Prairie Wild Rose, Rosa arkansana

Prairie Wild Rose

Rosa arkansana

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium, Moist
Color: Pink
Fragrance: Yes
Height: 2 feet
Spacing: 1-2 feet

Prairie Wild Rose, Rosa arkansana, is hardy rose forms a low shrub that provides plenty of color with fragrant, pink-white summer blossoms, foliage that turns orange-red in autumn and bright red rose hips that can provide food for birds and wildlife into winter. Leaves with serrated margins alternate in groups of 7-11 along stems. Above-ground growth dies back after a few years, to be replaced by fresh shoots.

Leaves are alternate and compound with 9 to 11 leaflets, occasionally 7. Upper leaf surface is dark green and hairy to smooth, the underside light green and hairy. First year flowering stems are green turning red the following season, mostly simple, typically spreading to ascending. Lateral branches are produced on older woody stems and are weak and often do not flower. Both first and second year growth bear stiff, slender bristles of unequal size.

The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer, lasting about 3 weeks. Individual flowers last only a few days and they are fragrant. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by rose hips that are up to ½" across, globoid in shape, glabrous, and bright red at maturity during the late summer or fall. The fleshy interior of each rose hip is rather dry and contains several seeds. At the tip of each rose hip, there persists 5 dried sepals; these sepals are widely spreading. The chunky seeds are about 4 mm. in length. The root system is woody, branching, and rather deep. Sometimes small clonal colonies of plants are produced from underground runners.

The round berry-like fruits (rose hips) are about ½-inch in diameter, turning bright red in late summer. Inside the hips are several light brown seeds that are oval to egg-shaped, about 1/6-inch long, with a few long hairs at the ends and across the surface.

Habitats include upland prairies, hill prairies, limestone glades, roadside embankments, areas along railroads, pastures, abandoned fields, and fence rows. This small shrub tends to increase in response to light or moderate grazing from cattle and other mammalian herbivores. This shrub is also well-adapted to occasional wildfires, as it is able to regenerate from its deep root system.

The preference is full or partial sun, mesic to dry conditions, and a somewhat barren soil that contains clay, rocky material, or sand. The hard seeds are difficult to germinate and can lie dormant in the ground for many years. However, once individual plants become established, they are easy to manage. Drought-resistance i

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Once established, plants spread by rhizomes so location should be chosen carefully.
  The roots become very stout and extend deep into the soil, making transplanting difficult.
  This habit gives the species great resistance to drought and fire.
  Rose hips can provide food for birds and wildlife into winter
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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