pasture rose (Rosa carolina)
Rosa carolina L. var. deamii (Erlanson) Deam
Rosa carolina L. var. glandulosa (Crép.) Farw.
Rosa carolina L. var. grandiflora (Baker) Rehder
Rosa carolina L. var. lyonii (Pursh) Palmer & Steyerm.
Rosa carolina L. var. obovata (Raf.) Deam
Rosa carolina L. var. sabulosa Erlanson
Rosa carolina L. var. villosa (Best) Rehder
Rosa lyonii Pursh
Rosa palmeri Rydb.
Rosa serrulata Raf.
Rosa subserrulata Rydb.
Rosa texarkana Rydb.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Confirmed.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of pasture rose is
Rosa carolina L. There are two varieties in North America: 1) variety
carolina, and 2) varity setigera. According to the Atlas of Virginia Flora,
variety carolina is the only variety occurring in Facquier County.
Distinguishing different species of roses (whether native or exotic) can be
difficult. The pasture rose has narrow straight spines on its stems, while
other species often have curved stout spines. Its stipules lack comb-like
hairs (unlike the multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora, and other exotic roses),
and the pistil structure is wide and flat, not tall and columnar like many
climbing roses. Other features to consider are the number of leaflets per
compound leaf, and the relative abundance or absence of hairs on the leaf-
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: This somewhat
prickly shrub is about ½-3' tall, branching occasionally. It is usually erect,
but taller plants sometimes sprawl. The prickles on the woody stems are
slender and straight, and pairs of prickles often occur on opposite sides of
the stems. On new growth, the hairless stems are either green or pinkish
red, later turning brown. The alternate compound leaves usually consist of
5-7 leaflets (oddly pinnate); a few short stems may have only 3 leaflets.
The central stem of each compound leaf is slightly hairy. Each ovate leaflet
is about 2" long and 1" across, with strongly serrated margins. The under-
side of each leaflet is glabrous or only sparsely pubescent. At the base of
each compound leaf are two prominent stipules, each terminating in a single
pointed tip. The solitary flowers occur on pedicels with glandular hairs, and
are about 2½-3" across. The flower buds also have glandular hairs. Each
flower consists of 5 pink petals (rarely white), 5 green pointed sepals, num-
erous bright yellow stamens, and a pistil structure at the center of the
flower that is flat and wide. There is a typical rose fragrance. Later, bright
red rose hips appear that are often slightly flattened when compared to
other wild roses, although not always. The root system consists of a deep
central taproot that branches occasionally. From shallow rhizomes, this
plant can spread vegetatively, forming small colonies.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Pasture rose propogates itself by reseed-
ing and vegetative reproduction.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: The preference is full to partial sun,
average to dry moisture conditions, and a loamy soil. Other kinds of
soil are also tolerated. This plant is more resistant to foliar disease
than most horticultural roses.
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS: Insufficient information is currently avail-
able concerning the successional status of pasture rose. However, because
it is often found in savannahs, forest edges, prairies, meadows, fields, and
rocky bluffs, it is usually considered an early to mid- successional species
that does best in emerging successional situations as opposed to more
mature forest settings.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs during early
summer and lasts about a month.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Pature rose is found throughout the
eastern parts of the United States and Canada. It reaches from Florida
to the maritime Canadian provinces (except Newfoundland) and it extends
west through the Ohio Valley into the mid- and lower Great Plains. It does
not naturally occur in the southwest, Rocky Mountain, or far Pacific west
and northwestern states or provinces.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION:
Shrub specimens can be found on trails marked in red.
Appalachian Trail/Old Trail
South Ridge/North Ridge
Rolling Meadows/ Lost Mountain
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES: Habitats include
mesic to dry black soil prairies, openings in woodlands, oak savannas, lime-
stone glades, sand dunes near lakes, fence rows, abandoned fields, areas
along railroads where prairie remnants remain, and waste areas where
birds are likely to occur. This plant has considerable resistance to drought,
and recovers readily from occasional wildfires.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The most important visitors to the flowers
are long-tongued bees, such as bumblebees, Anthophorine bees, and Miner
bees (e.g., Synhalonia speciosa). Green Metallic bees, Syrphid flies, and
various beetles (e.g., Trichiotinus piger) visit the flowers, but they are less
effective at pollination. All of these insect seek pollen, as the flowers provide
no nectar. The caterpillars of many species of moths feed on this and other
wild roses. Other kinds of insects also feed on this plant, including Rhyn-
chites bicolor (rose weevil; eats pith of woody stems, buds, & rose hips),
Macrodactylus subspinosus (rose chafer beetle), Edwardsiana rosae
(rose leafhopper), Mordella spp. (tumbling flower beetles; eat flowers),
and Lepyronia gibbosa (prairie spittlebug). Several upland gamebirds and
small mammals eat the rosehips, including the greater prairie chicken,
ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite, cottontail rabbit, eastern striped
skunk, and white-footed mouse. These animals help to disperse the seeds
of the plant across considerable distances. The leaves, buds, and twigs are
browsed by the white-tailed deer and elk, notwithstanding the presence
of occasional prickles.
Crooked Run Valley