Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Natural Valentines, Day 3
Rosa palustris, or swamp rose (palustris is a common specific epithet given to plants that live in swamps) is a beautiful plant throughout the year. In February, its fruits, also called hips, really stand out. Wickedly rich in vitamin C, I once picked a few of these ripe fruits and brought them into the office. I tore off a bit of flesh and popped it into my mouth. Sure enough, I got an intense tangy flavor, but also a mouthful of prickly seeds! Ouch!
At our office complex here in Columbus, we are fortunate to have a few swamp rose tangles surrounding the environmental education wetland area. They are quite spectacular in early summer when covered with pink blossoms. Swamp rose is found in wet meadows, thickets, swamps, and other wetlands throughout Ohio. If you are botanizing here and see a rose in a wet area, you can bet that what you are seeing is Rosa palustris, another one of our natural plant valentines.
And be sure to check back tomorrow for the final plant in our Valentine's Day series!