Species with Cedar scented foliage?

I’m not very good at differentiating between the various species I find, especially the North American natives. A few years ago a friend brought me some seeds collected from Eastern Oregon, from a plant that was clearly doing very well in a very harsh climate. I’ve started using it in breeding and sure would like to know what it is.

It has dark bluish-green matte foliage, smallish leaves, leaflets not very wide. Canes are dark brown with the occasional hooked thorn. It blooms with an average of three blooms on a stem, 1.0 to 1.5 inches across, deep pink, very fragrant. I know, so far that sounds like every other North American species. However, this has VERY intensely scented foliage; when touched it gives off a strong scent of crushed Cedar sprigs, with a hint of Pine. I don’t know that I’ve encountered this before. Surely this is an identifying feature. Any clue as to which species this may be? I can post some photos of buds, foliage and canes.

Rosa rubinginosa has been naturalized and intermixed here. I believe that the Rosa californica is the northern half of the Willamette Valley is intermixed with it.

So, who knows. But yours is obviously not pure rubinginosa. And rosa primula, rosa rubinginosa and the moss roses are the only roses I know with snifferific foliage.

I don’t think these links will help but it is along the subject lines of identifing species.




It doesn’t seem to have any R. rubiginosa in it as far as I can tell…I’ve seen lots of rubiginosa, and this foliage scent isn’t anything like Apple, its REALLY intense Cedar scent. How curious.

Thanks for the info. I’m going out to take a closer look (and sniff) of my rubiginosa and see if I see any similarity.

R. glutinosa fits the scent. Actually it’s said to be pine but the responsible agents are a mix of terpenes so cedar scent is quite possible for a particular cultivar under particular conditions. I have one coming from Paradise Gardens in northern Idaho where it snowed today, so it’s hardy. When it leafs out we can compare photos.



Thanks for that suggestion. I found several references to it and it certainly sounds right. But this is not a North American native, and these seeds were collected from the wild in Eastern Oregon. Could this be an escaped invader, I wonder?



I just found a reference to R. glutinosa being closely related to R. eglanteria, right down to the heavily glandular foliage. My plant has completely smooth foliage and very little glandular activity on even the flower buds. Take a look at the photo link below of R. glutinosa. This looks nothing like my specimen.

Pretty! It looks mossy.

Rosa setipoda is supposed to smell like incense shrug

I do know that Oregon has 2 rare species, but the names escape me. However, looking at natives from surrouding eastern side states might be wise, too (like Colorado, maybe).

Try this link. It is awsome what they are doing her I wish every state had something like this.


Hmmm. What’s needed is a photo of your plant and a decent taxonomic key. It’s a shame HMF doesn’t have an interactive taxonomic key. A search of scents there (on pine, cedar is not an option) turned up only glutinosa.

The Java applet turned up some interesting possibilities including R. pisocarpa but the descriptions on HMF have no mention of scented leaves. The USDA has a similar species distribution map page, see


I’ve just gone through my few reference books looking for a remembered mention of a class of roses with scented leaves but came up empty. I think it was whatever group R. primula belongs to, but anyway we can be sure that scented leaves are not exclusive to any single group. Leaves are routinely sampled in the scent studies I’ve read.

We can be sure that the particular scent is related to hardiness, though. Terpenes are a big reason evergreens stay evergreen.

Rosa rubiginosa has the largest cluster of scented relation AND sub-relations.

Rosa primula’s closest relation is Rosa roxburghii. And, by the growth patterns of both, probably the moyesii clan. I’d check but the new tree file is now restrcited.

Rosa setipoda is supposedly scented.

the new tree file is now restrcited.




R. Minutifolia is not in those trees. Weird.

Just a lurker here, but came across this post you might find interesting on HMF by Kim Rupert that discusses a smoky Noble Fir scent on the foliage of Rosa fedtschenkoana Regel

Link: www.helpmefind.com/rose/pl.php?n=5311&tab=32

Thanks for the link to the Oregon Plant Atlas! The mapping is cool. Here are the options from the Oregon Plant Atlas site (no surprises): Rosa nutkana var. hispida (what Walter Lewis now calls R. nutkana subspecies macdougalii) or Rosa woodsii var./subspecies ultramontana. Gymnocarpa doesn’t sound right.

I’ve stopped obsessing over whether a species had this or that leaflet surface described. “Eglandular or not” covers a lot of ground.

Ya I really liked the mapping. I also like the fact it shows which are confired and not confired. Finally I like that you can map different species on the same map. but I wish it would have a key or a very good discription on the site. But it is better than most state sites on native flora.

I doubt this even scratches the surface. Oregon is littered with species roses. And at least 3 species are missing from this. lol they should totally add Rosa multiflora.

I’ve bought a R. ultramontana. Does it really get 19’ 8"?

Add R. multiflora?? Not to a list of native species! O_o

I know! But it is so common here hahaha. It’s “almost native” :wink:

I was kidding anyhow :slight_smile: