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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 492. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/22/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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4. Rosa carolina L. (pasture rose)

R. carolina var. grandiflora (Baker) Rehder

Pl. 538 b, 540 e, f; Map 2489

Stems 30–100(–130) cm long, low or weak and spreading to strongly ascending, mostly slender, dull reddish brown, the relatively few branches with mostly paired prickles at the nodes, these (2–)3–9 mm long, 1.5–3.0 mm wide, sometimes slightly to moderately broadened at the base, straight, occasionally downward-angled or rarely curved, flattened or not, sometimes also with sparse, scattered bristles between the nodes, rarely unarmed or densely covered throughout with larger prickles at the nodes and shorter prickles, bristlelike prickles, and stalked glands between the nodes. Leaves 5–10(–16) cm long, the petiole and rachis glabrous or less commonly hairy, occasionally with sparse stalked glands, occasionally with small prickles and/or scattered bristles. Stipules 10–18(–23) mm long, the margins entire or finely glandular-toothed toward the tip, the auricle flared, 2–4 mm long. Leaflets (3)5 or 7(9), 18–50 mm long, 9–28 mm wide, the terminal leaflet with a stalk 4–11 mm long, the blades ovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, angled at the base, angled or tapered at the sharply or occasionally bluntly pointed tip, the margins relatively coarsely simply or rarely doubly (or more) toothed with 8–14 teeth per side, these sometimes gland-tipped, the upper surface dull or slightly shiny, green, the undersurface glabrous or rarely hairy or glandular on the midvein. Inflorescences on lateral branches from second year’s stems, of solitary flowers or less commonly clusters of 2 or 3(–6) flowers, the flower stalks 5–19 mm long, with few to many stalked glands, rarely nonglandular, with usually several bracts. Flowers not doubled, the hypanthium 4–6(–8) mm long, with sparse to dense stalked glands, rarely nonglandular, the mouth usually 1.5–2.0 mm in diameter. Sepals 16–22 mm long, 3–4 mm wide, often unequal, some of them usually extending into dilated, somewhat leaflike tips and with the margins toothed or with 1 or few pairs of linear lobes, the undersurface nonglandular or occasionally sparsely glandular, becoming reflexed after flowering, usually shed by fruit maturity. Petals 15–24 mm long, pink to less commonly reddish pink, rarely white. Pistils 32–46, the styles free, hairy, not extending or extending up to 1 mm beyond the mouth of the hypanthium, the mass of stigmas thus not or only slightly elevated, more or less closing the hypanthium mouth. Hips 7–14 mm long, 6–15 mm wide, globose to slightly depressed-globose or rarely ellipsoid, fleshy, the surface dull to more commonly shiny, red to orangish red, lacking glands or with sparse to dense stalked glands. Achenes mostly 2–6 (note additional presence of up to 16 undeveloped ovaries), 4–5 mm long. 2n=28. May–July.

Scattered to common nearly throughout the state (eastern U.S. west to Minnesota and Texas; Canada; Mexico). Upland prairies, loess hill prairies, sand prairies, edges and openings of mesic to dry upland forests, savannas, glades, ledges and tops of bluffs, banks of streams, and rarely bottomland prairies, levees, and swamps; also pastures, old fields, fencerows, cemeteries, railroads, and roadsides.

Rosa foliolosa Nutt. is a distinctive species related to R. carolina that has a fairly restricted range in portions of eastern Texas, Oklahoma, and western Arkansas. It differs from R. carolina in its narrower leaflets, shorter (6–14 mm) stipules, and white corollas. W. H. Lewis (1958a) reported R. foliolosa from northeasternmost Oklahoma, close to the Missouri border, and suggested that it might be discovered in southwestern Missouri in the future. This is the only native American rose with routinely white corollas, which is a feature that collectors should focus on in searching for Missouri populations. Other normally pink-flowered roses do have rare forms with white corollas. However, these normally exist as white-flowered individuals within pink-flowered populations.

Rosa carolina is a morphologically variable and broadly distributed tetraploid taxon that can be difficult to distinguish from R. arkansana. For further discussion, see the treatment of that species. W. H. Lewis (2008) treated R. carolina as comprising three subspecies. The third subspecies, ssp. mexicoensis W.H. Lewis, occurs in Mexico and differs in its smaller, more densely branched habit, smaller leaves, and more finely and doubly toothed leaflet margins with the teeth gland-tipped.



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