Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Common Wild Rose - A Pollinator Favorite

Native bee pollinator on Common Wild Rose

This rose is the type of ancestor from which all our cultivated roses came. This is Rosa virginica, which occurs naturally throughout eastern North America, from Alabama up to Newfoundland and Ontario. In the Canadian maritime provinces, it is said, this rose "grows with an almost invasive rhythm."

But note the differences with highly-selected, horticultural types like the American Beauty Rose. The native species has only five petals that spread widely around a shallow, cup-shaped blossom.

And most important of all, it still has loads of stamens, each loaded with pollen. So bees of all kinds, including bumblebees seek it out for a generous supply of the basic foods they need.

Plant any of these simple roses in the garden and they will thrive. In a sunny location they can flower all summer long. And your garden will be a quiet reserve for the preservation of natural pollinator populations.

[Photo by D. Barr]

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