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Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)
Brundage, Stephanie

Rosa carolina

Rosa carolina L.

Carolina Rose, Pasture Rose

Rosaceae (Rose Family)


USDA Symbol: ROCA4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A low, freely suckering shrub, Carolina Rose grows 1-3+ ft. high. From thorny stems are borne fragrant, 2 in. wide, 5-petaled, pink flowers. Flowers occur singly or in small clusters. The fruit, a hip, turns from dark green to bright red as it ripens.

The Carolina Rose is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae) which includes about 2,000 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs worldwide; approximately 77 native and 9 naturalized tree species and many species of shrubs and herbs in North America.


From the Image Gallery

26 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Red hip (mature floral tube) surrounding achenes.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Eastern U.S., w. to WI, IA, MO, extreme s.e. KS & e. TX
Native Habitat: Dry prairies; disturbed areas; sandy, open woods; thickets; roadsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: Though one of the most shade-tolerant roses, this species grows best in open, sunny locations. It is susceptible to fungal problems.


Warning: Plant has thorns or prickles.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
Provides Nesting Materials/Structure for Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Propagated by seed, cuttings or stolon division. Separate and transplant stems arising from the underground stolons in late fall or early spring. Make softwood cuttings in early spring after vigorous shoot growth has just started. Semi-hardwood cutting
Seed Collection: Collect seeds as soon as the hips have turned red in the late summer or early fall. Do not allow the seeds to dry out.
Seed Treatment: Remove seeds from pulpy hip. Seeds require stratification (3 months at 40 degrees) and may benefit from scarification.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rosa carolina in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rosa carolina in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rosa carolina


Record Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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