Wild Roses, Indigenous
Flowers of Iowa
All throughout the state of Iowa, you’ll find wild roses growing almost
everywhere. This particular rose that grows in the wild was declared as the
State Flower of Iowa on May 6, 1897. That was a year later when these wild roses
were chosen to be the motif that will give designs to the silver tea set that
will be presented to the United States Navy. These blossoms graced the
battleship of Iowa as well.
Wild Rose became the state flower of Iowa with the advice of the women of
Dubuque’s State Federation of Women’s Club. With the legislature drawn up, Wild
Rose with its untamed beauty and grace became Iowa’s State Flower.
There are several species of Wild Rose found indigenous to Iowa. Three known
Wild Roses are known native to the regions of Iowa. They are the Rosa blanda,
Rosa Carolina and Rosa arkansana. Unfortunately the legislature that proclaimed
the Wild Rose as Iowa’s state flower didn’t particularly named the specific
specie of Wild Rose that will be Iowa’s state flower. The three mentioned
species of Wild Roses are very difficult to tell which one is which. The
features of these three different Wild Rose species are very similar to each
other especially in appearance. In a very natural way, these indigenous flowers
have the ability to easily hybridize.
Rosa blanda is also referred to as the ‘meadow rose”. This particular specie is
indigenously found in meadows, open woodlands and prairies of Iowa. Meadow rose
or Rosa blanda can grow tall up to four feet in height. The plant appears to be
shrub-like that bears fruits that resemble miniature apples, half-inch size in
diameter. These fruits of Rosa blanda are called “hips”. Flowers of this specie
have showy petals that are large in size, blooming during the month of June
through out the summer. Rosa blanda, is only common in the northern area of
Iowa, nevertheless, it is often honored as the official flower of the state.
photography by www.1ove.com.
On the other hand, Rosa Carolina is the specie of Wild Rose that is found
blooming all throughout the entire woodlands and meadows in the state of Iowa.
While Rosa arkansana or the Arkansas rose embodies very similar qualities and
features of the Rosa blanda. It also blooms in June, standing three feet tall
with masses of fragrant blossoms that range in shades of pink to darker pink.
Like the specie Rosa blanda, Rosa arkansana bears fruit as well. The fruits
produced by Rosa arkansana species are also known as hips, shaped and as red as
an apple appearing in late summer.
Fruits of these three Wild Rose species put together, contains more than the
vitamin C you’ll get from an orange, so they say. These plants provided sources
of food supply when there are none and scarcity was adamant. Indians and early
people ate not only the fruits of Wild Roses but the leaves and flowers too.
Wildlife considers Wild Roses as important source of food.
The five petals of Rosa blanda close protectively over its numerous stamens
during the night and when it rains. Even though Wild Roses are known not to have
nectars like many flowers do, many insects are still attracted to then because
of their pollen. Green seed receptacles appear after the petals wither and fall
off. Each receptacle has crown-like features that have five sepals that grow and
swell. The fruits or hips as they call them are most noticeable during the
winter season. Hips of Wild Roses are also made into delicately-flavored jellies
aside from being major sources of perfume ingredients.