What is taxonomy?

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 1

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

Prickly Rose (Rosa Acicularlis Lindl.) the Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana) and Wood’s Rose, or Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii) are perhaps easiest to identify in mid-June when the pink blooms appear.  These blooms last perhaps two weeks, giving way to the fruit or the red or reddish-orange rose hips, which again make this bush easy to identify. Whereas, all rose bushes have thorns, the Prickly Rose is abundant with weak thorns.

Prickly Rose (Rosa Acicularlis Lindl.) the Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana)  and Wood’s Rose, or Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii) all grow well across Saskatchewan, in the quaking aspen parkland, and also the grasslands as well as the northern boreal forests.  This bush is often found where the soil has been made acidic due to the contributions of spruce or pine, and will grow in forests comprised of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), and cottonwood (Populous spp.) all of these trees making up both the afforestation areas – Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities.

The rose bush, will make its appearance in places where rodents or other animals disturb the soil, loosening up the soil which then receives the rose seed (achene) in an area conducive to growth. Or, in fact, these animals may also be disturbing the rhizomatous roots which are laying below the soil.  Adventitious buds form on roots near the ground surface, on damaged stems (as on the stumps of cut rose shrubs), or on old roots. These roots develop into above-ground stems and leaves. A form of budding called suckering is the reproduction or regeneration of a plant by shoots that arise from an existing root system.  The rose bushes do not tolerate a closed forest canopy as they are only moderately shade tolerant.

What is the difference between scientists?

A botanist is an expert in or student of the scientific study of plants, based on the Greek root botanikos, from botanē meaning plant, and -logy from French -logie or from Greek  / medieval Latin -logia meaning the study or interest in a subject.  A biologist is a scientist who focuses on living organisms, including plants and animals from Greek bios ‘life’ + -logy.  A naturalist, on the other hand, is a person who studies or is an expert in natural history, especially a zoologist or botanist.  Historically, if one lived back in the late 14th century, the Middle English word for a “natural philosopher or scientist” was naturien instead of naturalist.

A citizen scientist is anyone who aids in the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world, and reports them to  a collaborative project with professional scientists.  Some wonderful ways to report data from the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest ecosystems, would be for citizen scientists  to make observations and send them off on their computers or by using phone apps.  iNaturalist, ebird, Bird Studies Canada, EcoSpark, eButterfly, FrogWatch, PlantWatch, Project Noah, Project BudBurst, Nature’s Notebook, LeafSnap.  The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan has a Saskatchewan Master Naturalists program.  The Saskatoon Nature Society conducts regular field trips to connect people and nature.  Jane’s Walks and The Wild About Saskatoon Walks in the spring month of May introduce the visitor to both the afforestation areas – Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park forest communities.

PlantWatch The PlantWatch program enables citizen scientists to get involved by recording flowering times for selected plant species and reporting these dates to researchers, who work to identify ecological changes that may be affecting our environment. By reporting on the PlantWatch species found in your community, you can help researchers discover how common plants are responding to climate change and track where changes are taking place in Canada, and at what rate.

Project BudBurst Project BudBurst is an app to receive data on the timing of leafing and flowering of trees and flowers Project BudBurst also offers climate change and phenology materials and tools

LeafSnap  The user of the LeafSnap App needs to extract the leaf and place it in a white background and then take a picture through the app to get the leaf identified automatically.

Reporting your findings on facebook, or social media, and using the hashtags #ScienceAroundMe., #RichardStBarbeBakerAfforestationArea, #GeorgeGenereuxUrbanRegionalPark, #Saskatoon, #YXEGreenStrategy are some excellent ways to track the eco-system out at the afforestation areas.

What is taxonomy?

Botanists refer to a taxonomic key produced by a taxonomist when speaking in reports, publications or at conferences about plants.

Taxonomic Ranks, and Binomial Name Genus and Species

“Nature produces individuals, and nothing more. She produces them in such countless numbers that we are compelled to sort them into kinds in order that we may be able to carry them in our minds. This sorting is classification—taxonomy.”  ~C.E. Bessey Though Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) may be regarded as the first ever naturalist, Theophrastus (371–287 B.C.), his pupil, is recognised as the father of Botany.  However, the starting point for modern botanical nomenclature is Linnaeus’ Species Plantarum of 1753 which featured a key event as Linnaeus adopted the system of using binomial names for plant species. Binomial nomenclature is a two-naming system featuring the first part of the name – the generic name– identifying the genus to which the plant or organism belongs, while the second part – the specific name or specific epithet – continues on to identify the species.  The classification of something, living things or organisms is the science called taxonomy.  A taxonomist groups organisms into categories.  A plant taxonomist may study the origins, and the relationships between different types of roses.  Taxonomists may come up with their own system of plant taxonomy or “taxonomic system

Taxonomic Chart Blank

Figure 1 Complete the Taxonomic Ranks for the Saskatchewan Wild Rose Method 1 Use the given relationships below used by botanists Method 2 Create your own Taxonomy Chart, Taxonomic Section titles, and plant names.

In Saskatchewan roses have the same taxonomy through to the genus “Rosa.”  Of all the taxonomic classifications, the clade ‘Rosids’ is the most challenging taxonomic category to describe.

  • Kingdom: Plantae.  Plantae means plants, featuring multi-cellular living things with predominantly photosynthetic cells.

    Rosales Classification according to the USDA
    Rosales Classification taxonomy key according to the USDA
  • Clade: Angiosperms. Angiosperms are plants with fruit.  Angiosperms are land plants which produce seeds within an enclosure such as a fruiting body.  Angiosperms is derived from the Greek words angeion (“case” or “casing”) and sperma (“seed”).
  • Clade: Eudicot.  Eudicots have two seed leaves which provide nutrients to the embroyo from the Greek words eu, well or good, dio two, and kotylidon seedlobe. Eudicot as a reference first proposed that there is a pair of leaves, or cotyledons, in the embryo of the seed.  Currently the classification refers to angiosperms which are not monocots.
  • Clade:  Rosids. Rosids have their own chapter: Rosids (Part 2).
  • Order: Rosales. Those rosids which are nitrogen fixing or those plants which belong to the nitrogen fixing order are given the name Rosales.
  • Family:  Rosaceae. The subfamily of rosaceae is Rosoideae, those plants with rose hips.  Rosoideae which are those genera bearing aggregate fruits that are made up of small achenes or drupelets, and often the fleshy part of the fruit  is the receptacle or the stalk bearing the carpels (female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of an ovary, a stigma, and usually a style).  In taxonomy, that which separates the family Rosaceae from the order Rosales is that the plant ovaries and achenes (seeds) are hidden inside the round hypanthium.
  • Genus: Rosa. Two of the ways that the rosaceae family can be narrowed down to the genus Rosa are; if the plant features many pistils and prickly stems.  chapter: genus Rosa (Part 3).
  • Species: R. Acicularlis Lindl., R. arkansana, R. woodsii
Linnaean system of classification Biological Classification Chart
Biological Classification Chart

Figure 2 From the information above fill out the Biological classification Chart.  What happened?  Have there been changes in the Linnaean system?  Why? For extra points, how many different kingdoms are there?

In the USDA classification

  • Kingdom Plantae refers to plants.
  • Sub-Kingdom Tracheobionta are vascular plants with lignified plant tissues (called vessels or trachea) for moving water and minerals around the plant.
  • Super-division Spermatophyta are seed plants.  Seed plants are divided into two groups Gymnosperms and Angiosperms.
  • Division Magnoliophyta are flowering plants.  Plants in Magnoliophyta were formerly classified as angiosperms.
  • Class Magnoliospida hold the dicot plants.
  • Sub-class Rosidae also called Rosid.
  • Order Rosales feature nitrogen fixing flowers with four or five petals and the blossoms are flat or cup-shaped. They also have fleshy fruit.

Activities and questions

  • Design, construct and evaluate the effectiveness of a taxonomic classification technique that demonstrates the scientific principles underlying the identification of plants and how to differentiate one plant from another.
  • Evaluate, compare (find the similarities) and contrast (find the differences) to weigh the effectiveness of more than one of the previously devised botanical classifications.  Debate the issue with supporting arguments pro and con.
  • What type of background in the physical sciences would a botanist or a taxonomist require?
  • Are there any biologists, or naturalists in Saskatchewan?


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: 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

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 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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“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.

“In the stillness of the mighty woods, man is made aware of the divine”
Richard St Barbe Baker

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