Western Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii)

Of the many plants my great grandfather would have eaten in the woods, Woods Rose is one that researchers now say that may halt or reverse the growth of cancers. Can’t hurt to add it to my Food Forest.

I have eaten wild rose hips in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Texas. My mom made rose hip jelly which has a delicate color and flavor that goes well with pork as well as on bread or crackers.

I have a small seed packet and just planted some in my kitchen window. I planted the rest in a couple big pots outside on my patio. If they are viable and I get seedlings I will pot them up separately in the spring.

Woods Roses are powerhouses nutritionally and are good sources of Vitamins A, C, and E, plus phytonutrients. The bark, shoots, leaves, and fruits make tea.  Dry and save for winter teas for warmth and to stave off illness.  Even the seeds can be ground and added to flour for a vitamin E punch.   It does not take a lot.

If you want to know what wildlife is in the area, wild roses create traffic pile ups  in fall and winter.  Just read the tracks: most field guides have drawings of tracks and many are easy to identify on the ground.   Hips are better tasting after frost so are a good addition to winter forage.  The wild roses you plant can save lives every winter, any mammal can eat them.  Rose hips dry on the plant and keep well if you have enough of them.

My dad hunted near wild roses and we ate wild game all year.

Rose hips will draw most bird species.  It is probably second to water if you are a bird watcher.  When my mom lived in town, she always had water for birds and I planted several bird plants for her, and wild roses are the best.  Note that most fancy roses have little or no wildlife food value and most are not scented anymore.  The market economy bred that out of them looking for flashier blooms to win contests and catch a bigger share of the market economy.  Any rose that produces hips will provide value to the circular economy as well as beauty.  They require no care and mix well in shrub borders and flower beds.

My house in Dallas had been a rental for years, and everything in the flower bed had died from neglect except for the shrub rose and German bearded irises.  It still had heavy blooms and was covered with butterflies and bees.  It had masses of rose hips.  Rose hips are brilliant red and lovely, especially planted in front of an evergreen.

Woods Rose feeds butterflies and bees as well as mammals.  Large simple blooms that are 2-4 inches across make good landing pads for nectar and pollen gathering and will hold more than one butterfly at a time.  They are the free (to me) labor that turns huge flowers into fruit.  I enjoy watching them do that.  That 8 foot shrub rose in Dallas had more butterflies than flowers sometimes.  If startled, they would all take off together.  I never got used to that and it moved my heart every time.

Amazing, inner city Dallas near White Rock Lake.  The house was close to a wildlife corridor, also known as a seasonal creek.  Since then, I choose wildlife corridors and plant for wildlife and me.  That is my free (to them) labor.

My steep hill  here in New Mexico is another type of wildlife corridor and cuts through a loosely populated area where most homes have about five acres and fences.  Fences are hardest on large species like bear, puma, and bobcat that are considered dangerous to people and pets.  Mule deer and elk are better tolerated but cannot cross all fences.  I have fence around my house but not all the way to the top of the hill.  I am slowly adding hedge species along my borders meant to discourage people and feed me and wildlife.


About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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