Saturday, June 7, 2014

Roadside Roses, Rosa carolina

Over the past couple of weeks, we've noticed a profusion of "wild" pink roses along area roadsides. 

In some spots, the rosebushes are more vine than bush, sharing the ruddy clay banks with the likes of poison ivy, blackberry and Japanese honeysuckle, swaddling the tangled mass in a garland of pink lovelies.

These "wild" roses are actually naturalized European imports, brought in to beautify farm and garden many decades ago, and more than a few varieties exist.

North Carolina does have its share of native wild roses, however.
Swamp rose, Rosa palustris, Virginia rose, Rosa virginiana,  and Carolina rose, Rosa carolina, all share our native soil here in the Tar Heel state. 

This little beauty is most likely Carolina rose. Also called pasture rose, she thrives in many of the same situations as the more sprawling and abundantly blooming transplants from the first photo above, but her flower structure and blooming habit are a good bit different. Blossoms have a single set of five pink petals, with just a few blossoms sharing each stem, sometimes only one.

We were delighted to share both their company on this particular morning, as a few drops from last night's shower still cling to their lovely pink petals. Both these rose varieties are thriving here in their drier, upland site, while the swamp rose prefers to have its feet wet, or at least damp. Our other native, Virginia rose,  shares this habitat, but has stouter, more curved thorns.

We'll leave you with a couple shots of another Carolina rose, this one a bit more pale in complexion, but every bit as lovely as her sister.

Dust from the old gravel road coats the leaves, but the blossoms are freshly washed and fairly gleaming in the late morning sun, 

brightening the red clay road bank, and catching the eye of the country traveler. 

Carolina rose, now showing on a roadside near you...

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