North Dakota State Flower (Floral Emblem)

Wild Prairie Rose

North Dakota State Flower - Wild Prairie Rose

(Rosa blanda or Rosa arkansana)

Adopted in 1907.

North Dakota designated the wild prairie rose (Rosa blanda or Rosa arkansana) as the official state flower in 1907.

The flower has been identified as Rosa Pratincola in species. The flower sports five bright pink petals with a tight cluster of yellow stamens in the center. The Wild Prairie Rose grows along roadsides, in pastures, and in native meadows. The name Prairie Rose is also sometimes applied to Rosa blanda, also known as the Meadow Rose or Smooth Rose, which is also widely spread, but somewhat further to the north

North Dakota State Flower (Floral Emblem):
Wild Prairie Rose

North Dakota State Flower - Wild Prairie Rose

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose or Wild Prairie Rose is a species of rose native to a large area of central North America, between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains from Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan south to New Mexico, Texas and Indiana. There are two varieties:

  • Rosa arkansana var. arkansana
  • Rosa arkansana var. suffulta (Greene) Cockerell

The name (Rosa arkansana) comes from the Arkansas River in Colorado. The species' wide distribution and consequent genetic drift has led to an extensive synonymy.

Wild roses are found throughout North Dakota and bloom from June through late summer. The flower, in varying shades of pink, is set off by many yellow stamens in the center. Prairie Wild Rose is rhizomatous; it spreads aggressively and therefore may not be suitable for small landscape plantings.

Characteristics of the Wild Prairie Rose

  • Shrub with erect stems to 1.5 ft (45 cm) tall.
  • Twigs red-brown with many straight spines and bristles.
  • Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, 5-9 leaflets; leaflets elliptic, 1.6-6.4 cm (0.6-2.5) inches in length; glabrous, lustrous above, soft pubescent beneath; acute at base and apex; margins coarsely toothed; petiole glabrous or somewhat pubescent; stipules adnate, 1-2.5 cm (0.4-1 in) in length, margins entire; rachis glabrous or somewhat pubescent.
  • Inflorescence a corymb, peduncles glabrous, flowers 2-4, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) in diameter; sepals 5, lanceolate, 1-1.2 cm (3/8-5/8 in) long; petals 5, white, obcordate; styles not exserted, but persistent; stamens numerous; flowers appear from May to August.
  • Fruit a hip, 12-15 mm (1/2-3/5 in) diameter, subglobose to ellipsoid, sepals ascending, red; nutlets flattened on one side, light tan, tuft of hairs at the base; fruits mature late August.
  • Habitat: prairies, woodland margin and disturbed areas.
  • Medicinal uses: The Omahas steeped wild prairie rose hips and roots to treat inflammation of the eye. The Pawnees collected leaf galls which were crushed and applied to burns.

Legislative Assembly of North Dakota

The wild prairie rose was approved by the tenth session of the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota on March 7, 1907. According to Shankle:

North Dakota, by an act of her legislature approved on March 7, 1907, adopted as her State floral emblem, the wild prairie rose [Rosa blanda or Rosa arkansana]. "Contributing something to the choice was the fact that the State University of North Dakota had selected the colors, pink and green, chosen directly from the wild prairie rose growing on the campus."

The North Dakota Century Code

The law designating the wild prairie rose, rosa blanda or arkansana as the official North Dakota state floral emblem is found in the North Dakota Century Code, Title 54, Chapter 54-02, Section 54-02-03.

Title 54. State Government.

54-02-03. State flower. The floral emblem of the state of North Dakota shall be the wild prairie rose, rosa blanda or arkansana.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Wild Prairie Rose

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
    Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae - Rose family
Genus: Rosa L. - rose
Species: Rosa arkansana Porter - prairie rose
Species: Rosa blanda Aiton - smooth rose

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