Festive swamp rose found throughout northeastern North Carolina

Published 2:21 pm Monday, January 11, 2021

When the season change begin to turn the plantscape brown, the swamp rose (Rosa palustris) provides some bright red color to the otherwise drab colder weather landscape.

Swamp rose is a native shrub that occurs throughout northeastern North Carolina and on all of the mainland national wildlife refuges. There is a good stand of it along the Scuppernong River Interpretive Boardwalk at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia.

SWAMP ROSE

Bob Glennon photo, courtesy USFWS

Swamp rose, as its name implies, only grows in wet areas and will only bloom and produce fruit well in full sunlight. The seeds have a high content of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Because they are bitter and hard when first ripe, wildlife are not immediately attracted to it. But they will eat it through the winter as the fruit softens and the animals get hungry.

The dense thorny stems provide good escape and nesting cover for songbirds.

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