Native rose on the beach

Has anyone else ever seen wild native roses growing by the seashore? I was in Acadia National Park in Maine and found several plants growing on the beach itself just a few feet away from the ocean. I think it was Rosa Virginiana, but it could have been any of the native wild roses. They were definitely not Rosa Rugosa or Multiflora. Any ideas? I am thinking about adding Rosa Virginiana to my breeding.


You might have seen R. nitida (were the leaves really shiny? the plant relatively short, not over 4’ or so?) or R. palustris (“swamp rose”–taller and with not-so-glossy leaves) or even R. rugosa. In addition, I think I remember that the state highway dept. planted out some R. blanda years ago, and it’s possible that it found its way to the near-seashore area. So, it’s possible that it could be any of the above or R. virginiana. R. nitida is very pretty, and seems to contribute good leaf color in crosses.


Thanks Peter. I grow the swamp rose, and it was not that. I went during the fall and remember it had very bright red foliage and bright red hips, so I think I have it narrowed down to Virginiana and Nitida. I was just surprised to see a rose, other than R. Rugosa, growing on the beach (and when I say beach, I mean 4 feet from the water!). Any rose that is so salt tolerant could be used for creating roses that do well for highway plantings. Thanks again!


Rosa nitida is usually very easy to identify, not only by it’s leaves, but because it’s stems are densely covered with slender straight reddish prickles from top to bottom. With that said, I couldn’t tell the difference between Rosa carolina, R. virginiana, R. blanda, or R. palustris without the help of an expert. Best of luck

Mark Disero, Brantford Ontario


I’ve seen Rosa rugosa and a low-growing native rose, along with many intermediate (apparent) hybrids in the area you mention. Check out this link to my posting from last year, Sept 2003.



That old thread is almost identical to this…how funny. Thinking back, the leaves were not shiny, so I guess it was not Nitida. There was a large rose about 10 feet inland from these roses which was about 6 feet tall, upright with gorgeous bright red foliage and bright red hips (it was the fall). I think they were the same roses, except that the ones right on the water were stunted by being so close to the water. I do not think it was a Rugosa cross, but it is possible. I guess I will have to go back and find out for sure (not that going back to Acadia would be a chore). For those who have not been there, it is amazing and has some of the most beautiful Rugosa specimans.


It was a funny “deja vu” (sp?) for me too. And I know what you mean about Acadia – it sure is a pretty place. I never did figure out what native rose species it was, that I was seeing. But if you do go back (and if I’m remembering correctly), I think it was along the road sides near “Thunder Hole” that I saw the probable hybrid swarm that I was so fascinated by. I hope you get a chance to see what I’m talking about; there was definitely quite a bit of gene-shuffling going on.


I’m not even going to attempt a guess as to the species you are tring to identify. But you might find the following useful.

The attached link is a paper on rosa acicularis published by the New England Wildflower Society. It gives some comparison between a few native rose species, habitats and the difficulty of identification. But what whas interesting was on page ten of the paper it listed as rosa acicularis being found on the coast of Maine. You might want to go back to the home page of the this site and search for some of the pictures of native rose species.

Hope this helps.