Common Characteristics of the genus Rosa
How can we determine which of the roses are which in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities?
Binomial nomenclature is a two-naming system featuring the first part of the name – the generic name– identifies the genus to which the plant or organism belongs, while the second part – the specific name or specific epithet – identifies the species.
The plants belonging to the genus Rosa can be characteristically described by flowers, leaves, fruit, and thorns.
The flowers of most species of native roses have five petals. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is usually white or pink. Beneath the petals are five sepals. These sepals may be long enough to be visible when viewed from above and appear as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries that develop into rose hips bearing achenes. Roses are insect-pollinated in nature.
The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. In most species they are 5 to 15 centimetres (2.0 to 5.9 in) long, pinnate, with (3–) 5–9 (–13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets usually have a serrated margin, and often a few small prickles on the underside of the stem. Most roses are deciduous.
The leaves of the wild roses of the region are alternate, and oddly pinnated. Pinnation is the arrangement of the leaflets arise on both sides of a common axis. This common axis is referred to as a rachis which is the backbone or spine of the leaf. Each petiole or the stalk attaches the leaf to the stem or peduncle of the plant. The small leaflets, themselves have little stems called petiolules. The root pinna is from the Latin meaning “feather”, and these plants can be referred to as “feather-leaved” in everyday or informal usage. Oddly pinnated leaves are also called imparipinnate, both terms meaning that the leaf bears one lone leaflet at the terminal or top of the leaf, rather than a pair of leaflets.
The aggregate fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure called a rose hip. The hips of most species are red. Each hip comprises an outer fleshy layer, the hypanthium, which contains 5–160 “seeds” (technically dry single-seeded fruits called achenes) embedded in a matrix of fine, but stiff, hairs. Rose hips of some species are very rich in vitamin C, among the richest sources of any plant. The hips are eaten by fruit-eating birds such as thrushes and waxwings, which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. Some birds, particularly finches, also eat the seeds.
The sharp growths along a rose stem, though commonly called “thorns”, are technically prickles, outgrowths of the epidermis (the outer layer of tissue of the stem), unlike true thorns, which are modified stems. Rose prickles are typically sickle-shaped hooks, which aid the rose in hanging onto other vegetation when growing over it. Some species such as Rosa Acicularlis have densely packed straight prickles, probably an adaptation to reduce browsing by animals. Despite the presence of prickles, roses are frequently browsed by deer.
The amazing thing about the rose bush, is that it will do the best on alluvium soils which are seasonally flooded, which works out well at the afforestation areas located as they are in the West Swale (a low-lying area caused the Pleistocene Yorath Island glacial spillway.) However, that being said, the roses have a very high drought tolerance.
Mule deer, snoeshow hare, coyotes, squirrels, white-tailed deer and birds such as waxwings, pine grosbeaks, and grouse will nibble on the rose hip fare provided by the rose bush. Wild rose hips are high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C. These animals, and birds will carry the seeds (achenes) away after nibbling on the rose hips, and through the digestive process disperse the seed in new areas. The achenes do not sprout immediately, in fact, the majority will sprout on the second spring after snow melt. The seeds require this period of dormancy and require the seasonal changes of warm and cold in order to sprout. In regards to the health of the animals, the crude protein is higher in the wild rose hip while the leaves remain on the trees. The rose hips remain on the shrubbery into the winter months, providing a much-needed snack during the cold days of the year for winter foragers when snow covers the ground. The pollen during the month of June is beneficial for many pollinators.
When trying to distinguish various species of wild roses, bear in mind, that species may hybridize with one another. The next chapter will delve into the taxonomic classification for species of roses at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities.
Activities and Questions:
- Take a camera, ruler, pencil, and start a nature journal of your visits to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities where you record observations and measurements about the observable characteristics of native rose plants, insects and animals around these plants. Record their blooming time, and when the petals drop off, and when the leaves turn colour in the autumn. Are all plants the same? Identify the number of leaflets, and their shape, record the colour of flowers, and the height of the plant.
- Would a bug find it easy or hard to walk along the top surface of the rose bush leaf?
- Would an insect find it easy or hard to walk along the underneath surface of the rose bush leaf?
- Are there any eggs, insect larva, etc under the rose bush leaf?
- Become a citizen scientist.
- Stop and smell the roses! How do your ears, eyes, nose, mouth and skin relate to native rose plants for all the senses – hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch? Do other animals need their senses to interact with native rose plants?
- Compare native rose plants with other forbes, and flora in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities. Which plants bloom at the same time?
- Do you think pollinator insects, dogs, birds, and deers appreciate the smell of the native rose plants?
- How do you think rose bush plants get the rose seeds out of the rose hip so the seeds may germinate in the ground?
- What kind of safety procedures would you need to use when observing a native rose plant? What do animals do when presented with the sticky substance on rose leaves, or with the thorns and bristles on the rose stem?
- Compare the flowers, leaves, and seeds between the native rose plants, and other plants in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities.
- What kind of seasonal changes may occur for a native rose plant?
- Why do native roses lose their leaves for the winter months?
- Why would animals choose to eat rose hips in the winter? Do native rose plants support the health or harm the growth of deers, rabbits, and squirrels? Do animals help the plants? What happens when the animals disperse the seeds after digesting the rose hips which contain the rose seeds? Create a food web of animals and native rose plant interactions. What would happen if the native rose plant became extinct?
- How have humans affected the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities? Analyze an issue or case study where humans have greatly affected these environments, including a cost‐benefit analysis and ethical implicaᅾons
- Are the native rose plants afforested in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities, or do they grow naturally there?
- Create a map which will guide others to the location of a native rose plant.
- Create a set of directions from a specified location to arrive at the location of a native rose plant which you have found.
- Why are there no native rose plants in the middle of a trembling aspen grove?
- How can a native rose plant reproduce, if the animals eat the rose hips which contain the rose seeds?
- Observe the native rose plants, and write a poem or story, paint a picture or sketch a drawing of them.
- Analyze any of the native rose plants, and see what happens if there is a lot of rain, or if there is an extended dry spell.
- How do the native rose plants defend themselves, if there is a large population of wildlife eating their rose hips and flowers?
For more information:
P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
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“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker
“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. He will have to discover where he went wrong and make his peace with nature. In so doing, perhaps he may be able to recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker