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Woods' Rose

Scientific Name:
Rosa woodsii
Native Name(s):
  1. Northern Paiute: see-avvie (Train et al. 1957:86-87)
  2. Klamath: Chö'it'-äm (Coville 1897)

Woods' rose is a shrub reaching up to three feet tall with straight thorns along reddish-brown to gray stems. Leaves alternate, and are obovate to ovate with finely toothed margins. Flowers are abundant and pink with five petals. around a floral cup. The floral cup later becomes enlarged, enclosing achenes (dry fruit that tightly encases one seed) in a fleshy, red-ish to orange "hip". Achenes are yellowish-white elongated ovate in shape, and lenticular in cross-section. Small hairs may occur on one end of the achene. Achenes average 3-4 mm. in length.

Identification Tips
Woods' rose is distinguished from similar species by its habit of forming thickets. It also has straight thorns while many similar species have curved thorns.

Starch granules
This species is stach deficient. No starch granules were observed in hip flesh or achenes.


Rosa woodsii is common in moist settings, but is adapted to a broad range of conditions. In the northern Great Basin, it occurs on dry slopes, clearings, and in pinyon, pine, and fir forests from elevations of 3,500 to 11,500 feet.


Rosa woodsii is widely distributed across western North America from Alaska to northern Mexico,west to California and east to Iowa. It occurs in most mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountain northwest.


As food
Northern Paiute: " [In mid-July] Fruit collected at this time included squaw currant, golden currant, hawthorn ("blackberries"), and rose hips." (Couture et al. 1986:153-154)

Klamath: "The fruit is occasionally eaten." (Coville 1897:99)

Northern Paiute: "Haws of the wild rose (Rosa pisocarpa Gray) (tsia'bi) were pounded with deer tallow and eaten." (Kelly 1932:103)

Northern Paiute: "A tea was produced by...boiling the stalks of wild rose and chokecherry, either separately or mixed." (Kelly 1932:103-104)

As medicine
Northern Paiute: "A tea from the steeped leaves is highly valued everywhere as a beverage, and there are some Indians who take the drink regularly in the spring as a tonic. Many individuals make a tea from the boiled roots, or inner bark of the stems, as a cure for colds." (Train et al. 1957:86-87)

Northern Paiute: "Of great importance to the Indians is the utilization of the plant as a dressing for sores, cuts, wounds, burns, and swellings...For this purpose various parts of the plant, roots, wood or inner bark of the stems are applied either dry or moistened." (Train et al. 1957:86-87)

Northern Paiute: "[T]he root decoction has been reported as an effective agent in stopping diarrhea..." (Train et al. 1957:86-87)

As tools
Northern Paiute: "Arrows were of rose (tsia'bi)..." (Kelly 1932:143)

Klamath: "[S]tems are sometimes used for light arrow shafts or for pipestems." (Coville 1897:99)

Northern Paiute: "[For arrow shafts] Wild rose (siabi) was also used." (Fowler 1989:68)

Pit River: "Flint-tipped arrows (kapsti) were made of cane or rose and had foreshafts of service, or they might be entirely made of service wood." (Garth 1953:153)

Distribution Map: