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Wild Roses: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha

Botanical name: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha

Common name: Wingthorn Rose

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Photo credit: Rhensrude
Wild Roses: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha
Wild Roses: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha
Wild Roses: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha
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Everett, Wa

at a glance

Soil: damp, acidic, sand
Zones: 4a thru 9b

fall interest, bee attracting

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description for "Wild Roses: Rosa sericea ssp. omeiensis f. pteracantha"

One of my favorite memories of visiting Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, Washington was to see this shrub rose for the first time. It was a large shrub planted high on a berm. It wasn’t the rose flower that was remarkable but the prickly stems. Each stem had large, flat, bright red, translucent prickles that were gnarly looking and absolutely beautiful as they were backlit by the late afternoon sun. It was an unforgettable sight. I had to have one. My friend bought it for me because she liked it too but had no garden of her own. The Wingthorn Rose can grow to eight feet tall and about as wide. Site it where the prickly stems can be backlit by the morning or afternoon sun. Give it a prominent spot in the garden but leave room for yourself when you want to prune it. Those prickles can easily snag a cuff or sleeve or finger. The brilliant red color is most pronounced in the new growth. The old growth eventually turns purple and then brown. It is recommended that it be pruned back hard in late winter to encourage the growth of the new stems. Prune it less hard for the small, single, white four-petaled flowers with bright yellow stamens. The flowers appear only briefly in May but are followed by bright red rose hips in the fall. The small green leaves are arranged in oblong leaflets along the stems. The foliage and stems would be an attractive and wild addition to a summer flower arrangement. Plant it in full sun. It needs well drained soil that is mulched every year with compost. A few applications of an organic fertilizer and regular watering during the spring and summer will keep the foliage looking fresh and help the thorns retain their color. Keep it happy and you’ll collect the compliments from your gardening friends who will want one too.


The Wingthorn Rose was collected in China by noted plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson for the Arnold Arboretum of Boston, MA. It was introduced to the trade in 1890.

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