Wildflowers of the United States

Home Journal Family Index - All States Photo Albums News About Privacy

Woods Rose, Common Wild Rose, Mountain Rose - Rosa woodsii


Family: Rosaceae - Rose family Genus Common Name: Rose Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Subshrub
Rosa woodsii - Woods Rose, Common Wild Rose, Mountain Rose. While it's pretty easy to identify a wild rose, I am usually reluctant to call a specific species identification because there is usually significant variation within species, and significant similarities between species. For example this plant, Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii) and Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana) are very similar except for size, and the Nootka Rose generally grows at higher elevations than the Woods' Rose. This time, however, I was walking the 3 mile long Hull's Gulch National Recreation Trail in the Boise Foothills, and there was a sign along the way mentioning some of the plants, among which Woods' Rose was listed.

There are four currently recognized varieties of Woods' Rose. One variety is found only in California (var. glabrata), and one only in California and Nevada (var. gratissima.) Var. ultramontana is the more widespread western variety, and var. woodsii is found through the central part of the United States and Canada, and in eastern Canada primarily east of the Rockies. Montana and New Mexico have both varieties.

Rosa Woodsii is a species widely distributed across much of western and middle America and prefers moist conditions, but can adapt to an extremely wide variety of soils. Primary thicket growth is by rhizome.

Woods' Rose is a shrub that grows to 6 or 7 feet tall, with many red, thorny canes forming what may be almost impenetrable thickets, a good cover for birds and small animals. The thorns are straight or slightly curved, covering primarily the lower portion of the stems.

Found in:
AK, AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, KS, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY

Leave comments on Rosa woodsii at this link.
Rosa woodsii

Distribution of Rosa woodsii in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 26 Apr 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Search Our Database: Enter any portion of the Scientific, Common Name, or both.
Scientific name:
Common name:

Example: Enter "lob" in the common name field and you'll get all our species that have "lobelia" in the common name, as well as "sharp-lobed hepatica".

Do a general Google search of the entire site:



Follow on Twitter
Follow USWildflowers on Twitter


Site: Hull's Gulch, Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-21Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The 2 to 2.5 inch fragrant blossoms have 5 petals, as is the case with all wild roses, and are pink, sometimes a deep pink to almost appear to be red. There are many yellow stamens, which turn brown as they age.
Rosa woodsii

Site: Hull's Gulch, Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Click on the photo for a larger image
Rosa woodsii

Site: Hull's Gulch, Boise Foothills, Ada County, ID Date: 2011-June-21Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The leaves are odd-pinnate, with 5 to 9 leaflets, occasionally up to 11. They are more or less oval, finely toothed except near the base.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Rosa woodsii

References used for identification and information:
  • http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_rowo.pdf
  • http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ROWO
  • http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ROWO
  • http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Trees/Shrubs/wdsrose.htm
  • Idaho Mountain Wildflowers: A Photographic Compendium

Commercial / Cookie Notice

Looking for Wildflowers for a specific state? Check here:



All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer