Content Detail

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.

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago)
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and form:

Smooth wild rose is a dense, broad, or arched mounded shrub reaching 4 to 5 feet high. It has a suckering habit.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to the northern section of North America from Newfoundland to Pennsylvania, west to Missouri and north to Minnesota. It is found in open woods, along roadsides, and in sloped ravines. C-Value: 5

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Bees and other pollinators are attracted to it.

Bark color and texture:

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

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color:

The alternate, compound green leaves are elliptical, with five to nine leaflets that are 1/2 inch long and 3/4 inch wide. The margins are serrated, sometimes only on the top half. A pair of stipules (winged appendages) are attached to the stalk.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

In June to July fragrant single flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide, pink to deep rose with five rounded petals with wavy edges. It has showy yellow stamens in the center. There are typically one to four flowers at tips of older stems.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

It produces a shiny, 2/3 inch, elliptical, bright red berry known as a hip.

Plant care:

Smooth wild rose will grow best planted in full sun to light shade in dry to average soil. It flowers on old wood, therefore prune it soon after flowering.

List of pests, diseases and tolerances:

Smooth wild rose can get leaf spots, powdery mildew, and Japanese beetles.


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