Chamaerhodos erecta (Nuttall's Groundrose)

Plant Info
Also known as: Nuttall's Rock-rose, Nuttall's Little Rose
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:short-lived perennial
Habitat:sun; dry sandy, gravelly or rocky soil; prairies, plains, roadsides, gravel pits
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:4 to 12 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: bell Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Branching clusters at the top of the plant, with 2 or 3 stalked flowers clustered at the tips of branches. Flowers are about 1/8-inch across, bell to saucer-shaped, with 5 white petals and a yellow-tipped stamen opposite each petal. Sepals are narrowly triangular, nearly as long as the petals and densely covered in a mix of long, white hairs and shorter glandular hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of lower leaves] Leaves are basal and alternately attached along the stem, the blades up to 1 inch long. Basal leaves are numerous, in a tight rosette, divided at the tip into 3 main sections which are further divided into linear-oblong lobes. Lower leaves are long stalked, becoming less divided and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem with leaves in the flowering branches mostly stalkless. Basal and lower leaves often wither by fruiting time but the dried remains may persist.

[photo of glandular hairs] Leaves and stems are covered in a mix of long, white hairs and shorter, glandular hairs. Stems are single or occasionally multiple from the base, branched in the upper plant, and often tinged red.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

Fruit is a tiny, dry, oval seed.


More common in the Great Plains to our west, Nuttall's Groundrose is most often found in Minnesota in our northwest counties along the sparsely vegetated beach ridges of Glacial Lake Agassiz. It is easy to ID from its branching clusters of small white flowers, densely hairy, divided leaves, and the glandular hairs. In some references it is listed as Chamaerhodos nuttallii or C. erecta subsp. nuttallii.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Kittson and Polk counties, and in North Dakota.


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