|Courtesy of Craig Rekoske and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point||Courtesy of Robert W. Freckmann and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point|
Sunshine rose is widespread, occurring across the species's distribution [18,42,43,44,56,58,74,91,115,133,136]. Arkansas rose occurs from New Mexico north to Wyoming and North Dakota, east to Michigan, and south to Indiana and Texas [73,74,85]. Plants Database provides a distributional map of prairie rose and its intrataxa, sunshine and Arkansas roses.ECOSYSTEMS :
Prairie rose is a long-lived shrub [33,62,81,121,122]. Plants generally die back each year to near the base due to drought or freezing [18,58,63,132,136]. Prairie rose grows to a height of 1.5 to 8 feet (0.5-2.5 m) [62,121,122]. The stems are flexible, erect, 4 to 20 inches (10-50 cm) long [18,58,63], and densely covered with thorns 4 to 8 mm thick and usually 1 to 3.5 mm long. Thorns can be as long as 8 mm [115,121,122]. Prairie rose leaves are alternate [56,58,115,121,122,132], 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) long, and have 5 to 11 leaflets [39,42,43,44,56,58,63,115].
The inflorescence of prairie rose is usually 5- or more-flowered , but may be solitary [58,115,121,122]. Prairie rose flowers are 5-petaled, 0.6 to 1 inch (1.5-2.5 cm) long and approximately the same width [58,63,115]. Prairie rose hips occur in clusters of 2 to 3  and are 10 to 15 mm thick . The fruits of prairie rose are achenes contained within the rose hip [42,43,44,121,122]. Achenes are 3 to 5.5 mm long [18,58,115], 2.8 to 3.5 mm wide , and weigh approximately 0.012 to 0.019 g [116,117].
Prairie rose roots grow deep in the soil and are very stout . On the mixed-grass prairie of west-central Kansas, prairie rose roots reach depths of 10 to 12 feet (3-3.7 m), terminating only when they hit shale . In the sandhills of Nebraska, prairie rose roots to a depth of 8 to12 feet (2.4-3.7 m) .RAUNKIAER  LIFE FORM:
Pollination: Prairie rose is insect pollinated .
Breeding system: Prairie rose has perfect flowers .
Seed production: Most rose (Rosa spp.) species 1st flower and produce seed when they are 2 to 5 years old, and good seed crops are produced every 1 to 2 years . In North Dakota, prairie rose plants taken from the field yielded from 189 to 200 rose hips/main stem [116,117] with approximately 15 to 30 achenes/rose hip .
Deer browse prairie rose and can have a detrimental effect on seed production. Spotswood and others  found that deer browsing caused a significant (p<0.001) decrease in prairie rose flower production and seed mass.
Seed dispersal: The seeds of prairie rose are primarily dispersed by birds and mammals [62,83].
Seed banking: Prairie rose is a seed-banking species .
Germination: Germination of rose seeds is very difficult, and scarification is generally needed for successful germination . Prairie rose seeds taken from the tallgrass prairies of Nebraska and Kansas and planted unscarified in a greenhouse had at best a germination rate of 0.5% .
The average dormancy length for rose seeds is 12 to 15 months .
Seedling establishment/growth: In early June, 1991, prairie rose seeds were planted on 20 experimental plots at Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota. By August 1992, prairie rose seedlings had successfully established on all plots. However, by 1998, prairie rose plants were found within only 4 plots .
Asexual regeneration: Prairie rose sprouts from the root crown [51,62]. Several authors [76,92,125] suggest that prairie rose spreads by rhizomes, but this is not supported by more recent literature.SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Climate: Prairie rose is most commonly found growing under a continental climate regime with hot summers, cold winters, strong winds, and low humidity [1,22,33].
Prairie rose is exceptionally resistant to drought. During the "Great Drought of 1934" across the Great Plains, prairie rose plants in eastern Nebraska produced an "unusually" large crop of fruit and showed no wilting during the greatest periods of stress (20 June to 5 August) . Drought once again swept the Great Plains in 1936 and caused no reduction in prairie rose in eastern Nebraska. During the drought of 1936 prairie rose density averaged 40 stems/m˛ near Lincoln, Nebraska, and remained constant when normal precipitation returned during the 1937 growing season .
Elevation: Elevational ranges for prairie rose are presented below:
|Colorado||3,500 to 9,000 feet [35,63]|
|Kansas||2,000 to 2,200 feet |
|Montana||1,400 to 4,400 feet [22,25]|
|Nebraska||2,500 to 4,500 feet |
|New Mexico||3,500 to 9,000 feet |
|South Dakota||2,500 to 7,200 feet [16,64,68]|
|Texas||3,500 to 8,500 feet |
Soil: Prairie rose tolerates a wide range of soils, except those that are very wet or acidic. It favors soil pH values from 5.6 to 7.0 . Prairie rose is generally found on dry, fine-textured, silty, clay loam soils [1,115]. In the Nebraska sandhills  and the northern Great Plains , prairie rose grows on coarse-textured sandy soils.
Detailed soil analyses of areas where prairie rose occurs in the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota , Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota , and in the Badlands of southeastern Montana  are available.SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Prairie rose occurs in early succession at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. It grows on sites that were grazed heavily and have rehabilitated naturally . Prairie rose is found on secondary successional sites on the mixed-grass prairies of southwestern North Dakota . At the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas, prescription burning is employed to control woody plants. On unburned areas, prairie rose, along with coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus), Jersey tea (Ceanothus herbaceus), and smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), is part of a stable, dominant community . In the Black Hills mountain-mahogany-sumac (Cercocarpus-Rhus spp.) association, prairie rose occurs as a "subclimax" species . Prairie rose occurs on early "subclimax" sites in the interior ponderosa pine zone of Pike's Peak, Colorado. The site is farmland that had been abandoned 62 years prior to the study .
Tilman  lists prairie rose occurring in secondary succession in old fields at Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota. At the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Lawson and others  found that prairie rose occurred in varying degrees of abundance on farmland that had been abandoned from 1 to 70 years ago. The greatest abundance of prairie rose occurred on fields abandoned from 30 to 50 years prior to the study.SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Data were collected from 1979 to 1984 on the phenology of prairie rose near Woodsworth, North Dakota. Earliest 1st bloom occurred on 29 May, and the latest 1st bloom occurred on 26 June. The average date of full prairie rose flowering was 29 June, and the average date when flowering was 95% complete was 31 July. The average length of flowering of prairie rose was 33 days .
Flowering dates for prairie rose are presented below:
|Arkansas||May to August |
|Kansas||April/May to August |
|North Dakota||May/June to August |
|New Mexico||May to August |
|Oklahoma||May to August |
|Texas||May to August |
|Great Plains||May to August |
|North-central Great Plains||June to August |
|British Columbia||June to August |
Fire regimes: Many diverse communities provide prairie rose habitat. Prairie rose experiences extreme ranges in fire frequency. In interior ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum) and oak (Quercus spp.) savanna communities, fire may occur as often as often as every 2 years [95,134]. Conversely, prairie rose occurs in curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) communities where the fire return interval can be as great as 1,000 years [9,109]. A brief fire description of locales where prairie rose is most common is provided below.
Nebraska Sandhills: Prairie rose is an important species within Nebraska sandhills xeric communities . There is little recorded history on the frequency of fire in presettlement times in the sandhills, but fires were likely common, occurring every 1 to 10 years [95,112]. Since the 1900s, lightning-caused fires are well reported and occur often, yet are quickly suppressed . Fire played a beneficial role in preserving the tallgrass prairies of the Nebraska sandhills. Fire exclusion has led to an increase in nonnative species including Kentucky bluegrass and smooth brome (Bromus inermis) .
Northern Great Plains: Historically fire has played an important role in the northern Great Plains. The large tracts of continuous mixed-grass prairie, which occur in hot, dry areas and accumulate much fine fuel, are susceptible to frequent lightning fires. In journal entries from 1814, Merriweather Lewis mentioned observing fires 12 times while crossing the northern Great Plains . For yearly ignitions in the Dakotas, Higgins  estimated that 6 lightning fires historically consumed 4,000 miles˛ (10,000 km˛) of grasslands in eastern North Dakota. In western North Dakota, he estimated that 25 lightning fires consumed 4,000 miles˛ (10,000 km˛) of grasslands in a year. Early records kept by explorers, trappers, and settlers noted a high occurrence of fires, both natural and anthropogenic, with fires occurring at intervals of 5 to 10 years [40,95,108,111,142]. Fire has been excluded since the early 1900s, allowing nonnative species such as Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus), smooth brome (B. inermis), Kentucky bluegrass, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum), and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) to take a strong hold in the area .
The following table provides fire return intervals for plant communities and ecosystems where prairie rose is important. For further information, see the FEIS review of the dominant species listed below.
|Community or ecosystem||Dominant species||Fire return interval range (years)|
|silver maple-American elm||Acer saccharinum-Ulmus americana||<5 to 200 |
|bluestem prairie||Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium||<10 [79,95]|
|Nebraska sandhills prairie||Andropogon gerardii var. paucipilus-Schizachyrium scoparium||<10 |
|silver sagebrush steppe||Artemisia cana||5-45 [66,99,142]|
|sagebrush steppe||Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata||20-70 |
|basin big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata||12-43 |
|mountain big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana||15-40 [7,26,90]|
|Wyoming big sagebrush||Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis||10-70 ( x=40) [131,144]|
|saltbush-greasewood||Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus||<35 to >100 [95,145]|
|birch||Betula spp.||80-230 |
|desert grasslands||Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica||10 to <100 [87,95]|
|plains grasslands||Bouteloua spp.||<35 [95,142]|
|blue grama-needle-and-thread grass-western wheatgrass||Bouteloua gracilis-Hesperostipa comata-Pascopyrum smithii||<35 [95,104,142]|
|blue grama-buffalo grass||Bouteloua gracilis-Buchloe dactyloides||<35 [95,142]|
|grama-galleta steppe||Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis jamesii||<35 to <100|
|blue grama-tobosa prairie||Bouteloua gracilis-Pleuraphis mutica||<35 to <100 |
|curlleaf mountain-mahogany*||Cercocarpus ledifolius||13-1,000 [9,109]|
|mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub||Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii||<35 to <100 |
|black ash||Fraxinus nigra||<35 to 200 |
|green ash||Fraxinus pennsylvanica||<35 to >300 [47,134]|
|juniper-oak savanna||Juniperus ashei-Quercus virginiana||<35|
|Rocky Mountain juniper||Juniperus scopulorum||<35 |
|cedar glades||Juniperus virginiana||3-22 [60,95]|
|wheatgrass plains grasslands||Pascopyrum smithii||<5-47+ [95,99,142]|
|pinyon-juniper||Pinus-Juniperus spp.||<35 |
|Colorado pinyon||Pinus edulis||10-400+ [52,57,75,95]|
|interior ponderosa pine*||Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum||2-30 [5,10,82]|
|galleta-threeawn shrubsteppe||Pleuraphis jamesii-Aristida purpurea||<35 to <100|
|eastern cottonwood||Populus deltoides||<35 to 200 |
|quaking aspen-paper birch||Populus tremuloides-Betula papyrifera||35-200 [46,134]|
|quaking aspen (west of the Great Plains)||Populus tremuloides||7-120 [5,59,88]|
|Texas savanna||Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa||<10 |
|Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir*||Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca||25-100 [5,7,8]|
|oak-juniper woodland (Southwest)||Quercus-Juniperus spp.||<35 to <200 |
|white oak-black oak-northern red oak||Quercus alba-Q. velutina-Q. rubra||<35|
|bur oak||Quercus macrocarpa||<10 |
|oak savanna||Quercus macrocarpa/Andropogon gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium||2-14 [95,134]|
|shinnery||Quercus mohriana||<35 |
|northern red oak||Quercus rubra||10 to <35|
|black oak||Quercus velutina||<35|
|live oak||Quercus virginiana||10 to<100 |
|little bluestem-grama prairie||Schizachyrium scoparium-Bouteloua spp.||<35 |
From October 1979 to April 1980 approximately 961 acres (389 ha) of interior ponderosa pine-grasslands were burned in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota; these fires had little effect on prairie rose. Researchers pooled the findings of prairie rose and Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii) before and after the prescribed fires. Immediately following the fires (2-8 months) and in postfire year 1 (14-20 months), mean maximum rose height decreased. Immediately following the fire the number of rose stems remained the same, but decreased slightly during postfire year 1 [15,16].
|Prefire||Immediately following fire||Postfire year 1|
|Stem density (# of stems/m˛±s)||0.8±3.1||0.8±3.4||0.6±2.5|
|Mean maximum height (cm±s)||17.4±8.0||14.0±6.6||15.6±6.3|
|Mean maximum crown width (cm±s)||10.6±6.2||11.3±4.7||11.9±7.6|
Beginning in 1972 on the Konza Prairie Research Natural Area, Kansas, parcels of land were subjected to 1-, 2-, and 4-year burning intervals. Prior to 1972, the entire area was burned every 2 or 3 years and grazed by cattle. The average cover of prairie rose on annually burned, 4-year burned, and unburned sites was 0.1%, 0.1%, and 0.4%, respectively .
In western North Dakota, prairie rose was less frequent on burned than unburned sites 3 months to 4 years after prescribed fire . Prairie rose was present on 2 burn sites: Dedication Hill and North Rim. The fire on Dedication Hill occurred on 14 August 1954 and covered 3.2 acres (1.3 ha). Prairie rose stands on Dedication Hill occur on soils composed of loamy fine sands, have an exposure of 15° west of north, and a slope of 10°. The fire on North Rim occurred on 29 May 1958 and covered 2.5 acres (1 ha). The stands of prairie rose on North Rim occur on fine sandy loams, have an exposure of 25° south of west, and a slope of 10°. Dedication Hill and North Rim are both upland sites that have been grazed lightly in the past and had been fire-free for at least 20 years prior to the study. Vegetation sampling occurred in mid-August 1958, when prairie rose had completed growth for the year and was curing. The following table reflects the relative frequency of prairie rose :
|4 years postfire||3 months postfire|
|Dedication Hill||North Rim|
Prairie rose was more frequent on burned than unburned areas in Iowa's 160-acre (64.75-ha) Kalsow Prairie. Prior to 1950, the Kalsow Prairie was "closely" mowed yearly. Since 1950, the primary management tool for Kalsow Prairie has been prescription burning. The 1st controlled burn took place in the spring of 1959, followed by a fire in 1968. Subsequent fires continued through the 1970s until the mid-1980s. Since 1986, 25% to 50% of the prairie has been burnt with an average frequency of every 2.3 years. In 1950, the frequency of occurrence of prairie rose on 1-m˛ quadrats was 45.0%. In 1999/2000, frequency of occurrence of prairie rose was 73.8%, which is significantly (p<0.05) greater than frequency in 1950 .
Prairie rose percent species composition was similar on burned and unburned plots in the Special Areas administrative district south of Buffalo, Alberta, following a 16,060-acre (6,500 ha) wildfire on the mixed-grass prairie. Prairie rose occurred in a lowland section of the district dominated by needle-and-thread grass (Hesperostipa comata), porcupine grass (H. spartea), western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii), and Montana wheatgrass (Elymus albicans). The range was in good to excellent condition prior to the fire. In late-July/early-August 1997 (postfire year 3), the estimated proportion of total yield contributed by prairie rose species on burned sites was 1.1% and 0.3% on adjacent unburned sites .
At an upland site in eastern North Dakota, prairie rose herbage production and caloric content were greater on sites burned in early spring and analyzed in August of the same year than plants on unburned uplands :
Prairie rose frequency increased over an 18-year period on both burned and unburned sites in the Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS), Kansas. The KPBS is floristically diverse, containing more than 600 plant species, but only 3 species (big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii), little bluestem, and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)) are dominant. During the 18-year period, fire rotation treatments were annual burns, 4-year burns, and a single burn that occurred in 1991. On annual burn sites, the frequency of prairie rose remained stable at 2.5%. On 4-year burn sites, prairie rose frequency increased from 17.5% to 30.0%. On the once-burned site, prairie rose frequency increased from 0% to 12.5% .
Beginning in 1965, an annual prescribed burning program was initiated at Cedar Creek Natural History Area in east-central Minnesota. Burning was conducted in April or May, between snowmelt and oak (Quercus spp.) leaf-out. In 2 years, 1970 and 1975, burning was not conducted due to unsuitable conditions. In 1979, prairie rose frequency was measured on burned and unburned areas. The frequency on annual burn sites was 6.4%, which was substantially greater than the 1.0% frequency on unburned sites [140,141]
Following a December 1997 wildfire on a rough fescue prairie southwest of Granum, Alberta, prairie rose cover increased on interior burn sites at postfire months 5 and 17, but cover on perimeter burned and unburned sites was relatively unchanged. The fire was extremely hot, with head fire intensity ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 KW/m˛. The average rate of fire spread (~6 miles/hr (10 km/hr)) was 1 of the greatest documented for a grassland fire in Canada. Conditions were favorable the 2 growing seasons following the fire, with precipitation 46% above average in 1998 and average in 1999. In 1998 (postfire month 5), canopy cover of prairie rose on interior, perimeter, and unburned sites was 2.7%, 0.5%, and 0.2%, respectively. In 1999 (postfire month 17), canopy cover of prairie rose on interior, perimeter, and unburned sites was 3.9%, 1.0%, and 0.5%, respectively .
In the Nebraska sandhills, prairie rose cover on south-facing slopes significantly (p<0.05) decreased postfire year 1 (1985) after spring and summer (1984) burning. By postfire years 2 through 4, prairie rose recovered to levels at or near prefire conditions. Fall burning of prairie rose did not significantly (p<0.05) alter cover .FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Insects: On grasslands near Boulder, Colorado, 3 species of grasshoppers were fed prairie rose in a trial study. The grasshoppers had little affinity for prairie rose, consuming between 10% and 15% of the plant material given them .
Small mammals: In Kansas, prairie rose is 1 of the species most heavily utilized by eastern cottontails in winter on little bluestem-dominated sites . Prairie rose is utilized by jackrabbits and cottontail rabbits on the mixed-grass prairies of the Great Plains [24,102].
Ungulates: Prairie rose browse value for mule deer is fair during late summer and fall but worthless in winter . During April and May, prior to active leaf growth, mule deer on the Manitou Experimental Forest, Colorado, lightly browsed prairie rose. By June and July, prairie rose made up approximately 17% to 18% of their diet, which was 2nd only to interior ponderosa pine and slightly more than bluegrass (Poa spp.). From August to October, mule deer utilization of prairie rose averaged 5.1% to 8.0% .
Pronghorn eating habits were observed in Petroleum County, Montana, during 1953 and 1954. During the spring, summer, and fall, prairie rose constituted 4.6%, 12.9%, and 5.3%, respectively, of pronghorn diets. Prairie rose was the most important forage species on the shale slopes of the study site . Pronghorn diets near Lewistown, Montana, consist of 2% to 8% prairie rose during the summer .
Palatability/nutritional value: Little information exists on the palatability and nutritional value of prairie rose. It is described as palatable in the interior ponderosa pine region of Pike's Peak, Colorado . Ferguson  describes the nutritional value of prairie rose as high. On the rangelands of North Dakota, the protein value of prairie rose leaves and twigs is sufficient for domestic sheep and cattle throughout the growing season .
After growth ceases and prairie rose enters dormancy, it retains reserve food material in its stems. Prairie rose taken from northern Alberta, where the temperature can fall to -50 °F (-46 °C) or below in the winter, retain starch, oil, and fat in their stems over winter .
Cover value: Prairie rose is described as a good cover species for a variety of bird species in the northern Great Plains [71,97] and in Texas . It is the most common species found on American badger mounds at the Cayler Prairie Preserve, Iowa . It provides cover for prairie skink lizards at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota  and for black-tailed prairie dogs in North Dakota near Theodore Roosevelt National Park .VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:
Bare rootstocks of prairie rose were used to successfully rehabilitate 6 mine reclamation sites in Wyoming and Colorado. Prairie rose rootstocks were planted at the 6 sites in May and June 1976 and height, spread, and survival rate were measured at the end of the growing season 1977. Prairie rose height, spread (diameter), and survival rate ranged from 1.5 to 4 inches (4-10 cm), 2 to 9 inches (5-22 cm), and 25% to 100%, respectively [17,69].
At the Samuel H. Ordway Jr. Memorial Prairie, South Dakota, disturbed sites were successfully revegetated by prairie rose plants. Plants were introduced on denuded earthen mounds at sites on the low, middle, and high prairie in 1987. The cover of prairie rose increased nearly 100% on all 3 sites by 1992. From 1988 to 1992, prairie rose increased on the low, middle, and high prairie from 0.7% to 1.6%, 1.1% to 2.1%, and 1.9% to 3.6%, respectively .
There was 1 prairie rose cultivar ('common') available as of 2006 .OTHER USES:
Fertilization: Inouye and Tilman  discuss the positive effects of nitrogen fertilization on prairie rose growth over an 11-year period.
Grazing: In the interior ponderosa pine-bunchgrass ranges of the central Rocky Mountains, prairie rose is favored by light to moderate (<33% herbage removal) cattle browsing . In the Badlands of North Dakota, prairie rose cover in green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) draws was highest on sites that were heavily grazed by cattle .A 17-year study of grazing within an interior ponderosa pine-bunchgrass range in Colorado found that grazing of any intensity caused a decrease in prairie rose. Prairie rose cover is very low in the area, ranging from less than 0.005% to 0.10%. Reduction of prairie rose was greatest on heavily grazed sites where more than 50% of herbage removal occurred .
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