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Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Rosa nutkana

Rosa nutkana C. Presl

Nootka Rose

Rosaceae (Rose Family)



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

Nootka rose is a 2-10 ft., sometimes taller, prickly to nearly unarmed, wild rose with extraordinarily large, solitary (sometimes 2-3 in a cluster), pink flowers at branch ends. The flowers, which can be up to 3 1/2 in. across, are followed by big, purplish, pear-shaped hips. The light-green leaves are pinnately compound. A thorny shrub with pale pink flowers, the largest (often only) thorns in pairs near leaf stalks.

The hips, or fruit, of any wild roses may be eaten and are often used to make jams and jellies. Sweetbrier (R. eglanteria), the "Eglantine" of Shakespeare and Chaucer, has many down-curved prickles on the stem, and minute glands on the leaves and sepals, giving a pleasant rose aroma. Introduced in North America, it is fairly common west of the Cascade Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 12 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Dark green.
Fruit: Purple to red hip (mature floral tube) surrounding achenes.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AK , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: AK, s. to n. CA & in the Rockies s. to CO & UT
Native Habitat: Dryish to moist, wooded to open sites

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist to drier soils.
Conditions Comments: In areas where both R. nutkana and R. woodsii occur, R. nutkana is typically at higher elevations. It is susceptible to fungal problems.


Use Wildlife: Bees
Warning: Plant has thorns or prickles.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Mourning cloak and grey hairstreak butterflies

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.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Mourning Cloak
(Nymphalis antiopa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Seeds removed from dried hips germinate slowly; outside stratification over a winter helps. Small offsets from the parent root transplant well.
Seed Collection: Hips can be collected as soon as they are ripe. Achenes can then be extracted by macerating the hips in water and recovering the seeds by flotation.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed 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:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
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 nutkana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rosa nutkana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rosa nutkana


Record Modified: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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