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climbing prairie rose, climbing rose, prairie rose

Habit Shrubs, sometimes forming thickets; stoloniferous.

erect to procumbent and vinelike, 10–20(–60) dm;

bark of canes green to light brown;

prickles infrastipular and internodal, single or paired, declined, usually curved, sometimes erect, stout, 3–4 × 7–9 mm, broad-based, sometimes mixed with aciculi, rarely absent.

erect to procumbent, climbing, vinelike, (10–)15–30(–100) dm;

distal branches glabrous, eglandular;

prickles infrastipular and/or internodal, single or paired, usually curved or declined, sometimes erect, flattened, ± stout, sometimes mixed with aciculi, rarely absent.


deciduous, 8–12 cm;

stipules narrowly lanceolate, 12–15 × 0.5–3 mm, auricles flared, 3–4 mm, margins entire, sometimes fimbriate, stipitate-glandular, surfaces glabrous, sparsely glandular;

petiole and rachis with or without pricklets, usually pubescent, stipitate-glandular;

leaflets 3 (mostly younger stems)–5 (older stems), terminal: petiolule 10–16 mm, blade ovate to elliptic-ovate, (30–)48(–70) × (20–)27(–40) mm, membranous or leathery, base rounded or obtuse, margins 1(–2)-serrate, teeth (18–)35(–42) per side, coarse, gland-tipped, apex usually acuminate, abaxial surfaces pale green, glabrous or pubescent to tomentose, sometimes sessile- and/or stipitate-glandular, adaxial darker green, dull, glabrous.

deciduous or semipersistent, 5–12 cm, membranous or leathery;

stipules persistent, adnate to petiole, auricles flared or erect, margins lacinulose, sometimes entire, eglandular or stipitate-glandular;

leaflets 3–9(–11), terminal: petiolule 5–16 mm, blade elliptic, ovate, elliptic-ovate, or obovate, 10–48(–70) × 8–27(–40) mm, abaxial surfaces glabrous or pubescent to tomentose, eglandular, sometimes glandular, adaxial dull or lustrous.




panicles, 1–6(–30+)-flowered.


15–25 mm, glabrous, stipitate-glandular;

bracts 1 or 2, narrowly lanceolate, 10–30 × 1–2 mm, margins short stipitate-glandular, surfaces glabrous, eglandular.

erect, slender, 5–25 mm, glabrous or pubescent, eglandular or stipitate-glandular;

bracts persistent, 1–3, margins lacinulose, stipitate-glandular.


functionally unisexual or monoecious, plants dioecious, 3–5 cm diam.;

hypanthium ovoid, 4–6 × 4–5 mm, stipitate-glandular;

sepals narrowly to broadly ovate-lanceolate, 10–18 × 2–4 mm, margins entire, tip 3–4 × 0.5–1 mm, abaxial surfaces pubescent, stipitate-glandular;

petals single, rose-purple to pink, fading to white, 18–25 × 16–25 mm;

stamens 212;

carpels 20–25, styles glabrous, exsert 5–6 mm beyond stylar orifice rims (0.5 mm diam.), hypanthial disc 2–3 mm diam.

1.5–5 cm diam.;

hypanthium ovoid, oblong, or urceolate, glabrous, eglandular or stipitate-glandular;

sepals persistent, reflexed, ovate-acuminate or -lanceolate, 6–18 × 1–4 mm, margins entire or (outer) pinnatifid, abaxial surfaces glabrous or pubescent, eglandular or stipitate-glandular;

petals single or double, pink, rose-purple, or white;

carpels 6–25, styles connate in columns, exsert 3–6 mm, sometimes ± free with age, glabrous or pilose, stylar orifice 0.5–2 mm diam., hypanthial disc conic, 2–4 mm diam.


bright red, subglobose to globose, 6–10 × 6–9 mm, firm, sparsely stipitate-glandular often undeveloped because of dioecy, then early deciduous.

red or orange-red, usually globose, sometimes ovoid or subglobose, (4–)5–10 × 5–9 mm, glabrous, eglandular or sparsely stipitate-glandular;

sepals late deciduous, reflexed.


17–22, fawn, 4–5 × 2.5–3 mm.



= 14.

Rosa setigera

Rosa sect. Systylae

Phenology Flowering May–Aug.
Habitat Prairies, savannas, woodland borders, clearings, open fields, abandoned pastures, waste areas, roadsides, fence rows
Elevation 100–500 m (300–1600 ft)
from FNA
AL; AR; CT; DC; DE; FL; GA; IA; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MO; MS; NC; NE; NH; NJ; NY; OH; OK; PA; SC; TN; TX; VA; VT; WI; WV; ON [Introduced in Europe (Channel Islands)]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
North America; Europe; Asia (primarily China); n Africa [Introduced in Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, Pacific Islands (New Zealand, Philippines)]

In the eastern United States Rosa setigera has been introduced from the Midwest or escaped from cultivation (W. H. Lewis 1959b). Based primarily on herbarium records, R. setigera is introduced in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia; other states (Alabama, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia) probably have both native and introduced populations.

Rosa setigera is the only native rose with procumbent or climbing stems to 60 dm with three leaflets on younger stems and five on older stems, and with unisexual flowers and caducous sepals.

Rosa setigera is the only species of sect. Systylae native to North America. The species is distinct from other members of the section in its flavonoid patterns, which show linkages to sect. Cinnamomeae [= sect. Rosa] (C. Grossi et al. 1998); it is also the only dioecious species of the genus. Microscopic floral characters are detailed elsewhere (W. H. Lewis 1959b; P. G. Kevan et al. 1990; J. R. Kemp et al. 1993, 1993b).

Since 1886, Rosa setigera has been used also as one parent in climbing hybrid cultivars produced in central Europe to increase hardiness and vigorous growth.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Species ca. 35 (3 in the flora).

Other species of sect. Systylae, hybrids, and cultivars that spread by stoloniferous shoots and are mostly sterile have escaped from cultivation and are occasionally found. One is Rosa sempervirens Linnaeus, evergreen rose, native to southern Europe, Asiatic Turkey, and northern Africa and found in California (B. Ertter and W. H. Lewis 2008); introduced in 1827 in France, it may also be the basis of a collection from Massachusetts (B. N. Gates 15713, 8 Nov. 1942, CONN), noted as doubtless an escape and spreading by rooting freely at tips of canes, and in Oklahoma, where a scrambling vine was collected (P. Kirtley 68, 6 Oct. 1935, MO). Such occasional findings of R. sempervirens can be expected in mostly warmer areas of the continent where it is readily recognized by its sprawling stems to 60 dm, and usually persistent, leathery, and lustrous leaflets with terminal leaflets distinctly longer than laterals. The species is introduced sporadically in the West Indies, Central America, and South America.

Rosa ×moschata Herrmann, musk rose, an escape from mostly southern latitude gardens, is found in Alabama, Illinois (not confirmed), and Louisiana. It is identified by long climbing or prostrate stoloniferous stems reaching 90 dm with erect or slightly curved prickles, leaflets ovate to lanceolate-elliptic, 5–50(–70) mm, mostly glabrous, finely serrate, and adaxially not lustrous, flowers to 5 cm diam. in clusters having a musky fragrance, petals white, or less commonly, pink, often double, sepals narrowly lanceolate and long-acuminate to 20 mm, strongly reflexed, dark red or purple-brown hips.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Leaflets 3–5, terminal: petiolules 10–16 mm, blade teeth (18–)35(–42) per side; stipule margins entire, sometimes fimbriate; flowers 3–5 cm diam.; sepal margins entire.
R. setigera
1. Leaflets (5–)7–9(–11), terminal: petiolules 5–13 mm, blade teeth 12–20 per side; stipule margins fimbriate; flowers 1.5–2.5 cm diam.; sepal margins pinnatifid
→ 2
2. Pedicels 5–12 mm, stipitate-glandular or eglandular, usually pubescent; sepals 6–10 × 1.5–2 mm, abaxial surfaces usually stipitate-glandular; flowers 1.5–2.5 cm diam.; petals single or double; leaflet adaxial surfaces dull, terminal blade membranous.
R. multiflora
2. Pedicels 18–25 mm, eglandular, glabrous; sepals 6–8 × 1–1.5 mm, abaxial surfaces eglandular; flowers 2–2.5 cm diam.; petals usually double; leaflet adaxial surfaces lustrous, terminal blade leathery.
R. lucieae
Source FNA vol. 9, p. 83. FNA vol. 9, p. 82.
Parent taxa Rosaceae > subfam. Rosoideae > tribe Roseae > Rosa > subg. Rosa > sect. Systylae Rosaceae > subfam. Rosoideae > tribe Roseae > Rosa
Sibling taxa
R. acicularis, R. arkansana, R. blanda, R. bracteata, R. bridgesii, R. californica, R. canina, R. carolina, R. cinnamomea, R. foliolosa, R. gallica, R. glauca, R. gymnocarpa, R. laevigata, R. lucieae, R. minutifolia, R. mollis, R. multiflora, R. nitida, R. nutkana, R. palustris, R. pinetorum, R. pisocarpa, R. rubiginosa, R. rugosa, R. sherardii, R. spinosissima, R. spithamea, R. stellata, R. tomentosa, R. virginiana, R. woodsii
Subordinate taxa
R. lucieae, R. multiflora, R. setigera
Synonyms R. rubifolia, R. setigera var. elatior, R. setigera var. glabra, R. setigera var. tomentosa
Name authority Michaux: Fl. Bor.-Amer. 1: 295. (1803) de Candolle: Cat. Pl. Hort. Monsp., 137. (1813)
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