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An herbaceous perennial shrub with deep roots and a long taproot. The leaves and flowers are scented and used for medicine and in making perfume. Plants are pollinated by bees and birds.Prairie rose, also called "climbing rose," is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. The rose family includes well-known species as diverse as garden roses, strawberries, apples, peaches, and blackberries. Roses typically have leaves with 3 to 9 leaflets, stems with hooked prickles (“thorns”) or bristles, and upright or arching stems (canes). Flowers have a base petal number of five, with many cultivated roses showing a hundred or more petals.Prairie rose usually has three leaflets, but may have five. The stems are bright green to reddish green and clambering. They use adjacent vegetation and fences for support. They can reach more than 4 meters (approximately 13 feet) long. Flowers on prairie rose are about 6 to 8 centimeters (2.5 to 3 inches) across, with five light pink petals and a yellow center. Prickles are few and far apart on the stem.
As the name suggests, prairie rose is a species of open lands occurring in and at the edge of prairies, woodlands and savannas, and in fencerows and thickets. It is sometimes found at the edge of forests. It is found from New York and New Hampshire south to Florida, west to Texas, north to Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ontario. Other native roses generally have 5 or 7 leaflets, are more heavily armed, have smaller flowers, and/or are more compact branching shrubs.Pasture rose (Rosa carolina) is the most common low-growing rose with highly prickly stems (R. setigera has well-spaced thorns). Height, leaflet shape, and prickliness vary. Flowers usually solitary; otherwise very similar to R. setigera (pink, rarely white, very fragrant).
Leaves compound with 3, 5, or 7 leaflets. Leaflets round, oblong, or oval, small, finely toothed. The stipules at the base of stem leaves are winged. Look for it in glades, fields, prairies, fencerows, rights-of-way; statewide. Deer browse the twigs and fruit, and a variety of songbirds, as well as greater prairie-chicken, ruffed grouse, and quail, eat the fruits. When it forms dense thickets, prairie rose makes good cover for small birds and mammals. Several insects visit the flowers; others eat the leaves.Prairie Wild Rose Stems: It grows erect, on short multiple stems, little branched, from 2 to 4 feet high that are densely covered with prickles at the base of older stems and with sparse reddish prickles on newer wood. New wood is green but turns reddish to purpls-reddish quickly. Stems usually die back each year because of drought or freezing, but in a more moist environment, they will survive and grow up to 3 feet high. (Source:www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)