South Dakota Native Plant Research
Rosaceae : Rosa arkansana

Rosaceae : Rosa arkansana


Download Seed: The hairy achenes of prairie rose are 3.5-5 mm long. (57 KB)

Download Seedling: Seedling from a rose sucker planted in research garden at the Oak Lake Research Station near Brookings, S.D. (89 KB)

Download Vegetative: The leaves contain 7-11 leaflets. (61 KB)

Download Flowering: Flowers are solitary (96 KB)

Download Fruiting: Rose hips turn dark red in early fall. (61 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Prairie rose

Native American Name

Lakota: uŋžíŋžiŋtka hú


Rosa arkansana is small perennial shrub growing from rhizomes, with a woody base and a mixture of woody and herbaceous stems that often die back to the ground each year. The 10-50 cm tall stems are sparkly to densely covered in unequal prickles. The alternate, petiolate leaves have stipules. The compound odd-pinnate blades have 7-11 obovate to elliptic leaflets, 1-4 cm long and < 3.5 cm wide, with small teeth on the upper 2/3 portion. The flowers are in corymb-like clusters, of 3 or more, at the ends of the new year’s branches and occasionally from side branches on the previous year’s growth. The rounded hypanthium has 5 sepals, 1.5-3 cm long and 3-5 mm wide, that are persistent with the fruit. The 5 white, pink to occasionally red petals are 1.5-3 cm long, obovate and usually notched. There are numerous stamens and 15-30 pistils that develop into achenes 3-5 mm long with long stiff hairs on one side. The accessory fruit (rose hips) contains the achenes. Prairie rose blooms from May into August on prairies, open woodlands and along roadsides throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Prairie rose is an attractive addition to a native plant garden. The individual plants are short-lived, but new stems emerge each year. The flowers are very showy and are pollinated by a wide assortment of bees, flies, wasps and beetles. The fruit provide color and texture into the winter. Once established, they tend to form large colonies with new plants arising from the rhizomes. In sheltered areas the plants become more shrub-like and can grow to almost 1 m in height, with stems that persist for mor than 1 year.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect rose hips in late fall when dark red and achenes are brown. Remove the fleshy tissue and store seeds in a cool dry place.

Germination: Scarification with sandpaper improves germination. Fall sow for best results.

Vegetative Propagation: Division of rhizome sections.

Soils: Gravelly to fine soils. Richer, well drained soils produce the best flowers.

Light: Full sun,

Water: Drought tolerant but do better in medium to moist conditions.

Rosaceae : Rosa arkansana