The Alberta Rose
Better know by its common names, the Wild Rose or the Prickly Rose, Rosa acicularis is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae). It was adopted by the Province of Alberta, Canada to be its official floral emblem in 1930.
In Alberta, you can find the Wild Rose in bloom starting in late May and lasting until early August. The fragrant flowers are bright pink with petals 3-5 cm in size and can be used for the manufacture of perfume.
The Wild Rose is classified as a deciduous shrub (bushy shrub) and can be found almost everywhere in Alberta. The plant grows up to 1.5 m (5 feet) tall and has "bristle like" branches. The larger stems are densely covered with small prickles with the occasional thicker thorn.
Lifecycle of the Wild Rose
In the spring time, new green buds develop on the stems of the Wild Rose and they grow larger until they open up into the beautiful pink flowers that these plants are so admired for.
When the Wild Rose is in bloom, its fragrance attracts bees and other insects to gather and distribute the pollen.
As the flower begins to wither, it turns into a small oval shaped hard seed container called a "rose hip" which is also considered the fruit of the plant.
Wild Rose Hips
Small animals such as squirrels and birds are attracted to the hips and even deer, moose, rabbits and coyotes are known to eat the rose hips.
Wild Rose hips are known for their high vitamin C content and are used to make syrup, jelly, jams, and marmalades. During this process, the hips are peeled of their skins and mashed into a pulp with seeds removed.
The hips of the Wild Rose are also gathered for the preparation of rose hip tea. Even the leaves and flowers can also be used to make tea.
The plant was used by the aboriginal people of North America for medicinal purposes. It was used to treat ailments such as bee stings, colds, blindness and diarrhea. They also incorporated the Wild Rose plant as ceremonial medicine used in witchcraft, black magic, and to protect one from ghosts and evil spirits.