Rosa acicularis subsp. sayi

(Schweinitz) W. H. Lewis

Brittonia 11: 19. 1959

Common names: Say’s acicular rose rosier aciculaire
Basionyms: Rosa sayi Schweinitz in W. H. Keating, Narrat. Exp. St. Peter's River 2: 388. 1824
Synonyms: R. acicularis var. bourgeauiana Crépin R. butleri
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 9. Treatment on page 115. Mentioned on page 77, 107, 112, 114.
Leaves: stipule auricles 4–7 mm wide; petiole and rachis usually with pricklets; leaflets 5–7, margins 1–2-dentate-serrate, teeth 10–25 per 1/2 blade, gland-tipped, abaxial surfaces usually eglandular, sometimes glandular. Pedicels usually eglandular, if stipitate-glandular, not to apex or mostly sparse. Sepals usually 3+ mm wide at bases, abaxial surfaces eglandular, sometimes sparsely stipitate-glandular. 2n = 42.

Phenology: Flowering Jun–Jul.
Habitat: Meadows, moist forest edges, flood plains, forested uplands, sandy aspen slopes, hillsides, calcareous ridges, banks of bogs and streams, dry sandy ridges, clearings in woods, roadsides, ravines
Elevation: 100–2500 m


V9 171-distribution-map.jpg

Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., N.W.T., N.S., Nunavut, Ont., Que., Sask., Yukon, Alaska, Colo., Iowa, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., N.H., N.Y., N.Dak., S.Dak., Vt., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.


Southern limits of subsp. sayi occur in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Black Hills of South Dakota, and algific slopes of talus or broken rock covering ice caves in northeastern Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin, Ice Mountain of West Virginia, and mountainous regions of New England where habitats similar to more northern ecosystems exist. Among these outlying populations, the density of stem prickles and aciculi often decreases and fertile branches rarely may be devoid of most armature. In central Canada and northward to Alaska, sepals have relatively small, short stipitate glands on abaxial surfaces more commonly than farther south, where they are more or less eglandular.

Plants with the morphological features of subsp. sayi also exist in eastern Siberia; confirmation of their identity depends on ploidy levels (W. H. Lewis 1958).

Branches of subsp. sayi, as well as of Rosa nutkana subsp. macdougalii and R. woodsii subsp. ultramontana, were used as cleansing agents and disinfectants, especially at times of illness and death, by the Shuswap people of interior British Columbia. The branches were placed around houses to prevent diseases in corpses from spreading to others; they were also used to disinfect rooms, clean air, and keep bad spirits away. People also used solutions made from rose bushes for steaming and cleansing in sweathouses. Root solutions were used to treat burns by soaking the burned area, which healed well without blistering or scarring. Hips and branches were boiled and decoctions drunk as medicine for treating diarrhea and upset stomach; teas made from branches were drunk to protect oneself from anything bad (N. J. Turner, pers. comm.).

Selected References


Lower Taxa


AuthorWalter H. Lewis +, Barbara Ertter + and Anne Bruneau +
Authority(Schweinitz) W. H. Lewis +
BasionymsRosa sayi +
Common nameSay’s acicular rose + and rosier aciculaire +
DistributionAlta. +, B.C. +, Man. +, N.B. +, N.W.T. +, N.S. +, Nunavut +, Ont. +, Que. +, Sask. +, Yukon +, Alaska +, Colo. +, Iowa +, Maine +, Mass. +, Mich. +, Minn. +, Mont. +, N.H. +, N.Y. +, N.Dak. +, S.Dak. +, Vt. +, W.Va. +, Wis. + and Wyo. +
Elevation100–2500 m +
HabitatMeadows, moist forest edges, flood plains, forested uplands, sandy aspen slopes, hillsides, calcareous ridges, banks of bogs and streams, dry sandy ridges, clearings in woods, roadsides, ravines +
IllustrationPresent +
Illustration copyrightFlora of North America Association +
IllustratorJohn Myers +
PhenologyFlowering Jun–Jul. +
Publication titleBrittonia +
Publication year1959 +
ReferenceNone +
Source xml grained fna xml/V9/V9 171.xml +
Special statusEndemic + and Illustrated +
SynonymsR. acicularis var. bourgeauiana + and R. butleri +
Taxon familyRosaceae +
Taxon nameRosa acicularis subsp. sayi +
Taxon parentRosa acicularis +
Taxon ranksubspecies +
VolumeVolume 9 +