Habit: Wood’s rose is fast growing, often forming nearly dense thickets with a rhizomatous, shallow, and fibrous root system. The stems are gray to reddish brown with straight or slightly curved prickles. Leaves are pinnately compound with 5-7 leaflets and sharply serrated margins; two thorns are at the base of each leaf. Flowers occur at the stem tips and are in groups of 1-5 with white to dark rose-colored petals. Fruit is a round rose hip that persists into winter.
Ecology: one of the more widespread of native roses, Rosa woodsii ranges through most of Canada and from the Pacific Coast to the Mississippi River as well as in Wisconsin, preferring to grow in riparian zones, on bluffs, and in dry grassy areas as well as subalpine forests, from elevations between 2600-11,000 ft (800-3400 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade, in well drained moist to semi dry moderately fertile soil.
The fibrous root system makes Wood’s rose an effective choice for control of soil erosion. It is a good source of energy and protein for a variety of wildlife, including larger mammals browsing the foliage. Birds enjoy eating the hips in the fall and into winter.