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Smooth wild rose

Leaves and flower of smooth wild rose.

A native wild rose with single, 2- to 3-inch-wide, pink flowers with showy yellow centers. Flowers are fragrant. Green to reddish stems lack prickly thorns and add winter interest to the landscape. Bright red fruit hips ripen in fall and remain persistent throughout winter.

This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

Botanical name:

Rosa blanda

All common names:

Smooth wild rose, meadow rose, early wild rose, Labrador rose

Family (English):

Rose

Family (Botanic):

Rosaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Screen

Size Range:

  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 2,
  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Tolerances:

  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early spring,
  • mid spring,
  • late summer,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Pink

Shape or Form:

  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Thicket-forming,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size & form

A dense, mounded shrub reaching 4 to 5 feet high, with suckering habit.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun to light shade in dry to average soil.
Flowers on old wood, prune after flowering.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, mildew, Japanese beetle

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to northern section of the U. S. from Newfoundland to Pennsylvania, to MO up to MN.
Found in open woods and roadsides and sloped ravines.
C-Value: 5

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Bees and other pollinators.

Bark color and texture 

Slender new canes are green and lack thorns.
Older stems are reddish brown to dark purple and may develop bristly prickles near the base.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, compound green leaves with elliptical, 5 to 9 leaflets, 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Margins are serrated, sometimes on top half only. A pair of stipules (winged appendages) are attached to the stalk.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Single flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide, pink to deep rose with 5 rounded petals with wavy edges. Showy yellow stamens in center.
Typically 1 to 4 flowers at tips of older stems. Flowers are fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

A shiny, 2/3- inch elliptical, bright red berry (hips).

Location of Rosa blanda (Smooth wild rose) at the Arboretum