Swamp rose on the refuge

Published 10:19 am Sunday, November 28, 2021

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Swamp rose (Rosa palustris) 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 the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia.

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 so they are bitter when they are first ripe.

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Wildlife does not eat it when it is first ripe, 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.