Wild Rose

Genus Rosa
Rose Family (Rosaceae)

Wild Rose

Wild Rose
(Rosa spp.)

Wild roses are quite hardy and tolerant of poor conditions, such as dry dusty roadsides and the edges of heavily traveled trails. The different species of wild rose that might be seen here in Utah are all quite similar. All of them have five petals, usually some shade of pink, but varying in color from white to a deep rose. They are very fragrant.

They can easily hybridize with each other and with cultivated varieties that have been introduced. So it is very difficult to tell which species you have found.

Fruit of Wild Rose (Rose Hips)

The Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii) is probably our most common wild rose. A similar species (the Nootka Rose -- Rosa nutkana) grows in our higher mountain areas. The photo above may be a Nootka Rose, whose blossoms are usually solitary on each branch. The fruits shown at the right are possibly from the Woods Rose, whose blossoms typically occur in clusters on the branches.

Rose bushes provide shelter and food for birds and small mammals. The fruits ("hips") are edible -- like tiny apples. A delicious sauce or jam can be made from them, and they are a very good source of Vitamin C.