Idaho Mountain Wildflowers

Nootka Rose 
Rosa nutkana Presl

Located June 10, 1806 on the Kooskooskee. (Source)

The nootka rose is a native, deciduous, perennial shrub 2 to 8 feet tall with erect or trailing stems. Nootka rose reaches its maximum height within 10 years. Compound leaves consist of three to seven, toothed leaflets. The blooms are  about 2 to 3 inches across, a soft lilac pink, usually borne singly or in pairs at the tips of branches, and individually short-lived. There are many blooms produced in panicles of many flowers over a few weeks. Stems and branches are prickly to unarmed. In the fall the shrub is covered in bright red hips, which ads another facet to its merits. Leaves are compound and have five to seven leaflets.  Fruits are large, - inch across and round; when ripe, they are purplish-red and retain their sepals. Roots are deep. The fall foliage is often very colorful, in amber and ruddy hues.  Nootka rose flowers from May through July. Fruits ripen in early fall and remain on the plant through winter. 

 Nootka rose reaches its maximum height within 10 years.  The nootka rose is commonly found in moderately dry to moist climates in sub-mountain to mountain zones. It occurs on nitrogen-rich, fresh to very moist soils.  It thrives on moderately fertile, well-drained clayey-loam, sandy-loam, or sandy soils. 

Food Uses
Fruit - raw or cooked. The taste is best after a frost.. Juicy, pleasantly acid and a good source of vitamin C. The fruit can be dried, powdered and added to tea as a flavorings or used in its own right as a fruity-flavored tea. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter, but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards. Petals - raw. The petals are pleasantly aromatic, but you need to remove the bitter white base.Young shoots - raw or cooked. Peeled and eaten in spring when they are still tender. The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement. Be sure to remove the seed hairs. The peeled stems are used to make a beverage. The leaves are used to make a tea.

Medicinal Uses
An infusion of the roots and sprouts has been used as an eyewash for sore eyes. A decoction of the roots has been used by women after giving birth and also in the treatment of sore throats. A decoction of the bark has been taken to ease the labor pains of childbirth[. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been used to alleviate the pain of bee stings. A decoction of the branches, combined with chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) and red willow (Salix bonplandiana), has been used in the treatment of various women's complaints, diarrhea and vomiting. The leaves have been placed in shoes as a protection from athletes foot.

The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bioactive compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.  (Source)

Value for Animals:
Nootka rose is important wildlife browse. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, moose, caribou, bighorn sheep, bears, coyotes, and various rodents eat the fruits. Squirrels, mice, beavers, and porcupines eat the twigs and leaves.

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