Wild Rose – Rosa spp.

Wild Rose – Rosa spp.
Wild Rose

Wild Rose

Many may look at the wild rose and simply see a thing of beauty, and perhaps they may ponder the symbolic meanings of the pink color (some of which include gratitude, gentleness, and happiness).  Many animals, however, rely on this plant for its important food source – the rose hip.  In Minnesota, rose hips are eaten by deer, pheasants, songbirds, to name a few.  Copious numbers of small mammals eat the stems and leaves in addition to the hips.


Minnesota species: R. arcansana, R. macounii, R. blanda, R. aciculatis

Family: Rosaceae

Height: varies, depending on species

Flowers: 5 petals, pink with yellow centers

Fruit: Rose hips, which form from the base of the flower (the hypanthium)

Habitat: sunny, dry areas

Edible?: Yes, the skins of rose hips are edible and are high in Vitamin C.  The petals are edible as well.  Common recipes include tea, candy, jellies and jam, syrup, and juice.

Attention gardeners!  Many species of wild rose that you grow in your garden produce rose hips as well, including Rosa rugosa, Rosa gallica, and hybrid tea roses (although these produce fewer).  Be sure to leave the blossoms on to allow the hips to form.  No deadheading allowed!  The skin of the rose hip contains most of the nutritious elements and is said to taste like an apple.  There is not much flesh to them, and they are filled with hair-covered seeds.

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