How To Identify Wild Rose

Rose is a family of plants, of which there are many different species.  Rose and wild rose are also common-names for particular plants.  The cultivated wild rose pictured here is a favorite of gardeners in Illinois, and is often used as a low maintenance ornamental plant.  The blooms are about 3″ across with showy, bright petals, and the typical wild rose leaf pattern.  Edible parts of wild roses include the petals, rose hip (fruit), and the young leaves for tea.

According to Tom Brown, the wild rose has been used medicinally to make a wash for infections or inflammation and a tea as a natural sedative.  (You can buy his book here.)  With rose hips being extremely high in vitamin C, this plant will also provide a great boost for the immune system, particularly during cold season.

You may also be interested in reading my post on rosa multiflora – an invasive species of wild rose that is native to Asia.

Caution:  Did you notice that raspberry and blackberry plants resemble wild roses?  That’s because they are in the rose family.  Always check the leaf pattern to help you properly identify wild rose.  Familiarize yourself with local varieties to help ensure proper identification and only collect from plants you are certain have not been sprayed and are away from sources of pollution.

How To Identify Wild Rose

5 petal flowers
Develops red fruit after blooms
Distinctive smooth leaves, see photo
Multiple stamen
Red, pink or white
Single or multi bloom
Thorns or bristles on stems


Coasts, sandy areas
Fields, edges

2 Comments on “How To Identify Wild Rose

  1. Another interesting feature is that different colors will also taste different. If you decide to taste one, pull off a petal, but don’t eat the white part that connected to the center stamens. It will be more bitter tasting than the rest of the petal.


    • I had not noticed the taste between colors before. I will definitely be paying much closer attention now 🙂 You bring up a good point about the petals… if you were to take the whole flower there would be no fruit in the fall. By just taking the petals you are not harming the production of the plant.

      Thanks for the great comments, keep ’em comin’!


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