This is another re-edited and reposted piece from a couple of summers ago. The wildflowers are coming so fast this year that I can hardly keep up with them. These ones are blooming across the street from me right now.
After the blue of the lupines and Jacob’s ladder come the pink wildflowers—the wild roses and the fireweed. The fireweed isn’t blooming yet, but the wild roses are already here.
Photo by Andrew Stark
(Click for larger view.)
They’re pretty and pink, but if you’ve ever walked along a wild rose lined trail, you know the best thing about them is their perfume. They grow all across the northern hemisphere in the boreal forest and as far south as New Mexico in North America, so I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean because you’ve smelled them, too.
What’s more, wild roses are edible, too. For grouse, hares, and small rodents, they’re an important food source. Some of the bigger guys, like deer and moose, enjoy nibbling on the tender plants as well. The rose hips (or berries) are consumed by bears, rabbits, and beavers; and also provide food for the birds during winter when many other food sources are gone.
Have you ever eaten a rose hip? They taste like an apple—a very seedy little apple. You can pick rose hips after the first frost (A touch of frost brings out their sweetness.) and use them to make rose hip jelly, which is surprisingly tasty, especially with a little added lemon juice for tartness. And it’s clear orange-red colour will make it the prettiest jelly in your pantry, I promise.
The wild rose is also called the prickly rose, but not by me. I refuse to lable them with their one nasty trait when they have so many admirable ones!
Previous wildflower posts: