Is this Rosa Acicularis?

Can anyone confirm if this is indeed Rosa Acicularis? I am interested in working it into my breeding program. It is from the Rumsey natural area (Information & Facilities - Rumsey Natural Area | Alberta Parks), close to Drumhellar.

It has been hardy to the tips for me the last three years in zone 3b Canadian prairies. It is first to bloom, highly fragrant, has about 1.5" inch wide flowers, and has one main flush. It has grown two main stems and is about three feet high this year.

Here are photos from early June:

It now has several OP hips set. Here are more photos of it from today which were taken using a clearer lens:
Thank you kindly for any confirmation,


It’s not Rosa acicularis.

Judging by the shape of the leaflets and the rich pink colour of the flower, I would say it is Rosa arkansana. What kind of habitat was it collected from? Rosa arkansana often grows in poor, sandy soils and sometimes on top of hills where there is little other shrubbery.

By the way, the flowers of Rosa arkansana can range from near white to deep pink, and sometimes have a beautiful pattern to them. which Rosa acicularis and Rosa woodsii flowers don’t.

The thorns do not look right for acicularis, either. Generally the bristles are quite prickly right to the end of even the small branches. And the leaf is more deeply notched than acicularis. That being said, I am not familiar with different strains of acicularis and do not know how much variation occurs from locale to locale. I have two R. woodsii from the same locale and they are crazy different. But that should not stop you from experimenting with making crosses with it. A lot of rose breeding is about experience,observation, and never discount luck.

This is exciting! It was dug up from the bottom of an open prairie hill with little else growing other than grass and prairie crocuses. It was growing in full sun, in lean soil, area looked exactly like this (there are even some rose stems in this photo:

The first year I had it, it was just a little twig although it did flower, the next year a foot taller, and this year it is about 3 feet high. It is starting to sucker.

I did not realize the flower of arkasana can be small? The flowers on this rose were definitely not bigger than 1.5". Below are some more photos of the plant today, this time with the ruler out.

Or is there a chance this is Rosa Woodsii?

It’s seems too late to get pollinate it this year, but I would love to work it into the plan for next year!

Here are more photos of the leaves and hips. I’ve picked off most of the smaller hips and left the larger ones.

I think it could make an excellent seed parent, it had over fifty set hips for such a little plant.

This greatly resembles one of my Rosa woodsii-both of which came from seed from Canada. The woodsii flower is small, around 1", and has similar tooth structure on the leaves, hips and red bark with similar bristles. Mine vary greatly from each other in part because I picked out two seedlings to keep that were the most dis-similar and one is probably not representative of the species. The one that does not look like yours has pale bark, bottle shaped hips, and pale pink to almost white flowers, but has similar if not more bristles. They did come from the same seed batch.


“… (growing) with little else than grass and prairie crocuses.”

Typical ecosystem where Rosa arkansana grows.

Note also the relatively short height of the roses (likely less than 60 cm.), which Rosa arkansana is in its native habitat on the Canadian Prairies. Also, the shrubs are individual and spaced relatively apart, which is also typical.

I’ve seen scenes of Rosa arkansana as your photograph displays many times on the Canadian Prairies.

Rosa woodsii can be found in an ecosystem like this, but would be located more where precipitation collects and growing in thickets.

Thank you very much Paul & Jackie for your input. I am glad to know it is not acicularis! I am really hoping it is arkansana now! Is there a way to test it to find out? I wonder if my local agriculture college would know… Either way, I would love to work it into my breeding program. Because it is the first to bloom, I suppose I’ll have to save pollen for it early next year.

Thank you again for all your help,