I do hope these itsy bitsy plants coming up are Prickly Wild Rose. They are small, and I haven’t seen Prickly Wild Rose since my mom and dad were camping, hunting, and fishing in Alaska. I was camping with them, but spent my time plant finding. Still, I have not seen Prickly Wild Rose since 1971. They are little sprouts and I could be mistaken. Time will tell.
They don’t look like seedlings so much as a group of sprouts regenerating from one deep rhizome after die back. Prickly Wild Rose has a rhizome over 4 feet deep that usually survives forest fires and shoots up as a dominant species within 2 years of fire or clear cut logging. I have a group of these sprouting at the west edge of my Pinyon Pines where I deeply mulched over my potato plants. Right there with those Copper Globemallows. All the New Mexico gardening books disavow deep mulch here, and I followed that rule because I didn’t have enough mulch. Now that I have more mulch I am obviously ignoring conventional wisdom. I usually do. Ignore. Convention. I watch nature instead!
If these are a regenerating patch of Prickly Wild Rose, they are likely to take over the entirety of Raised Bed 8. There are already a half dozen and they get about 4 feet tall.
Wild roses are a huge wildlife draw, and my dad (the hunter) said wild roses were better than a salt lick for drawing big game to the pot. Legal, too. I collected hips and planted them everywhere (my minor contribution to meat on the table). Mom got a share for Rose Hip Jelly (I did contribute food to the table).
Wild roses have edible fruits, leaves, stems, and seeds. Rose hip jelly is famous, rose leaves in tea are too. Medicinally, the entire plant including roots are active. Scientists say wild roses have about 300 active constitients, and 100 have been identified, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, leucoanthocyanines, catechins, essential fatty acids, minerals, Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, etc. Just the nutrition alone is good for all body systems.
Specifically, wild rose is an anticancer food, and has even tested as reducing existing cancer. About a tablespoon of dried hips a day is all that is needed to support your body’s anticancer fight. This is based in part on Vitamin K and on its active constituents. That same tablespoon of hips improves kidney function. In addition, rose hip tea helps regenerate skin cells and keeps skin elastic and nourished. I am 62, I need this regeneration thingie inside and out.
Wild rose supports the immune system, is antibacterial, and antiviral. Many of wild rose’s folk remedies are based on the fact that it is a nervine, so it can be used for that system, including as an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, antispasmodic, etc.
Of my seeds for oil, wild rose seeds are high in Vitamin E and K. Great for overall body creams and good as base for any healing salve as well. The rosewater remaining after distilling the essential oil from the flowers is an excellent skin wash and nondrying astringent. Of course, roses are used in perfumes, although I may only use rosewater for freshening on hot summer days.
Wild roses were in Oregon, Prickly Wild Roses were in Alaska, wild roses in Seattle and on the prairie in Texas. In all my gardens. I have missed having wild roses here in New Mexico. Prickly Wild Rose is native to these mountains. As I see species reappear now the drought has broken, I hope this mystery plant is Prickly Wild Rose coming home to its food forest.