Today’s photograph is used with the kind permission of Dr. David Boufford of the Harvard University Herbaria. The field notes accompanying this photograph are available from the Biodiversity of the Hengduan Mountains site, Rosa omeiensis; a glance at the specimen page will reveal this plant was growing in a forest of fir, larch and birch with a rhododendron understorey.
Fruit colour is variable in Rosa omeiensis, ranging from bright red to deep red to yellow (and, as seen in today’s photograph, mixtures thereof). The fruits are edible, reportedly tasting sweet. The Flora of China entry for Rosa omeiensis notes that they are used medicinally and “to ferment wine” (not sure if that means used to produce wine, or used to aid wine fermentation).
Broadly distributed across central and southern China and Tibet, Omei rose can be found in cultivation, where a particular form (Rosa omeiensis f. pteracantha) is (relatively) widely grown for its winged thorns, much like these thorns from a wild plant. The flowers also have an ornamental appeal, if one appreciates simplicity in rose blossoms.