Rosa blanda Ait.

smooth rose

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Smooth rose is so-called because its branchlets are thornless or nearly so. This dense 2-5 foot (0.7-1.5m) shrub has a distinctive rounded crown and produces showy, pale pink flowers. Smooth rose propagates easily via cuttings, although young plants can be susceptible to fungus. The hips (fruits) are rich in vitamin C.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields, shores of rivers or lakes, talus and rocky slopes

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Growth form
the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
Leaf type
the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
Leaves per node
there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Leaf duration
the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
armature on plant
the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
Leaf blade length
85–110 mm
Leaf stalk
the leaves have leaf stalks
Fruit type (general)
  • the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
  • the fruit is fleshy
Bark texture
the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
Twig winter color
  • brown
  • purple
  • red
Bud scale number
there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
Show All Characteristics
  • Buds or leaf scars
    Bud scale number
    there are three or more scales on the winter bud, and they overlap like shingles, with one edge covered and the other edge exposed
    Bud scar shape (Fraxinus)
    NA
    Collateral buds
    there are no collateral buds on the sides of the branches
    Leaf scar arrangement
    there is one leaf scar per node on the stem or twig
    Superposed buds
    there are no superposed buds on the branch
    Winter bud stalks
    the winter buds have no stalks
  • Flowers
    Carpels fused
    • the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    • the carpels are fused to one another
    Enlarged sterile flowers
    there are no enlarged sterile flowers on the plant
    Flower petal color
    pink
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Hairs on ovary (Amelanchier)
    NA
    Hypanthium present
    the flower has a hypanthium
    Inflorescence hairs
    there are no hairs on the inflorescence
    Inflorescence position
    the inflorescences grow on older branches
    Inflorescence type
    • the inflorescence has only one flower on it
    • the inflorescence is a corymb (with long lower branches and shorter upper branches, giving it a more or less flat-topped look)
    Number of pistils
    6 or more
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble leaves in color and texture
    Sepal cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    there are no glands at the tips of the sepal lobes
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Stamen number
    13 or more
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    • NA
    • red
    Fruit tissue origin
    the hypanthium of the flower becomes part of the fruit
    Fruit type (general)
    • the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    • the fruit is fleshy
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    • the fruit is an aggregate (composed of multiple fused ovaries from one flower)
    Nut with spines (Fagaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    there are no wings on the fruit
  • Glands or sap
    Sap color
    the sap is clear and watery
    Stalked glands on fruit (Rosa)
    there are no stalked glands on the fruit
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is a shrub (i.e., a woody plant with several stems growing from the base)
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf has hairs on it
    • the underside of the leaf has no hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade edges (Acer)
    NA
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the hairs on the leaf blade are different from the choices given
    Leaf blade length
    85–110 mm
    Leaf blade scales
    there are no scales on the leaf blades
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is obovate (egg-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is coriaceous (has a firm, leathery texture)
    Leaf blade translucent dots
    there are no translucent dots on the leaf blade
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the main veins of the leaf blade are pinnate (the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the main central vein) and non-arcuate (not arched towards the leaf tip)
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base toward the tip
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they wither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the plant is broad-leaved (with broadly flattened leaf blades)
    Leaf lobe tips (Quercus)
    NA
    Leaf midrib glands
    the midrib of the leaf blade lacks glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk nectaries
    there are no nectaries on the leaf stalk
    Leaf stalk shape
    the leaf stalk is not flattened
    Leaf teeth
    the leaf blade margin is serrate (with forward-pointing) or dentate (with outward-pointing) with medium-sized to coarse teeth
    Leaf teeth hairs (Carya)
    NA
    Leaf type
    the leaf blade is compound (i.e., made up of two or more discrete leaflets
    Leaves per node
    there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is compound, with a single terminal leaflet and more than two additional leaflets
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
    • shores of rivers or lakes
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of an odor, or it has an unpleasant or repellant odor
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Aerial roots
    the plant has no aerial roots
    Bark texture
    the bark of an adult plant is thin and smooth
    Branch brittleness (willows only)
    NA
    Branch cross-section
    the branch is circular in cross-section, or it has five or more sides, so that there are no sharp angles
    First-year cane (Rubus)
    NA
    Lenticels on twigs
    there are no lenticels on the twigs, or they are very hard to see
    Pith shape
    the outline of the pith in a twig is roughly round
    Short shoots
    there are no peg- or knob-like shoots present
    Twig bloom
    there is no bloom on the twig
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig scales
    there are no scales on the twig surface
    Twig winter color
    • brown
    • purple
    • red
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
fairly widespread (S-rank: S4)
Massachusetts
rare to uncommon (S-rank: S2S3), #NAME? (code: #NAME?)
Vermont
widespread (S-rank: S5)

var. blanda

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. glabra

Maine
rare (uncertain) (S-rank: S2?), special concern (code: SC)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Rosa cinnamomea:
stems with a pair of stout, broad-based prickles at most nodes and flowers usually with a double-corolla (i.e., additional cycles of petals) (vs. R. blanda, with stems lacking prickles at most or all nodes and flowers usually with 5 petals).
Rosa virginiana:
hypanthium (the basal portion of the flower) with stipitate glands and stems with a pair of prickles at most nodes (vs. R. blanda, with the hypanthium (basal portion of the flower) lacking stipitate glands and stems lacking prickles at most or all nodes).

Synonyms

  • Rosa johannensis Fern.

Family

Rosaceae

Genus

Rosa

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Rosa blanda Ait. var. blanda is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. R. blanda var. glabra Crépin is known from ME, is restricted to ice-scoured river shores, and is of conservation concern.

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

3.  Rosa blanda Ait. N

smooth rose.  3a. Rosa blanda Ait. var. glandulosa Schuette; R. subblanda Rydb.;  
3b. Rosa johannensis Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. River shores and banks, meadows, rocky 
slopes, roadsides.

1a.  Sepals erect in fruit; petiole and leaf rachis pubescent (rarely glabrous); abaxial surface of leaflets pubescent (rarely the surface glabrous) … 3a. R. blanda var. blanda

1b.  Sepals wide-spreading to reflexed in fruit; petiole and leaf rachis glabrous or promptly so; abaxial surface of leaflets glabrous or sparsely pubescent on the veins only 
 … 3b. R. blanda var. glabra Crépin

Variety blanda is known from CT, MA, ME, NH, VT. Variety glabra is known from ME and is 
of conservation concern. It is restricted to northern, ice-scoured rivers. Report of var. glabra in VT by Seymour (1982) was erroneous, the specimen is Rosa blanda var. blanda.

3a×14. Rosa ×‌palustriformis Rydb. is a rare rose hybrid in New England known 
from ME. It is morphologically intermediate in critical characters that separate the parental taxa. Rosa blanda shows largely unarmed branchlets, distinct portions of the stipules averaging 4.6 mm long, petioles and rachises rarely with prickles (8% of individuals), pedicels rarely with stipitate-glands (1% of individuals), and hypanthia 
rarely with stipitate-glands (1% of individuals). Rosa palustris normally has nodal prickles on branchlets, distinct portions of the stipules averaging 2.6 mm, petioles and rachises often with prickles (75% of individuals), pedicels usually with stipitate-glands (92% 
of individuals), and hypanthia always with stipitate-glands.