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Rosa californica

Rosa californica Cham. & Schltdl.

California Wildrose, California Rose

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Rosa aldersonii

USDA Symbol: ROca2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A mounded, 3-6 ft., or taller, semi-deciduous shrub with prickly branches; bright-green, pinnate leaves; fragrant, pink flowers and red hips.

The California Rose is a member of the rose family (family Rosaceae), which includes herbs, shrubs, and trees with mostly prickly stems. Besides garden roses and wild roses like this one, the family includes many fruit species, including apples, pears, quinces, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, loquats, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Pinnate
Fruit Type: Achene
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Hip (mature floral tube) surrounding achenes.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


Native Distribution: S. OR to Baja through cismontane CA
Native Habitat: A variety of moist sites below 6000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Moist to mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Likes shade in the interior; sun at higher elevations or near the coast. Barbed prickles make the shrub impenetrable. Susceptible to fungal problems.


Use Wildlife: Provides good wildlife habitat.
Use Food: Edible hips.
Conspicuous 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: 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.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC FAC
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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


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

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