Rosa acicularis (Prickly Wild Rose)
|Also known as:||Prickly Rose|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry to moist; boreal forest, woodland edges, rocky openings, lakeshores, thickets|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 8 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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1 to 3 flowers (usually 1) at the tips of new lateral branches of older woody stems. Flowers are saucer shaped, pink to deep rose colored, 2 to 3 inches across with 5 broad, rounded petals with somewhat wavy edges, and sometimes notched at the tip. Numerous yellow stamens surround the shorter styles in the center. The sepals are narrow lance-like, 2/3 to just under 1 inch long, rounded at the base, often inflated at the tip, glandular around the edges and outer surface, the inner surface white hairy. Flower stalks are hairless.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate and compound with 5 to 7 leaflets, rarely 9. Leaflets are 1 to 1¾ inch long and 2/3 to 1 inch wide, generally elliptic with an even taper on both ends, or wider above the middle (obovate). Edges are finely serrated, sometimes double toothed. Leaf stalks are ¾-1½ inch long, hairy and glandular with two wing-like appendages (stipules) at the base of the stalk that are gland-dotted around the edges. The upper leaf surface is dark green and smooth, the underside is light green and hairy.
Prickly Rose is one of two medium to tall shrub roses found in Minnesota but is restricted in distribution to the northeastern 1/3 of the state, where it is the predominant rose species. A few old Herbarium records put this species out of that range, but those records are questionable and await confirmation. Our other large shrub rose is Smooth Rose (Rosa blanda), that is found statewide but more frequently in the western and southern regions. Similar in flower and growth habit, Prickly Rose can be distinguished by the dense prickles on both old and new growth (new growth of Smooth Rose has no prickles), the gland lined edges of the leaf stipules, small flower clusters of just one to three blossoms, and to some degree, the long ovoid fruit that is often characteristic. Our third native rose species is Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana), which also has bristles on old and new growth, but is found across open sandy, western and southern prairies and rarely grows over knee high. Prickly Rose is a circumboreal species, also native to northern Europe and Asia, but as there are some distinctions between the North American and Eurasian species, the North American species has the designation of subspecies sayi.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin, Itasca and St. Louis counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?