Rosa mollis Sm.

soft downy 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

Soft downy rose gets its common and scientific name ("mollis" means "soft") from its soft, hairy leaves. If you turn over the leaves and inspect them with a hand lens, you can see tiny rust-colored glands that emit a resiny odor. The pink to purplish flowers, to 2 inches (5 cm) across, bloom in June and July.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
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
  • the plant has spines, prickles, or thorns
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
  • green
  • 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
  • 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 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 cilia (Ilex)
    NA
    Sepal tip glands
    there are 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 upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    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
    • at least some of the hairs on the leaf blade are reddish-brown, and they do not have glands
    • at least some of the hairs on the leaf blade have glands at their tips
    • the leaf blade has tangled or woolly-looking hairs, without glands
    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)
    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 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 has glands on the upper surface
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf teeth
    • the leaf blade margin has teeth, which themselves have smaller teeth on them
    • 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 three leaflets
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • 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
    Pith shape
    the outline of the pith in a twig is roughly round
    Twig bloom
    the twig has bloom on it
    Twig papillae (Vaccinium species only)
    NA
    Twig winter color
    • green
    • red
    Wings on branch
    the branch does not have wings on it
    armature on plant
    • the plant does not have spines, prickles, or thorns
    • the plant has spines, prickles, or thorns

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Rosa sherardii

Family

Rosaceae

Genus

Rosa

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

11.  Rosa mollis Sm. E

soft downy rose. VT. Fields, roadsides. This species is somewhat similar to Rosa sherardii. Both species belong to the Rosa tomentosa Sm. complex of Europe that is identified by its tomentose and glandular leaflets. Rosa mollis has horizontally spreading, straight prickles, fleshy sepal bases, and an orifice to the hypanthium that is ½ or more the diameter of the disk (i.e., the area at the summit of the hypanthium within the sepal bases). Rosa sherardii has slightly curved prickles, thin and chartaceous sepal bases, and an orifice to the hypanthium that is ca. the diameter of the disk.