The Alberta wild rose, Rosa acicularis, is also known as the Arctic rose and the Alberta Prairie rose. The Alberta rose is native to Alaska and Canada where it is the provincial flower of Alberta.
Like most wild roses, the Alberta rose is extremely cold hardy. R. acicularis is the rose species most commonly found growing in the northern forests of Canada and Alaska beneath white spruce trees.
It is common to the northern Great Plains and Alberta in Canada and often grows in thickets along roadsides in Alaska. It is drought tolerant but will also take seasonal flooding. It demonstrates reasonable shade tolerance.
Alberta wild rose is a sizable shrub which can reach a height of 9 feet at maturity. The deciduous leaves consist of 3-7 oval-shaped leaflets with serrated edges.
These bright green leaves clothe prickly canes armed with needle-like thorns.
In May or June, pointed bright pink buds open into 3 inch wide single blooms which range in hue from pink to nearly white. The flowers feature 5 overlapping petals and occur in clusters.
By August the bright red or orange elongated hips will be on display.
Rosa acicularis spreads by means of underground rhizomes. New plants can sprout from these rhizomes yards from the mother plant. This makes the Alberta Prairie rose easy (maybe too easy) to propagate.
At 3 feet tall, this selection is smaller than the species. Its canes are armed with tiny thorns and older canes are sometimes nearly thornless.
The blooms of nipponensis differ from those of the species in two respects: they are deep pink and occur singly.
These more striking flowers are followed by red, pear-shaped hips.
R. acicularis nipponensis is considered, by many rosarians, to be a better performing garden plant than the species.
Plant it in zones 4-11 for best results.