Rosa blanda (Smooth Wild Rose)

Plant Info
Also known as: Smooth Rose, Meadow Rose
Family:Rosaceae (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
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

[photo of flowers] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] 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.

[photo of stem] New stems and branches are green and thornless, 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 bristles of unequal lengths.


[photo of fruit] The berry like fruits (rose hips) are globular, ½ to ¾ inch in diameter, turning bright red in late summer. Inside the hips are several light colored seeds.


Smooth Wild Rose is the most common of Minnesota's native roses and found throughout the state. It is differentiated from our other two species, Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana) and Prickly Wild Rose (Rosa acicularis), by its lack of thorny bristles 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 thorns just below each leaf node. Beyond that characteristic there is little difference between these two and as recent studies would indicate they are the same species, and treated as such in our field guide.

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More photos

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.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Becky - Rochester
on: 2014-06-24 14:50:27

I need to know which kind of rose bushes I have. And if they will grow in the shade.

Posted by: Glen - Burnsville
on: 2014-07-04 21:58:07

I found quite a few of these in Red Oak Park in Burnsville in the Disc Golf course area of the park. One of the roses, the only one still in bloom was along the main paved path going through the course and park. All the rest, along with some other interesting plants, were found along a brushy, woodsy path connecting one of the fairways and the main paved path. If you go to the disc course to botanize, keep an eye out for flying discs -- although I was there early in the afternoon on July 4th and I had the whole course almost to myself with mostly just mosquitoes to contend with.

Posted by: Delayne - Grand Portage
on: 2014-07-10 09:59:08

I have approximately 50 of these roses growing wild in my yard and my driveway.

Posted by: Jackie T. - Pine City
on: 2014-08-30 22:51:53

We have these wild on the road to our house. I only saw it after the blooms were gone and with ripe hips but there are at least 20 of these visible from the road and there is nearly an acre of dense brush behind it.

Posted by: Angela - Hibbing
on: 2014-09-09 12:51:58

Does anyone know if you can use the "hips" of smooth roses for jelly/jam? Rosa rugosa hips are the usual recommendation for jelly/jam, but maybe these would work as well.

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