With all of its challenges, this is the time of year I love owning ten acres of property in Bend, OR. Over time, we have added 100’s of yards of dirt, rearranged piles of rock, and removed noxious weeds to create an oasis for wildlife. We planted many different varieties of native plants. Today, after chores, I wandered outside and spent some time smelling the roses. The Woods Roses are blooming and perfuming the air with their delicate scent. I had a wonderful time enjoying the enchanting smell and their delicate beauty.
Woods’ Rose, Rosa woodsii, is a species of wild rose native to North America. According to the National Resources Conservation Service Plant Guide, Woods’ Rose will grow 6 – 10 feet tall. The rhizome system of roots can form nearly impenetrable thickets. The stems are reddish brown to gray, with straight or slightly curved thorns. Leaves are finely toothed toward the tip. Flowers occur on the old wood in June through August and vary in color from pink to lilac-pink, or lavender.
The fruit is a fleshy, red, globose to ellipsoid hip and will persist through the winter. Many birds and mammals are sustained by the dry hips when the ground is covered with snow. The hips are also a great source of vitamin C and are dried for use in flavoring teas. The plants are browsed by livestock and big game from spring through fall. In the landscape, the rhizome system makes Woods’ rose effective in erosion control.
For landscaping purposes, Woods’ Rose can be used to revegetate disturbed sites along roads, stream banks, and seeps. Plants are used as ornamentals near homes to attract birds and other wildlife. Moderate shade-tolerance allows it to be used as an understory species and can be found in stands dominated by cottonwood, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir.