Today’s entry was written by Taisha:
With summer on its way in this hemisphere, I can’t help but think of my favourite place to spend the season: Jasper, Alberta. I was fortunate enough to live there for a few years before moving to Vancouver, and I must say the beautiful wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies are at their finest in this National Park. I have chosen a reminder of my time in Jasper for today’s Botany Photo of the Day, Rosa acicularis. This photo of the wild or prickly rose, the official flower of Alberta, was taken by Brian Van Snellenberg (aka brianv_vancouver@Flickr) in 2011 in Summerland, British Columbia. Thanks Brian.
Rosa acicularis has a Holarctic distribution, growing in northern Europe, Asia and North America. The subspecies sayi is North American, while subspecies acicularis is Eurasian (and Alaska). The North American subspecies is characteristic of boreal forests with white spruce and black spruce, but also extends into stands of quaking aspen, grasslands, and northern hardwood forests. It can be found as far south as New Mexico.
This perennial shrub can grow up to 1.2 meters in height. Plants bear radially symmetrical flowers on the prickly branches. The stipulate leaves are alternate and pinnately compound, comprised of five to nine leaflets. The flowers have five of both sepals and pink petals. A fleshy rosehip matures in the fall and houses the achenes, or the dry indehiscent fruits.
According to Aboriginal Plant Use in Canada’s Northwest Boreal Forest by Robin J. Marles et al., First Nations peoples ate rose hips fresh after removing the seeds, or processed the hips into jellies, beverages, or syrups. Traditional medicinal uses included preventing colds and fever by eating the hips and treating eye soreness by using a decoction made of the root as eye drops.