Rosa / rose
Common Name: Rose
Roses provide primarily a pollen source for most bees, as many rose species produce little nectar. Native roses are superior pollinator plants to the hybrid cultivars, as they generally provide more pollen and easier access to it. In the realm of non-natives, single petal roses are preferable to the ornamental hybrid tea varieties that are bred for showy, multiple petals. These extra petals come at the expense of the pollen-producing parts of the plant. Roses also afford a preferred nesting material for leafcutter bees, as the females will cut perfect circles from the leaves, which they will use in constructing their nests.
Nationwide, United States and Canada
Routinely available and easily grown in most parts of North America. Most native roses prefer dry to average soil, but a few species like swamp rose can tolerate wetter environments.
Spring through summer
Full sun to partial shade
Average to dry
Rosa nutkana (nootka rose), which is native to the western U.S., British Columbia and Alaska, is an attractive 6 foot shrub that is commercially available and can be incorporated into landscaped areas. It produces abundant, open-faced, pink flowers, with numerous stamens and pistils, May through July.
Rosa woodsii (woods’ rose) is a long-lived shrub native to the central and western U.S. and Canada. It grows 2 to 10 feet tall and forms loose or dense thickets. Smallish light to dark pink flowers bloom singly or in clusters, May to July. The open flowers have many stamens, affording an excellent pollen source for pollen-collecting bees. It is a widely adapted species and grows in many habitat types, including both dry and moist environments.
Rosa virginiana (Virginia rose) is a native, eastern shrub growing between 4-6 feet tall. This species, which ranges from Arkansas, east to Alabama, north to Newfoundland and west to Ontario, bears fragrant pink flowers that are two to three-inches in diameter, from June to August. Virginia rose succeeds in moist soils, even growing well in heavy clayey soils, a condition that some other native roses won’t tolerate. It prefers a sunny position and does well under winter conditions. This is an outstanding, readily available, ornamental shrub that is easy to grow.