General – bushy shrub, 0.3-1.5 m tall; stems stout, usually densely covered with many straight, weak bristles and straight slender thorns.
Leaves – alternate; compound, 3-9 oblong leaflets (usually 5), each 2-5 cm long, (usually 3-4 cm), sharply double-toothed, usually somewhat hairy beneath.
Flowers – single, on short side branches; pink, showy, 5-7 cm across; appear in late May to July.
Fruit – scarlet, spherical to pear-shaped, fleshy ‘hips’, about 1.5 cm long.
Open forest, thickets, riverbanks, and clearings; widespread and common across the NW Ontario region; nearly circumpolar.
The Prickly Wild Rose could be confused with the Common Wild Rose, also called Wood Rose, but the upper stems of that species lack the many small bristles and prickles that cover the stems of the Prickly Wild Rose. Instead, the Common Wild Rose has a few scattered thorns, usually at stem nodes. It is found infrequently across the boreal forest from southern Manitoba to eastern Alaska. Despite its name, the Common Wild Rose is by far the less common of the two species in our region.
The fruit of the Prickly Wild Rose has a high vitamin C content and makes excellent jelly. Also, rose hips are gathered for the preparation of rose hip tea.