Common Wild Rose – Rosales Rosaceae Rosa acicularis

Identification & Description:
This perennial, shrubby plant has stout and branched stems growing up to 2 meters high, although it does not reach this height in wild lowbush blueberry fields. The upper branches are smooth except for scattered thorns. These thorns are stout, flattened at the base and somewhat curved. The leaves are compound and divided into 7 or 9 dark green, shiny leaflets. The leaflets are oblong (2 to 4 times as long as wide with parallel sides) to oval (often more than half as wide as long), with coarse teeth along the margin. The flowers, with pink petals and many yellow stamens in the centre, are solitary or in small clusters and are 5 to 8 cm in diameter. The plant does not flower in its first year of growth. The fruit is a bright red, many seeded, berry-like rose hip. This plant is extremely variable in all characteristics.

Wild roses grow in pastures, roadsides, and along the heads of salt marshes, among other areas. The petals can be nibbled as a sweet treat, or used to make wine. The rosehips can be used to make jam, or dried and used for tea. They are rich in vitamins E, B, and K.

There are many interesting uses for roses, including medicinal ones: for instance, some Native peoples used the roots and leaves in a spring tonic preparation. The roots are used to treat diarrhea.

Life Cycle
Common wild rose is a long-lived perennial shrub that reproduces by seed as well as from underground rootstocks. Spring regrowth occurs in mid to late May, with the plants producing flowers in July. Seeds are produced in late summer and are dispersed by small mammals, song birds and grouse. The seeds may require a considerable after-ripening period (2 years), but once they germinate, the vigorously growing seedlings produce a large root system. Plants originating from seed generally do not produce flowers and seeds until the second year of growth. Plants originating from the rootstocks may flower and set seed in the first year of growth or wait until the second year.