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FutureStarrA Iowa Wild Rose
A Medium on September 8, 2015Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on September 13, 1996. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed. The rose has been around for about 35 million years and grows naturally throughout North America. Roses are red, pink, white, or yellow and can have a wonderfully rich aroma. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used in medicines since ancient times. Rose hips (the fruit of the rose which forms at base of the flower) are eaten in winter by wild birds and other animals.
The rose has been around for about 35 million years and grows naturally throughout North America. Roses are red, pink, white, or yellow and can have a wonderfully rich aroma. The petals and rose hips are edible and have been used in medicines since ancient times. Rose hips (the fruit of the rose which forms at base of the flower) are eaten in winter by wild birds and other animals. The Wild Rose of Iowa represented resilience and beauty to early European settlers. Despite the state’s dry, flat landscape, the flower bloomed every year in the early summer. Lawmakers felt that the hardy flower symbolized the state so well that they had its picture etched on a silver tea service that was presented to the crew of the U.S.S. Iowa in 1896. The wild rose became the official Iowa state flower in 1897.
Several Wild Rose species are native to Iowa and telling them apart is often quite challenging. These Wild Rose species have similar appearances and also have the natural ability to hybridize in the wild. In particular, three species are frequently identified as the Iowa state flower. These three species include the Rosa Arkansana, the Rosa Blanda and the Rosa Carolina. The name Rosa arkansana has been taken to cover a number of closely related forms of the low roses which once were named as species. A prominent characteristic, however, written into the technical outline of R. arkansana, that of dying back to the ground annually, does not serve as an identification mark elsewhere than in the relatively small type locality in Colorado. Over the length and breadth of its range, other members of this species complex will be found as shrubs reliable in hardiness, leafing out to the tip in spring, and flowering from old wood as well as, occasionally, in corymbs at the apex of new shoots from the ground in true R. arkansana fashion. Since I started Bleeding Heartland’s weekly wildflower series in 2012, I’ve planned to feature Iowa’s state flower, the wild rose. However, for whatever reason I never ran across this plant at the peak of its blooming period when I had my camera handy. This year I was determined to catch some wild rose blossoms, so a couple of weeks ago I headed down to the Stamps Family Farm near Chariton (Lucas County), having received a tip that roses were flowering. Fortunately for me, the rain let up just before I arrived. (Source: www.bleedingheartland.com)