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Prairie rose

Flowers of prairie rose.
Prairie rose, also called Illinois rose, is a wide spreading, native shrub or climbing rose with arching stems. The large, pink, slightly fragrant roses bloom in June and fade to white, followed by bristly red fruits. Fall color is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, purple, and yellow. "This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."

Botanical name:

Rosa setigera

All common names:

Prairie rose; Climbing rose; Illinois rose; Sunshine rose; Michigan rose

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Massing

Size Range:

  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
  • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Arching,
  • Multi-stemmed,
  • Open,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun to part shade in well-drained soil.
Cut stems back in spring to promote branching.
Long canes can be trained on a trellis.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, mildew, rust, twig blight
Not tolerant of heavy salt spray or black walnut toxicity.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant to dry conditions once established

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 7
Typically occurs in moist soils along streams, in prairie thickets, along roads, and fence rows.
Native in lower Midwest into Texas.

Attracts birds & butterflies

Small fruits attract birds.

Bark color and texture 

Twigs are green to reddish tinged with tiny white lenticles.
A pair of recurved prickled thorns are scattered along the stems.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 3 leaflets. Upper surface dark green with paler beneath.
Leaf margins are single or doubly serrated.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

The mostly pink, slightly fragrant, 5-petaled flowers are 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
The sepals curve backward during the flowering period. One of the last roses to begin blooming from mid-June through July.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Small, 1/3-inch diameter red fruits mature in fall.


Location of Rosa setigera (Prairie rose) at the Arboretum