Pretty Native American Roses
Prickly Wild Rose, Arkansas Rose, Early Wild Rose, California Wild Rose, Carolina Rose, Dwarf Rose, Small-Leaved Rose, Shining Rose, Nootka Rose, Swamp Rose, Prairie Rose, Virginia Rose, Western Wild Rose
There are about 20 rose species native to the United States. Despite their remarkable charms, they represent less than 2 percent of the rose market and seem to be overlooked by landscapers and gardeners. Although not as showy and spectacular as the European and Asian species and hybrids brought to the United States in the past centuries, we believe these native roses should have a place in today’s landscapes. These native roses offer many advantages and benefits to gardeners and wildlife that exotic roses do not:
- Native roses are not as vulnerable as their foreign cousins: they do not need the best soils and require no pampering from drip irrigation and powerful and toxic pesticides to grow and bloom.
- Native roses require less maintenance than exotic roses.
- Native roses are not invasive as opposed to Rosa canina, Rosa multiflora or Rosa laevigata which displace native vegetation.
- Native roses provide valuable food sources for wildlife: rich in pollen and nectar, they attract bumblebees, butterflies and other important pollinators. Exotic varieties of roses are often short of pollen and nectar.
- Native roses provide valuable protection for wildlife: they are used for nesting and escape cover by birds and small mammals.
- Native roses often see their foliage change color with the seasons.
- Native roses produce showy edible hips, which grace the landscape in fall and winter. They are a superb source of vitamin C, having a much higher content than citrus fruit, and also contain other beneficial vitamins.
- Native rose-hips have a fruity, spicy, and tart flavor and can be used fresh, dried, or preserved. They were important in the diet of native peoples for hundreds of years.
- Native roses are more resistant to the rose rosette disease, a fatal plague ravaging rose gardens across the United States.
Some native roses are incredibly hardy, others are very drought tolerant and some are even shade tolerant. Their vigorous growth habits, the delicate beauty and pleasing scent of their flowers make them lovely additions to most North American gardens. It’s time they become a mainstay in the garden - pick yours!
By Jerrold James Griffith, Shutterstock
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.