genus Rosa

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?

Part 3

What is taxonomy? Part 1 | Rosids Part 2 | genus Rosa Part 3
| Rose Species Part 4 | Rose reproduction Part 5 | Native Rose Plant Ethnobiology Part 6 | Bibliography   | New Wild Roses of Saskatchewan and How to Tell them Apart

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.

Oddly pinnate leaf - imparipinnate Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2
Oddly pinnate leaf – imparipinnate Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2

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 directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park

For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

For more information:

Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area,  George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits

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:
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

You Tube Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

You Tube George Genereux Urban Regional Park

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, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
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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

Citizen Science & CBC radio One

May 19 2019 at 7:45 am The Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park were on  CBC Radio One SASKATCHEWAN WEEKEND for the morning show with Shauna Powers on the Sunday May 19 2019 7:45 am show. If you did not catch the show live, please tune in here. The Wild About Saskatoon Nature City Festival kicks off this week May 21-26, 2019 with a theme

I Spy With My Wild Eye…





The Festival keynote evening is at the Broadway Theatre at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening, May 22, featuring Dr. Maureen Murray, a rising star in the field of urban ecology and an expert on urban coyotes.  She is joined on stage by a circle of voices from Saskatoon, offering a variety of inspiring ways to build a nature-friendly city.

Current global response insufficient;
‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature;
Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good
Most comprehensive assessment of its kind;
1,000,000 species threatened with extinction. UN Report

At both the wild walks, we will learn about “Citizen Science” to make a connection with the natural world in place based learning.

“The Wild Walk” is on Tuesday May 21 6:30 – 8:00 pm out at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.  Join us in the South West Off Leash Recreation Area, and we will walk west out of the off leash dog park, and proceed to the wetlands, making observations as to the flora and fauna along the way.  Learn about Richard St. Barbe Baker along the way, who was the first honourary member of the World Wildlife Fund.

Try “The Wild Spring Walk” on Thursday May 23 6:30 – 8:00 pm by venturing out to the George Genereux Urban Regional Park.  We will start west of the CNR overpass which crosses SK Hwy 7, and walk south and west through the woodlands searching out spring wildlife and emergent plants.

Ten Principles of Citizen Science

  1. Citizen science projects actively involve citizens in scientific endeavour that generates new knowledge or understanding. Citizens may act as contributors, collaborators, or as project leader and have a meaningful role in the project.
  2. Citizen science projects have a genuine science outcome. For example, answering a research question or informing conservation action, management decisions or environmental policy.
  3. Both the professional scientists and the citizen scientists benefit from taking part. Benefits may include the publication of research outputs, learning opportunities, personal enjoyment, social benefits, satisfaction through contributing to scientific evidence e.g. to address local, national and international issues, and through that, the potential to influence policy.
  4. Citizen scientists may, if they wish, participate in multiple stages of the scientific process. This may include developing the research question, designing the method, gathering and analysing data, and communicating the results.
  5. Citizen scientists receive feedback from the project. For example, how their data are being used and what the research, policy or societal outcomes are.
  6. Citizen science is considered a research approach like any other, with limitations and biases that should be considered and controlled for. However unlike traditional research approaches, citizen science provides opportunity for greater public engagement and democratisation of science.
  7. Citizen science project data and meta-data are made publicly available and where possible, results are published in an open access format. Data sharing may occur during or after the project, unless there are security or privacy concerns that prevent this.
  8. Citizen scientists are acknowledged in project results and publications.
  9. Citizen science programmes are evaluated for their scientific output, data quality, participant experience and wider societal or policy impact.
  10. The leaders of citizen science projects take into consideration legal and ethical issues surrounding copyright, intellectual property, data sharing agreements, confidentiality, attribution, and the environmental impact of any activities.Source

“The diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.” said Professor Sandra Díaz

Come out for a Nature City Festival walk, engage in Citizen Science, learnt about WildObs Observer, Sci.Spy, Project Noah, iNaturalist, LeafSnap, and many other ways, you can contribute to Citizen Science.  There are many research projects are engaging millions of individuals young and old in the collection of scientific data. Citizen Science as a valuable tool for conservation in urban eeosystems.   “Public participation in scientific research,” participatory monitoring, and participatory action research often see advancements in scientific research, as well as an increase in the public’s understanding of science. “Citizen science can push conservation biology in residential ecosystems from being a “science of discovery” to a “science of engagement.”source

Aichi Biodiversity Targets


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