of the people I gave cuttings of it to in a swap notified me most apologetically that the R. virginiana cuttings he gave me were actually plain R. multiflora. Well, we're both clear on it, anyway, as well as about my misnamed 'Alba Maxima'. My gardening buddy who shares his roses with wonderful generosity does mix up labels at times. He gave me a 'Mlle. Franziska Krueger' that isn't: it looks like a Hybrid Musk, and specifically looks like 'Daybreak', which I remember he bought the same year I did. It's a fine rose to have two of.

Another rose I've gotten mislabeled is 'Auguste Comte'. This came to me as 'Maman Cochet' (Peter Beales again) and as something from Roseraie du Desert which it wasn't. Oh, these errors.

Your experiences?


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I purchased Cl Cecile Bruenner twice, only to find out that it was the regular bush form (when they never got higher than 4 ft). Finally, I spotted a Cl Cecile Bruenner in a local nursery that was ALREADY 9 feet tall, so despite the fact that it was very expensive, I bought it because I knew it was the correct one (which it was). Same thing happened when I tried to order Cl Rainbow's End - only one source, so I just kept ordering it. Of course, it took a few years to discover that the plant was never going to climb. After three tries I finally got one that got bigger than 18 inches - I still have it and it is now over 12 feet high, climbing happily on the roof over our back stairs.

Happened again when I ordered Altissimo from Oregon, and got what turned out to be Summer Wine. That was actually a good thing, as SW has a similar overall look (huge single flowers, long long climbing canes) as Altissimo, but its apricot/pale pink flowers go way better with the other roses around it than fire engine red would have - don't know what I was thinking of.

Many other mix-ups too. Eventually I stopped ordering roses from the nurseries I had been using in Oregon and Texas, and found Vintage Gardens, which I have been using for about 15 years. To my knowledge they have never sent me a mis labeled rose!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 10:47AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Not an OGR but I've bought Camelot 6 times and never once actually gotten Camelot! I tell myself every year not to do it again but then... I have gotten some really lovely roses out of it though. My mislabels turned out to be Memorial Day, Pink Peace, Just Joey, American Pride and a couple of other beauties yet to be IDed.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 11:57AM
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I had bought Mlle Cecile Brunner three years running from the Friends of the Huntington Plant Sales and received various versions of Slater's Crimson China. That's what prompted me to finally begin volunteering there. I wanted that rose and 27 years ago, it wasn't an easy one to find! I wanted Irish Fireflame, and ordered every one advertised in the US for two years. Every one was Irish Elegance. It wasn't until Gregg Lowery and Philip Robinson took me on a tour of the old Korbel Winery garden that I was introduced to the REAL Irish Fireflame. That is the one currently in trade under the proper name.

A very humorous one we encountered in the late 80s at The Huntington was in an order of Rustled Roses from Texas. I won't name the source because it was an innocent error and I don't wish to disparage them. One of the tagged roses was actually a dianthus! No rose in that gallon pot at all. We grew that for a few years with a label saying, "R. dianthaflorus".

Since I've limited my rose purchases to auctions and visits to nurseries and rose events, I've only received one mis named rose in the past several years. It was supposed to be a poly, but it is growing like a root stock, though it doesn't look like any root stock I've ever seen. It is definitely an honest mistake as the poly was own root. Obviously something either mistaken when taking cuttings or in the shuffle of getting all those small pots sorted. Kim

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 2:39PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I must be extraordinarily lucky since as far as I can recall I've only gotten one mislabeled rose and that was at Home Depot so it serves me right. Instead of the advertised Therese Bugnet I received an anemic looking hybrid tea that I doubt anyone would have wanted. I order mostly from Vintage but also from Rogue Valley and Chamblee's and very occasionally from another nursery but everything has been correct so far. Lucky me!


    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:59PM
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I have a mis-labeled pink tea, that was supposed to be Marie Van Houtte.... I have never figured out what it actually is, and since it isn't a particularly strong plant, I am going to remove it this Fall and replace it with Madame Lombard.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 9:40PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)


Not the variety, the nursery ;)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 4:18PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

An order from Canada many years ago had more than one mistake. Awhile back I was told a trade(?) magazine article claimed mislabeling in US nursery stock was about 33%. Didn't read the piece myself but they must have been including misspellings and synonymous names to come up with that high of a figure.

Not that there isn't plenty of just plain wrong stock out there, as we have seen on this thread. Many people handling plants for sale apparently never check, even in commercial situations, with the same mistake being perpetuated for years. Often when an error is pointed out the reply is that they got it from so and so, therefore it must be right. Or a bunch of other people have said the same thing but a bunch of others have said the plant was correct.

Again, apparently no checking on their own, enabling them to see for themselves what the situation is.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 9:11PM
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If you count all the crap at Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, etc., that count would surely go up to closer to half or better. When you find standards of obviously Rise'n Shine and it's marked "Persian Yellow"; "The Doctor" tags on obvious Paradise HT; current patented HT and floribunda plants with out-of-patent labels on them; Betty Prior with Knock Out tags and vice versa, and these are the FREQUENT problems. One table at the local Lowe's had at least a dozen different tags on the plants and they were ALL the same red HT looking variety.

The original choice of Dr. Huey for root stock is credited to a mistake in the fields. More cuttings were needed and those from the extra vigorous plants were taken. It wasn't until after the plants were produced and found to be superior to the usual ones on Ragged Robin, the error was discovered.

At least one popular nursery at one time, had legendary issues with identification because they labeled the shelves and not the flats of plants. When flats were moved to make room for other varieties, the labels frequently weren't. LOTS of mis identified plants were sent out in those days! Kim

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 11:48PM
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I have ordered hundreds of roses in the last 10 years, and I have received mislabeled roses from every nursery I ordered from ... when dealing in these quantities, it's likely to have at least one or two mislabels among the hundreds. The only nursery I can think that I haven't ordered from is Antique Rose Emporium. Not yet, anyway.

Vintage has sent me a few. 'September Morn' is actually a deep pink HT of the same style. Since SM is a sport, I wonder if it may be a reversion but I doubt it. I was supposed to get 'Gloire des Rosomanes', and what bloomed was a weird, pink, Noisette-looking rose. Gregg said that he thinks it's 'Jacques Amiot'. It looks like the JA photos on HMF, and I love having it in my Noisette collection. 'Mrs. Aaron Ward' turned out to be a deep pink HP.

I received 'Gloire des Rosomanes' twice instead of 'Birdie Blye'. I blame this on someone, perhaps, collecting old rootstock instead of the rose itself. It's understandable ... how many times have we stood in front of a rose with a label and the rose was clearly Dr. Huey now?

Most of my mislabels are better than the ones I ordered. When Sequoia was closing, I ordered a HT they called 'Schultheis' American Beauty'. What I got was 'Schoener's Nutkana', which is a superstar in my garden. It is far too large for the HT-sized space that it occupies, and its HT neighbors will appreciate it when I finally move it to a larger spot.

Rogue Valley sent "Reuter China" instead of 'Reveil Dijonnais' one year. I wonder if they accidently dropped the pots or something, because I discovered the rose in that same order that was tagged as "Hoag House Cream" was actually 'Reveil Dijonnais' ... and nothing turned out to be HHC. Anyway, "Reuter China" is an interesting China/Tea that I'm really pleased to have in my collection.

Palatine sent me 'Princess de Monaco' instead of 'Prinz Herzeprinzchen'. This was a computer error where both links on their order page pointed to the same rose in their inventory list. They sent me the correct rose in the spring.

The only time this happened and I was angry about it was early on in my rose-buying career when I ordered and received "Smith's Parish" and 'Fortune's Five-Color Rose' in the same order ... not knowing that these are considered to be the same rose.

I've got a million of 'em. Ashdown sent me 'Manetti' instead of "Ralph Moore's South African OGR". (Perhaps another case of someone along the line propagating rootstock.) I perpetuated this mistake one year myself. I propagated this rose when it was young (and I had no reason to believe that it was misidentified) and I sold two of them. I did the right thing as soon as I realized my mistake, replacing the incorrect rose with another rose of the customer's choice ... since I obviously didn't have the rose they ordered in my garden to replace the wrong rose with.

There are a million reasons why a rose you order won't be the rose you actually receive. A reputable nursery will do what they can to make it right.

The labels on my garden mysteries have been edited to fit their situation. For most of them, the mistaken ID has a strike through it, with the word 'NOT' above, and I have things listed in my database as "Not Mrs. Aaron Ward", "Not September Morn", "Not Pristine", etc. It's the best I can do.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:06AM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

I have certainly had my share of mislabels over the years. But I usually never figure out what the mislabeled rose actually is, and I usually just gift it to someone who doesn't care what the names of the plants are. And most reputable nurseries will replace mislabeled roses (if you make enough noise about it). There was a rash of mislabels from Hortico years ago, but they have seemed to correct that problem, and one of them I kept was actually a rootstock that I still grow -- R. Manetti.

The other one that has had huge problems with mislabels is Certified Roses -- I actually got two roses in successive years that were mislabeled in the same way both years -- both times I tried to buy the hybrid tea Macho Man, and both times I got Mom's Rose.

But what I really wanted to say was that I found a nursery last year -- Summerstone -- which in an order of 8 different hybrid teas and florries, sent 8 mislabeled plants, all the same -- sort of like Angel Face, but not quite. They use tissue paper tags that disintegrate upon exposure to water, so I think they think their customers will not notice -- by the time the plant blooms, who knows what it was supposed to be? But I had replaced the tissue paper tags with metal ones, and besides -- these 8 roses are all the same lavender variety that is almost like Angel Face.

So stay away from Summerstone Nursery in McMinnville, Tennessee, which also uses various aliases on the web, including AutumnRidge Nursery.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 1:59PM
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Does Heirloom have a reputation for sending the wrong rose? I just bought some from them. As a newbie, if it's even close to looking like what it's supposed to be, I probably wouldn't know the difference!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:36PM
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I suspect that my Roseraie de l'Hay is Hansa. I read somewhere that these two are commonly mixed up??? I am disappointed as I had a lovely specimen of RdlH (from Wayside, years ago) that was killed by flooding from neighbor's construction. I bought a replacement (I thought) from Rosefire and I think it is an imposter as it just seems less elegant.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 3:03PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

I've gotten a few mislabeled roses from Heirloom, but they've always made it right when I pointed that out to them. But really no more and no less than from other reputable vendors. Not to worry, though, just check what blooms against what is shown on the HMF database of photos. You will be able to distinguish most mislabels, even as a newbie.

Here is a link that might be useful: HMF database of rose photos

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Every nursery makes a mistake every now and then. That's just part of the reality of the nursery business. A good nursery makes good its mistakes, and I generally let them know when they've sent me the wrong rose--unless I like the mistake I got, when I just rationalize that I got a nice rose, even if it wasn't what I ordered. Other times I just throw up my hands and live with it, for various reasons. Years ago I bought most of my roses from Heirloom, and though I occasionally got a mislabeled rose from them, their error rate was well within acceptable limits. The nursery kstrong speaks of, that sent all the same variety for eight different plants--that's plain abuse. Also a nursery with a high level of mistaken varieties isn't worth dealing with. Old roses are a particular situation. A lot of varieties now in commerce restarted their commercial life as found roses, and sometimes the identifications their finders attached to them are wrong. Other nurseries acquire a found rose with its incorrect name and in good faith send it out under that name, all of which leads to even more confusion. This is the main reason I record where I got my roses from, so that if I have a question about a rose's identity I can track down where it ultimately came from. At the moment I have three different roses that came to me as 'Mme. Plantier'. This rose used to grow by the front door of my house in Washington state; I know it well. The MP I got from a nursery is wrong (I don't know what it is, either); the other two, from gardening friends, are young and just bloomed for the first time this year and I didn't get a good enough look at them to be able to identify them. One of them looks particularly promising. With most of my roses being older or old varieties, and so many coming from friends, with a fair number of found roses, I may have more than the usual share of puzzles. Not to mention my own contribution to the confusion, with labels lost and cuttings never labeled in the first place.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:11AM
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Here in Scandinavia several varieties are consistently mislabeled, so often that experienced rosarians take the mix up for granted. The business does nothing about it but go on selling a Madame Legras de St. Germain that is actually Madame Hardy, a Martha that is Johanna Roepke, a Paul Neyron nobody knows the true identity of. I bought my Madame Hardy under the name of M. Legras, fully aware of what I would get.

But I am sorry I got two mislabeled Marianne from Rogue Valley Roses in spring, very pink. I don't expect replacements from the US, the importation process is too complicated, I suppose.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 1:39PM
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Interesting post, Melissa. Since I've been ordering from on-line nurseries, I've only had one rose that turned out to be something it wasn't supposed to be. I was expecting Climbing Devoneisis and got Dr. Huey. I realize that can happen all too often with grafted roses but this was supposed to be an own root rose. Never did figure it out. I did get a refund since they were out of Cl. Devoneisis when I got back in touch with them and happily ended up with White Cap from another nursery instead.

Ask me again in another year or so and I may have more. I have several babies that have yet to bloom. I'm hoping my current positive trend holds, though.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 4:26PM
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I bought a rose sold as " Rose de Rescht" from a now out of business nursery in Sacramento. I believe there might possibly be 2 different culitvars sold under the same name. I grew one within 100 feet of my neighbors "Rose de Rescht" and mine was covered with rust to the point of more than 80% defoliation. We both use the same organic gardening methods and means, even the same type of mulch.
Her Rose de Rescht" has remained clean as a whistle.
I destroyed my R.de R. from the face of the earth, before it could contaminate more space with rust spores.
I wish I had taken the time to see if I could match foliage, growth habit , petal count and other i.d. markers with my neighbors R. de R. to see if they truly are two different cultivars sold under the same name. All I can remember is that the leaves were of a different hue of green and the bloom form was a little messier on my rose.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 7:03PM
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Have you asked your neighbor for cuttings? That's how I got my 'Rose de Rescht'. It rooted with great ease.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 12:02AM
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