Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)

R. fraxinifolia. non Borkh.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Nootka Rose
Rosa nutkana

The plant makes a good informal hedge[1].

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the roots and sprouts has been used as an eyewash for sore eyes[257]. A decoction of the roots has been used by women after giving birth and also in the treatment of sore throats[257].

    A decoction of the bark has been taken to ease the labour pains of childbirth[257].

    A poultice of the chewed leaves has been used to alleviate the pain of bee stings[257].

    A decoction of the branches, combined with chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) and red willow (Salix bonplandiana), has been used in the treatment of various women’s complaints, diarrhoea and vomiting[257].

    The leaves have been placed in shoes as a protection from athletes foot[257].

    The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers[214].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[2, 101, 118, 161, 257]. The taste is best after a frost[172]. Juicy, pleasantly acid and a good source of vitamin C[183]. The fruit can be dried, powdered and added to tea as a flavouring or used in its own right as a fruity-flavoured tea[21, 101, 183]. The fruit is about 20mm in diameter[200], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds[K]. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards.

    Petals – raw. The petals are pleasantly aromatic, but you need to remove the bitter white base[172].

    Young shoots – raw or cooked. Peeled and eaten in spring when they are still tender[101, 172, 177, 183, 257].

    The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement[102, 183]. Be sure to remove the seed hairs[102].

    The peeled stems are used to make a beverage[257].

    The leaves are used to make a tea[257].

  • Cautionary Notes

    There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed. Rose seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[80]. One possible way to reduce this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 – 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 – 32¡c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3¡c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate[80]. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested ‘green’ (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[80]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5¡c[200]. It may take 2 years to germinate[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if the plants are more than 25cm tall, otherwise grow on in a cold frame for the winter and plant out in late spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring[78]. High percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 – 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame[78, 200]. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed[78]. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions. Layering. Takes 12 months[11].
Succeeds in most soils[11], preferring a circumneutral soil and a sunny position[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acid soil[14]. Dislikes water-logged soils[200]. Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins[18, 20]. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation[18, 20]. Grows badly with boxwood[18]. A very ornamental plant[1], it fruits well in Britain[11]. This plant is often wrongly grown under the name R. californica[200]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[80]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
North-western N. America.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.