Rosa blanda (Smooth Wild Rose)
|Also known as:||Smooth Rose, Meadow Rose|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry to moist; open prairie, woodland edges, fence rows, lakeshores, thickets|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||4 to 7 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 4 flowers at the tips of new lateral branches of older woody stems. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches across, pink to deep rose colored with 5 broad, rounded petals with wavy edges, sometimes notched at the tip. Numerous yellow stamens surround the shorter styles in the center. The sepals are narrow lance-like, 2/3 to 1 inch long, rounded at the base, the outer surface usually glandular. Flower stalks are smooth.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate and compound with 5 to 9 leaflets, usually 7. Leaflets are 1 to 1½ inches long and 2/3 to just under 1 inch wide, generally elliptic but often widest above the middle (obovate), usually rounded at the tip, with serrated edges, sometimes just on the tip half. Leaf stalks are 2/3 to about 1 inch long, hairy, with or without scattered glands. A pair of wing-like appendages (stipules) are attached at the base of the stalk, that may have a few glands near the tip. Upper leaf surface is dark green and sparsely hairy, the underside is light green and variously hairy.
New stems and branches are green and lack prickles, becoming woody and turning reddish brown to darker purple and finally rough gray with age. Upper portions can remain generally smooth; lower stems are covered with persistent, scattered, stiff, bristly prickles of unequal lengths. Loose thickets may be formed from spreading rhizomes.
Smooth Wild Rose is the most common of Minnesota's native roses and found throughout the state. It is differentiated from Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana) and Prickly Wild Rose (Rosa acicularis) by its lack of prickles on newer stems and branches. There is a fourth native Minnesota rose often referenced—Wood's Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii)—that is mostly differentiated from R. blanda by a pair of prickles just below a leaf node. Beyond that characteristic there is little difference between these two. Recent studies suggest they are in fact the same species, or sufficiently intergraded to make the distinctions nigh impossible. R. blanda and R. woodsii are known to hybridize, which makes distinctions even more difficult.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Aitkin, Chisago, Ramsey, St. Louis and Yellow Medicine counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin, Anoka and Big Stone counties.
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