Virginia Rose (Virginiana)

The Virginia Rose (Virginiana) is generally described as a perennial subshrub. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The Virginia Rose (Virginiana) has green foliage and inconspicuous purple flowers, with an abuncance of conspicuous red fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Virginia Rose (Virginiana) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical Virginia Rose (Virginiana) will reach up to 6 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 6 feet.

The Virginia Rose (Virginiana) is not commonly available from nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a slow ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -18°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: The seed was a good source of vitamin E, it was grounded into a powder and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement (Facciola 1990). A decoction of the roots was used as a bath and to treat worms in children (Moerman 1998). An infusion of the roots was used to treat bleeding cuts on the feet and as a wash to treat sore eyes (Ibid.). The fruit served as a good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly rare for a fruit.

Medical: It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reverting the growth of cancer (Matthews 1994). The fruits are high in vitamin C and may be eaten out of hand or used to make preserves.

General Characteristics

General: Rose family (Roseaceae). Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana) is an upright shrub growing between four to six feet tall. The glossy dark green foliage develops excellent yellow to red fall color (Dirr 1997). This species bears fragrant pink flowers that are two to three-inches in diameter and occur in clusters of five to eight.

Required Growing Conditions

Rosa virginiana ranges from Arkansas, east to Alabama, north to Newfoundland and west to Ontario (Vines 1960). For current distribution, please consult the Plant profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Adaptation Virginia rose grows along the edges of salt marshes, roadsides and in pastures. This species succeeds in moist soils, growing well in heavy clayey soils. It prefers a sunny position and does well under winter conditions. This is an outstanding ornamental shrub that is easy to grow.

Cultivation and Care

Propagation by Seed: Most rose seeds often take one to two years to germinate because of an immature embryo and a hardened seed coat. To reduce the waiting period, scarify the seed and place in damp peat at a temperature of 27 to 32ÂșC for four to five months by which the seed should began to germinate. Place the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Out plant seedling in the summer if the plants are more than twenty-five centimeters tall, otherwise grow in a cold frame for the winter and out plant in late spring.

General Upkeep and Control

Pruning should be done to remove spent blooms and diseased areas after winter for winter injury and to shape a plant.

Roses are one of the most susceptible ornamentals to most pests and require control from intensive IPM control programs.

Beneath the flesh of the fruit, there is a layer of hairs around the seeds that can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Subshrub
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability No Known Source
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Rhizomatous
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intermediate
Height When Mature 6
Vegetative Spread Slow
Flower Color Purple
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Summer
Seed Spread Rate Slow
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -18
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–7 pH
Precipitation Range 35–35 inches/yr
Planting Density 700–4800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 16
Minimum Frost-Free Days 130 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance Low
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA