Dwarf Rose

And here’s yet another post on the flora of the coast redwood understory (our yard.) This time we look at the dwarf rose, or wood rose, or baldhip rose — botanical name Rosa gymnocarpa.

This low deciduous native shrub grows all over the Pacific Coast Ranges from California up to B.C and to the east in Montana and Idaho. They grow 2 to 6 feet tall and have slender reddish stems covered in small bristly spines. Their leaves are ovular and toothed and their flowers, which show up in May and June, have 5 pink to lavender petals.

We have a couple of these plants, on opposite sides of our driveway. One is about 3 to 4 feet tall with several stems. The other is much smaller with a single stem.

This shade tolerant rose is the smallest rose in North America, hence the common name dwarf rose. It’s also known as the the baldhip rose because the leaf- like sepals that are usually attached to rose hips fall off the plant (July-ish) leaving a naked, pear shaped, fruit.

[Photo credits: me, Kevin Martin via iNaturalist, and Deanna L. Pierce]

close up of a dwarf rose flower with spiny stem in backgroun

dwarf rose bud just beginning to open up

dwarf rose with an insect on its petal

dwarf rose hip, a pear shaped fruit among rose leaves

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