Native California Roses

copyright Barbara Ertter, 2001
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Rosa woodsii Lindley var. ultramontana (S. Watson) Jeps.
"Interior Rose"

Description Distribution Discussion Horticultural Notes Nomenclature Links

Plants forming large shrubs or thickets. Prickles few to many, slender, straight or slightly curved. Leaves blue-green, single-toothed. Flowers several per inflorescence; hips, pedicels, & sepals glabrous; sepal tips not very elongate; hip relatively slender.

DESCRIPTION: Loose shrub to thicket, generally 5--40 dm tall. Stem gray- or reddish-brown; prickles few to many, generally slender (sometimes thickened in Mojave desert), straight or slightly curved. Leaf 3--11 cm long; stipule margins with 0 or few glands; leaflets 2--3 per side, sparsely hairy to glabrous; terminal leaflet 10--40 mm long, elliptic, the base obtuse to acute, the tip obtuse; leaf-margins generally single-toothed and glandless. Inflorescence generally 1--5-flowered; pedicels generally 10--20 mm long, generally glabrous, glandless. Flowers: body of hip in flower generally 3--5 mm wide, glabrous, neck of hip 2--4 mm wide; sepals glandless, generally entire (or with a few simple, linear lobes), sepal-tip generally equalling sepal-body, entire; petals generally 15--20 mm long; pistils generally > 10 in number. Hip most often ovoid, 5--12 mm wide, glabrous, neck 3--5 mm wide, sepals persistent. n = 7. Blooming (April) May to September (October); earlier extreme in southern deserts, later in Sierra Nevada. Generally moist areas; 800--3400 m elev.

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The interior rose is the common native rose east of the Sierra Nevada, in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains, and in the higher mountains of the Mojave Desert (e.g., Providence Mts). It also occurs in some higher elevation sites in the Sierra Nevada (e.g., around Lake Tahoe) and extends west to an uncertain extent in northern California. The variety occurs north to British Columbia and Montana, while the typical variety (var. woodsii) grows in the central United States.

Additional distributional representations available from links at entry for this species in the Jepson Interchange for On-Line Floristics

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DISCUSSION: The Interior Rose is generally characterized by having numerous, slender, straight to somewhat curved prickles, although some populations in the Mojave Desert have relatively thick prickles. Further study is warranted to determine if these Mojavean populations are as distinct as other taxa in the woodsii-blanda complex. If so, the epithet glabrata (Parish) Cole has precedence at the varietal level, with R. gratissima Greene and R. mojavensis Parish available at the species level.

Prickles of plants from mountains near Las Vegas, showing different densities possible on stems of the same plant. Some Mojave Desert populations have prickles that are significantly more thick-based than is typical for the species.
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HORTICULTURAL NOTES: The Interior Rose is the obvious native species for horticultural purposes in transmontane California and the Intermountain West in general.

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R. californica var. ultramontana S.Watson in W.H. Brewer & Watson, Fl. California 1: 187. 1876: Watson 349--Utah & Nevada (discussion by NH in IF) [= R. ultramontana (Wats.) Heller, 1904]

Possible synonyms: (working list)
R. californica glabrata Parish, Erythea 6: 88. 1898: Parish 2481-- Cushenberry Sprs (HT: DS!)
R. chrysocarpa Rydb., Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 44: 74. 1917: Rydberg & Garrett 9302-- Allen Canyon, Utah (HT: NY!) [paratype from Dutch Flat, Placer Co., Dudley s.n., 1909]
R. gratissima Greene, Fl. Franciscana 73. 1891: Greene s.n.-- mts of Kern Co.(NY! see discussion in IF on var. gratissima sensu Cole) = californica or woodsii
R. mohavensis Parish, Bull. S. Calif. Acad. 1: 87. 1902 [nom. nov. for R. californica var. glabrata]
R. oligocarpa Rydb., N. Amer. Fl. 22: 532. 1918: Eastwood 945-- Goose Valley, Shasta Co., CA (HT: Arnold Arb.; IS: NY!) = gymnocarpa X woodsii?
R. puberulenta Rydb., Fl. Rocky Mts. 443, 1062. 1917: Rydberg & Garrett 9705-- Montezuma Cyn E of Monticello, UT (HT: NY!) [Rydb. 1918 includes CA in range]
R. pyrifera Rydb., Fl. Rocky Mts. 445, 1062. 1917: Sandberg et al. 871-- Lake Pend d'Oreille, ID (HT: NY!; IS: US!)
R. rotundata Rydb., Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 44: 76. 1917: Heller 10520-- mts west of Franktown, Nevada (HT: NY!; IS: US!) = woodsii X gymnocarpa?

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