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Learn A Bit About Nootka Roses

Stan V. (Stan the Rose Man) Griep, American Rose Society Certified Consulting Rosarian
Rocky Mountain District
Photograph Stan V. (Stan the Rose Man) Griep

One of the things I love about growing roses and gardening in general is that there is always something new to learn. Just the other day I had a nice lady ask me for help with her Nootka Roses. I had not heard of them before, dug right into researching them, and found them to be fascinating species roses/wild roses.

Nootka Roses are wild or species roses named after an island off Vancouver, Canada, named Nootka. This wonderful rosebush separates herself from other wild roses in three ways:

  1. Nootka Roses only grow in milder climates, where she will receive a minimum of 270 frost-free days, which would approximately be zones 7b –8b. Nootka Roses can be found on the coast, along with the Clustered and Bald-Hip Rose (Rosa gymnocarpa), but only in the warmest sites in the interior, where the Wood’s Rose (Rosa woodsii) is common. Unlike the Bald-Hip Rose, which thrives in more alkaline and shaded woodland sites from sea level to 5000’ elevation, and the Clustered Rose, which prefers a moist location, the Nootka Rose is found in sunny, well-drained locations.
  2. The hips of the Nootka Rose are large and round, being 1/2 – 3/4 inches long compared to the Bald-Hip Rose, which has tiny hips of only 1/4 inch and the Clustered Rose, which has larger, oblong hips.
  3. Nootka Roses grow upright from 3-6 feet, with stiff, erect stems or canes while the Clustered Rose is a larger plant, growing readily to 10 feet with gracefully arching canes. The Bald-Hip Rose is much smaller, growing only to 3 feet.

Nootka roses can be found in several States in the United States but may well have crossed with one of the other local wild/species roses, as she will easily cross with other such roses.

The Nootka Rose is a rose of many uses as well.
Research indicates that the early settlers to the United States, as well as the Native American Indians, ate Nootka rosehips and shoots during times when food was scarce. The Nootka Rose Hips were at times the only winter food around, as the hips remained on the Nootka rose shrub during winter. The rosehip pulp holds large amounts of vitamin C, even more than oranges. Today, we commonly make rosehip tea by steeping the dried, ground hips in boiling water and add honey as a sweetener.

Some of the early settlers created eyewashes for infections from the Nootka rose and also crushed the leaves and used them to treat bee stings. In our world today rosehips are found in nutritional supplements, as they contain a large amount of vitamin C. They also contain phosphorus, iron, calcium, and vitamin A, all of which are necessary nutrients for maintaining good health. Nootka roses dried leaves have been used as an air freshener, similar to potpourri, as well. Chewing up her leaves has even been known to freshen ones breath.

For more information on these truly wonderful roses check out this link:

Stan V. Griep
ARS Certified Consulting Rosarian, Webmaster: The Colorado Rosarian, Green Cure Representative - CO
Member: American Rose Society, Member: Denver Rose Society, Member: Loveland Rose Society,
Honorary Member: The Rose Society of South Australia
Award Winning Rose Photographer, Rose Gardening Freelance Writer & Speaker
Visit The Colorado Rosarian Site:
Please Visit My On-Line Shop:

Posted May 10, 2013

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