Rose Species

The Species: R. Acicularlis Lindl., R. arkansana, R. woodsii

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 4

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

  • Distinguishing between the three Saskatchewan wild roses to determine the species
  • Making observations of the plant structure, the leaf structure, and the flower structure.
  • How to describe the species; learning botanical terms.
  • Parts of the native rose plant

Wood’s Rose, or Common Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii) may also form thickets of clones from rhizomatous roots.  The rose shrubbery may grow as high as 30 to 240 centimeters (1 to 8 feet high.)  These thickets of rose bushes provide nesting sites for birds, as well as thermal and feeding cover for deer and other small mammals.  The flowers may be either solitary or corymbose.  Blooms are short-pedicelled AKA the stalk of an individual flower is short.

Flowers are usually a deep pink about 5 cm (2 inches) across. Flowers can be set on rose bush in clusters of one to five at the end of a branch less commonly are they seen solitary.  The inflorescence is distinctly saucer shape, and the petals are not flat across.

The sepals provide a covering around the rose bud during the formation period before the inflorescence blooms.  The sepals are lanceolate, which is a botanical term meaning shaped like a lance or a spear head.  Looking closely, the sepals can be located under the rose bloom, supporting the petals, and the sepals will be broad in the lower half close to the stem, and tapering to a point near the tip similar to a lance or a spear. Tomentose is another apt botanical description for the sepals meaning that they are densely covered with short matted downy filaments or hairs, they are rather fuzzy looking.  The Wood’s Rose sepals are persistent on the fruit (rose hip), and each rose hip may have 15 – 35 seeds.  Persistent in botanical terminology means that the sepals do not fall off, and will still be seen on the rose hip in the winter months.

The leaflets are single-toothed with a shape described as obovate to ovate to elliptic.  Often the leaflets are cuneate or narrowed at the base and may feature straight sides converging at base, producing a ‘wedge shape’, cuneate is from the Latin root cuneus ‘wedge’ + -ate.   An obovate shape would describe the leaflet as shaped like a tear-drop where the tip of the tear drop attaches to the stem near the base.  An ovate leaflet shape is an egg-shaped oval, where the point tapers, and the widest portion of the leaflet is nearest the base.  Whereas an elliptic shape refers to the leaflet being oval without a point, or a very rounded and subdued point.  There are usually 5 to 7 leaflets making up one leaf, and may be as many as 11.  The upper surface of the leaf is shiny.  Stipules are prominent and united at the base of the leaf giving rise to the term adnate stipule.  Adnate means joined or united by having grown together.  A pair of stipules (straw, stalk) are little outgrowths on either side of the base of the leafstalk. Each leaflet has a very short or no stalk at all stalk (sessile).  Sessility from sessilis meaning “sitting” or in botany “resting on the surface” having no stalk

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

Leaf shape or morphology OBOVATE Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2
Leaf shape or morphology OBOVATE Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2

Leaf shape or morphology OVALE Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2
Leaf shape or morphology OVALE Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2

Leaf shape or morphology ELLIPTIC Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2
Leaf shape or morphology ELLIPTIC Courtesy Maksim CC x 1.2

Figure 1 Rose Leaf showing alternate odd-pinnate leaflets.  Leaflet shapes.  Draw the leaflet shape of the roses seen in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Prickles on a Wood Rose stem may be straight or curved, however generally have a curve.  Infrastipular spines are commonly present, and the stems are prickly.  Infrastipular means below (infra) the stipules (stipular), so the spines are commonly seen below ‘the small appendage at the base of the petiole of a leaf’ (stipule). The Common Wild Rose (Wood Rose) only has a few scattered thorns, in comparison to the Prickly Wild Rose which is covered with many small weak bristles.  The Wood Rose thorns feature are broad and flattened at their base.

The stem of this rose shrub is reddish brown to gray.

The Wood Rose has a distinct style featuring calyx-lobes entire.  Entire meaning not divided and featuring a smooth margin, not lobed or toothed.

The orange-red to bright red or blue-purple fruit is fleshy, globose or globose-ovoid 5-12 mm (.2 – .5 inches) wide, Glabrous (hairless and smooth) and sometimes glaucous (dull bluish-green, gray).  As many as 15 to 35 nutlets (achenes) may be found within the rose hip, and the nutlets are 3-4 mm (0.1-0.16 inches) long.

Rosa arkansana, the prairie rose, dwarf prairie rose or wild prairie rose (Rosa arkansana) is also a rose bush of Saskatchewan which will reach heights of 30-60 centimeters (1 – 2 feet) tall.  The flowers are unique as they are pink and may be streaked with a deeper pink.  The blooms are 3 to 7 cm (1.25 to 2.5 inches) in diameter. There may be as many as 5 or more flowers, or solitary flowers on the terminal end of the stems.  The inflorescences are corymbs which are a flat-topped or convex cluster of flowers derived from Latin corymbus, bunch of flowers, from Greek korumbos, head where the outermost flowers open first.  The petals on the inflorescence have a top wavy edge, with a central peaked notch at the top.

The sepals are rounded at the base with a smooth outer surface.

Droughty conditions or freezing may cause the plants above the surface to totally die back each year.  The roots are very hardy, and will grow deep into the soil, reaching as far as 2.4 -3.7 meters (8 – 12 feet) down in the soil.  Asexual regeneration takes place from roots sprouting from the root crown.

The rose hip is almost globular, and starts out as a deep red colour.  The sepals persist on the fruit.  Seeds produced need a dormancy period featuring successive cold and warm moist periods, and may not germinate until the second year.

This rose bush sports many dense reddish thorns.

The leaves are also pinnately compound, and may contain as many as nine to eleven leaflets. The upper side of the leaves are smooth dark green in contrast to the lighter green hairy undersides.  The hairy undersides can be called puberulent from the Latin puber, (downy, adult) + -ulent, from ulentus (abounding in). The leaves can be 8 to 10 centimeters (3-4 inches) in length with leaflets 2 – 3 cm (.75 – 1.25 inches) long.  The leaflets bear 2 wing-like stipules at the base of the stem, and may have a few glands at the tip edges.  The leaflets are fringed on the margin with hairs and so can be described by the botany word ciliate from the Latin root cilium: an eye lash.  The leaflets have either a very short leaf stem, or none at all.

As this is a short growing rose bush, it prefers the open grasslands, however will be found in the parklands.  The prairie rose thrives on the extreme continental climate which alternates between severe winters and very warm or hot summers.  It was noted that the Prairie Rose thrived during the most extreme years of drought experienced during the “dirty thirties.”

Prickly Rose (Rosa Acicularlis Lindl.)  Acicularis has a Latin root meaning small pin or needle.  The prickly rose is just that, densely prickled with straight weak thorns or bristles. The prickly rose defence of thorns prevent over-grazing by the animals in the vicinity.   Prickly Rose will have no infrastipular spikes.

Each solitary flower is located at the axis of a short thin pedicel (stalk or stem).  When there are more than one flower, they are featured in a corymb.  At 4 – 7 cm (1.6 – 3 inches) across, the flower is fairly large.  Look for blossoms at the very end of May through out June.

The calyx-lobes (referred to on the flower as sepals) are erect on the fruit.  Erect in botanical terms mean upright, more or less perpendicular to the point of attachment.   The calyx lobes are lanceolate and acuminate.  Acuminate is another way of saying “coming to a point” from the Latin acuminatus, past participle of acuminare (“to sharpen to a point”). The stipules are mainly broad. The fruit or rose hip can be ovoid or pear-shaped with a length of 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) The rosehips is a bright red when ripe, and can be seen orange-red across the prairies.

The leaves are pinnately divided, and the leaflets are often twice toothed or double toothed.  The leaves have conspicuous winged stipules with outward turning teeth born at the base of the leaf. The winged stipules may also be termed auricle having a small ear-like projection, from Latin auricula ‘external part of the ear’, diminutive of auris ‘ear’.  Leaflets may number 5 to 9, and are often glabrous or resinous so are often sticky.  The leaves are pubescent on the undersides which also means the leaflets are covered with short, soft hairs.  Glandular-hairy petioles and rachises would imply that the leafstalk (petiole) which joins the leaflet to the stem and the main axis or shaft (rachis) bearing the leaflets have hairs upon them mounted with glands producing secretions on the surface of a plant. The leaflets are obtuse (blunt or rounded) at the apex and rounded at the base.  Leaflets are oval or oval-lanceolate. The leaves are hairy on the underside of the leaflets. Each dark green leaflet is on average 3-4 cm (0.1-0.16 inches) long.

Thorns are straight, needle like and unequal.

The shrub may be formed as clones from rhizomatous roots, or from achenes born in rose hips.  The shrub of the Prickly rose will reach a height of 0.9 to 1.2 meters (3-4 feet) at full maturity, and a rose thicket has rhizomatous roots which may create a single clone as large as 10-20 square meters (12-24 yards square) in size.  However, rhizome roots of the rose sprout after a fire, or other types of disturbance.


  • Are there any other rose species which you may see in the afforestation areas?  Why or why not?
  • In 2013, the South West Off Leash Dog Park becomes a 14.5 acre fenced off OLRA within the afforestation area.  The SW OLRA has a large number of rose bush plants.  Why? Are there more or less rose bush plants inside the SW OLRA or outside the fence?  What happens to rose bush roots when disturbed by digging, or human influences?
  • Which rose species have you seen in the afforestation areas?
  • How many native rose species are there in Canada?  in North America? around the world?
  • Does the domestic rose found in a flower shop have any relation to the native rose?
  • What challenges to the native rose plants face in this habitat?  Why do native rose plants grow very well in the grasslands areas of the afforestation areas?
  • Explain how geographic ecosystems, and habitat adaptations can influence the creation of a new species.
  • Write a report describing the native rose plant discovered.  Make notes of how tall the rose plant is to a tree, or to the grass around it.  Describe the position of the rose blossom by measuring how high it is from the ground.
  • In the habitat and environment where you found the native rose plant, does it receive enough sun? Does the plant get enough water?
  • Are there any young rose plants nearby?
  • Are there any rose plants with rose hips on them?

Draw the entire leaf, and the smaller leaflet shape of the roses seen in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park.

  • Which leaflet morphology is the closest to the rose seen in the afforestation area?
  • As you draw the leaf and leaflets by looking and observing them, try to also, touch them, smell, hear, and taste them.  Does this sensory interaction, convince you to start another close up sketch or drawing?
  • What kind of safety procedures would you tell a person who was blind if this person were to use their senses to touch, smell, hear or taste a native rose flower leaf or leaflet?  Would you communicate the safety rules to a person who was deaf in the same way?
  • How many leaflets does the entire leaf contain?
  • What is the size in length of the leaflets?
  • Is the underside of the leaf the same color as the top?
  • 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?
  • Why do some rose species have stripy rose petals?  Does the shape or colour of the rose petal help a pollinating insect?  Does the smell of a rose petal help the pollinator?
  • Does the afforestation area rose bush leaflet have a long or short leaf stem (petiole) or is it sessile? Sessility from sessilis meaning “sitting” or in botany “resting on the surface” having no stalk
  • When you draw the native rose plant leaves, which leaflets are seen from the top, which from the side, and from the bottom.
  • What color is the leaf backbone or the ‘rachis’?
  • Are there hairs on the leaflets? on the rachis?
  • Does the leaf have a stipule where the petiole attaches the rachis to the peduncle? leafstalk (petiole) joins the leaflet to the stem, the main leaf axis or shaft (rachis), the woody rose stem of the plant (peduncle).
  • Can you find the stipules?  These are the little straw like outgrowths on either side of the base of the leafstalk (petiole)?
  • Is the stipule winged or adnate (joined together)?
  • Are there thorns or bristles below the stipules?  These would be the infrastipular spikes.
  • What colour is the leaf in spring and summer?
  • What colour is the rose leaf in the autumn?
  • Are the leaflets whole, or nibbled?

Draw the flower of the native rose plant in the afforestation area.

  • Is the bloom solitary, or do the flowers appear in a corymb?
  • What colour is the blossom?
  • Are there any rose buds?
  • Can you find the sepals supporting the petals of the flower?
  • Can you find the sepals encasing the petals of the rose bud?
  • What size is the flower?
  • Is the flower fully open?  Can you see the bottom of a blossom at the same time as looking at the top of a flower bloom?  Can you observe the side of a rose flower?  Are all the rose flowers in the front of the rose plant, or are some flowers tucked behind grass, surrounding plants, rose buds, other flowers, or leaves?
  • What is the date of first sighting a rose bud?
  • What is the date of first sighting a rose flower?
  • How does the drawing of the rose flower compare between June and August?
  • What is the date when the petals fall off leaving behind the rose hip?
  • What is the condition of the petals, did you draw any petals with holes?  What caused the petal not to be whole?
  • As you draw the rose blossom and petals by looking and observing them, try to also, touch them, smell, hear, and taste them.  Does this sensory interaction, convince you to start another close up sketch or drawing?
  • What kind of safety procedures would you tell a person who was blind if this person were to use their senses to touch, smell, hear or taste a native rose flower petal?  Would you communicate the safety rules to a person who was deaf in the same way?

Draw a sketch of the entire native rose plant.

  • How high off the surface of the ground is the height of the plant?
  • Are there other rose plants nearby?
  • Is the ground or habitat in the area disturbed?
  • Has there been a lot of snow melt, and flooding in the spring?
  • Were there a lot of spring rains?
  • Has it been very dry, and an early year of drought so far?
  • Is there evidence of any insects or pollinators?
  • Do you think deers and rabbits affect the native rose plants?  Do you think humans and offleash dogs have any impact on the native rose plants? How do the rhizomatous roots respond to disturbances by small mammals or dogs digging?
  • In your picture position the flowers and leaves on the plant relative to each other.  Observe which leaves are in front or behind other leaves and blooms.  Distinguish if a rose bud is larger or smaller than a leaflet.
  • Is there evidence on the plant of rose galls? (Rose galls are bulges or balls forming in the middle of the plant stem where insects have laid their eggs, and the growing larva cause the plant stem to swell into a gall.)  According to Joseph Shorthouse in the report  “Galls Induced by Cynipid Wasps of the Genus Diplolepis (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) on the Roses of Canada’s Grasslands” Thirteen species of cynipid wasps of the genus Diplolepis induce structurally distinct galls on the three species of wild roses found on the grasslands of western Canada. Three species of Diplolepis gall the short rose, Rosa arkansana, in the Mixed Grassland and Moist Mixed Grassland ecoregions of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and eight species gall the common prairie rose, R. woodsii, throughout the prairie grasslands. Five species of Diplolepis gall the larger rose, R. acicularis, in more shaded regions such as the Aspen Parkland Ecoregion.”

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!

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“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger

“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

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