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Swamp Rose

Common Name: Swamp Rose.

Scientific Name: Rosa Palustris.

What to look for?  Rosy pink flowers in late spring and early summer! The Swamp Rose is a tall shrub that has branching woody, reddish green stems. As with most roses, there are prickles or thorns on the stems. The dark green leaves are alternate and pinnately divided with 7 leaflets. The flowers are a dark rose-pink or light pink with contrasting yellow center stamens. While the Swamp Rose’s flowers are showy, they are short-lived. The root system produces woody rhizomes, which sometimes develops into colonies.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? There is a large colony of Swamp Rose about 50 yards west of the walking path as you walk north. Swamp Rose was also found on the southern edge of Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve along Reckinger Road – just out our back doors. Remember that the Swamp Rose blooms only during May through early July.

How big are they? Swamp Rose may grow up from three to six feet tall. The elliptical leaves are approximately two inches long and one inch across. Each spherical flower head is about three inches in diameter.

Where do they grow and thrive? The primary habitats for the Swamp Rose consist of swamps, wet sandy prairies, soggy thickets, peaty bogs, gravelly seeps, and marshes. The Swamp Rose is native to the eastern U.S. and is found in most areas of Illinois. It is usually an indicator species of high quality wetlands.

When do they bloom? The blooming period of the Swamp Rose usually occurs from May through early July.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The pollen of the flowers of the Swamp Rose attract many kinds of long-tongued bees, including bumblebees. Many insects feed on the foliage, flowers, and other parts of this and other roses. They include the caterpillars of certain moths, aphids, beetles, and other insects.  The fruit (rose hips) is eaten by some upland gamebirds, songbirds (Cedar Waxwing, Swainson's Thrush, etc.), small rodents, and other mammals.

Interesting Facts About the Swamp Rose:

  • The Swamp Rose is extremely fragrant.

  • This species rose is generally not susceptible to the disease and insect pests that attack many of the hybrid roses.

  • The genus Rosa is Latin for 'rose'; while the species name, palustris, means 'marsh-loving’.

For more information on the Swamp Rose and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Friends of the Wildflower Garden, University of Texas Wildflower Center, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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