Wild roses are very common throughout our range and, of course, are familiar to everyone. They are usually, and rightly regarded as one of our most beautiful wild flowers. They have a purity of form and color that is rarely seen in the many varieties that man has cultivated from them. The Swamp Rose is a very bushy species, growing from one to nine feet high. It is very common on the edges of swamps or streams, and in low ground, throughout our range. The compound leaf is made up of five to nine, lance-shaped, toothed leaflets; each leaf has a pair of stipules, or tiny leaves, at the junction of the slender stem with main stalk.
The flowers are two or three inches broad and have numerous yellow stamens radiating from the greenish-white center. The stem of the Swamp Rose is sparingly armed with stout, wide-based, curved thorns.
Pasture Rose (Rosa Humilis) is the most abundant of all our wild roses and grows in profusion in all dry, rocky places. It does not grow as high as the Swamp Rose, rarely exceeding three feet in height, but the slender stems are more branching and often grow in large, tangled masses that, in the height of the blooming season, are exceedingly beautiful. The flowers are about the same size as those of the Swamp Rose, but are usually solitary at the ends of the branches.
The leaves are dark green, without gloss, divided into five or seven ovate, sharply-pointed, irregularly-toothed leaflets. The stem is armed with straight, slender, light brown thorns or prickles, two of which are set oppositely on the stem at its junctions with the leaf stems. These sharp thorns often discourage plucking wild roses, and the petals soon fall or are broken off, so that they are little used for vases.
Sweetbrier; Eglantine. Rosa rubiginosa.
Sweetbrier; Eglantine (Rosa Rubiginosa) is a very beautiful species of wild rose introduced from Europe. We may find it blooming quite commonly in dry, rocky pastures and waste places during June and July. It is remarkable for and easily identified by, the sweet-scented, aromatic fragrance of its leaves. The stems are long and arching, growing from two to six feet in height; they are brown and are armed at frequent intervals with short, decidedly recurved thorns or prickles.
At regular intervals along the stem, are close-set, compact clusters of flowers and leaves. The leaves are made up of five or seven very small leaflets, rounded-ovate in form and with the edge finely double-toothed, and covered beneath with fine, sticky, glandular hairs . The flowers are also quite small, especially when compared to the very common Pasture and Swamp Roses, being only from one to two inches in diameter. They are rather light colored, a creamy-pink, and have five, heart-shaped petals, the ends being slightly notched; the numerous, curving stamens are a bright yellow. All of the roses have quite large fruit, red in color and with the ends of the sepals spreading from its apex; that of the present species is ovoid in shape. Eglantine is found from Nova Scotia to Michigan and southwards to Virginia and Tenn.
Smooth Rose (Rosa Blanda) is a species that is often wholly unarmed with prickles. The stem and the underside of the leaves are covered with a light bloom. The pale crimson-pink flowers measure nearly three inches across. The red fruit is either round or pear-shaped, with persistent sepals.
The Smooth Rose has a very northerly distribution. It is found in rocky places from Newfoundland and nothern New England westwards, chiefly along the shores of the Great Lakes.