© 2016-2020 Erika Alin

Prickly Wild Rose

Rosa acicularis

By mid-July, prickly wild rose shrubs bloom in the sun-dappled understory of north wood trees, and along the sheltered wooded edges of lakeside bluffs and ledges. Wild rose can spread by underground roots to form large clusters of tall shrubs, and also colonize new sites by seed. Birds, hares, and other animals feed on its leaves, stems, and petals, and help spread its seed by eating of the red hips that appear on shrubs in late summer. 

Downslope on the wind-wracked coastal rock, wild rose grows sparingly in scattered dips of gravelly soil. Few shrubs grow waist-high, and some hug the ground with no more than a handful of stems. Yet gentle breezes still carry the sun-warmed scent of wild rose across the shore.