Rosa carolina L. - Carolina Rose

Rosa carolina plant

Family - Rosaceae

Stems - Woody, erect, branching, to -1m tall but typically seen much less. New growth and last seasons twigs olive green, glabrous, with a few (to moderate) straight needle-like thorns.

Rosa carolina stemOld stem with needle-like thorns.

Leaves - Alternate, odd-pinnate, stipulate. Stipules to +1cm long, entire, acuminate at the apex, with a few piose hairs and distinct red glands on the margins. Rachis of leaf with a few pilose hairs or glabrous. Leaflets typically 5. Lateral leaflets sessile, terminal leaflet stalked. All leaflets ovate to oblong-lanceolate, serrate, to +/-4cm long, +/-2cm broad, deep green and glabrous adaxially, light green and mostly glabrous abaxially but with a few hairs on the midrib or villous.

Inflorescence - Terminal single flower on new seasons growth. Pedicel to +/-1cm long, with a few stalked glands.

Flowers - Fragrant. Petals 5, pinkish, glabrous, distinct, spreading, to +2.5cm long, +2cm broad at the apex, emarginate to notched at the apex. Stamens many (+50), spreading. Filaments yellow, glabrous, to 8mm long. Anthers yellow, to 3mm long. Carpels many, with yellow stigmas, slightly exserted from the hypanthium, densely pubescent. Sepals 5, reflexed in flower, long-attenuate, with moderate glandular and arachnoid pubescence abaxially, to -2cm long, with moderate white arachnoid pubescence adaxially and on the margins. Hypanthium green (light), with few to many stalked glands.

Rosa carolina flower

Rosa carolina hypanthiumHypanthium.

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Open woods, glades, prairies, thickets, clearings, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a common species found throughout Missouri. The plant is variable in flower size, leaflets shape, and leaf pubescence. It grows well from seed and would make a good garden subject. Although there are approximately 15 species of roses growing wild in Missouri, this species and another, R. setigera Michx., make up the bulk of the native rose flora in the state.

Photographs taken in the Ozark Scenic Riverways, Shannon County, MO., 5-23-03 and 5-31-03.


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