Rosa woodsii (Wood's Wild Rose)
|Also known as:||Wood's Rose|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist to dry; woodland edges and clearings, meadows, prairies, riverbanks|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||3 to 6 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 10 (typically 2 to 4) flowers at the tips of new lateral branches of older woody stems. Flowers are 1½ to 2½ inches across, pale to deep rose pink with 5 broad, rounded petals often notched at the tip. Numerous yellow stamens surround the shorter styles in the center. The sepals are narrow lance-like, 3/8 to ¾ inch long, rounded at the base, the outer surface usually glandular. Flower stalks are smooth to sparsely hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate and compound with 5 to 9 leaflets, frequently 7. Leaflets are ½ to 1¼ inches long and up to ¾ inch wide, usually widest above the middle (obovate), rounded at the tip, slightly tapering or wedge-shaped at the base, with serrated edges except on the lower third to half.
A pair of wing-like appendages (stipules) are attached at the base of the stalk, that may or may not have gland-tipped teeth near the tip. Upper leaf surface is dark green and sparsely hairy, the underside is light green and variously hairy. Stalks are typically silky hairy, sometimes with a few glands and/or sparse prickles.
A pair of large prickles is usually found at the base of a node (infrastipular); additional smaller, slender prickles may or may not be present. Prickles are mostly straight, the larger may be slightly curved. New stems are reddish brown to purplish, older bark becoming gray and rough. Dense thickets may be formed from spreading rhizomes.
Wood's Wild Rose is a variable species with numerous subspecies designations, of which only subsp. woodsii is found east of the Rocky Mountains. It is similar in nearly all respects to Smooth Wild Rose (Rosa blanda), which is the most common of Minnesota's native roses and found throughout the state. Wood's Wild Rose is most easily differentiated by the pair of prickles just below the leaf nodes (infrastipular) and beyond that characteristic there is little difference between these two. Some suggest they are in fact a single species. Minnesota populations, where the western R. woodsii and eastern R. blanda meet, have more intermediate characteristics than populations farther west and some portion are likely hybrids. Wood's Wild Rose is also known to hybridize with Prickly Wild Rose (R. acicularis).
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in North Dakota. Other photos courtesy Jennifer Stewart.
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