North Dakota State Flower, The Wild Prairie Rose

by Samantha Green

Fast Facts

  • Adopted as the State flower in 1907
  • Botanical Name: Rosa arkansana.
  • Also called "Arkansana" and "Rosa Blanda."
  • The USDA considers it a weed!
  • Known in laymen's terms as Meadow Rose or Smooth Rose.
  • Fun Fact: Wild Prairie Rose is known by multiple names in different regions of the US.
  • Fun Fact: The Wild Prairie Rose is also the State flower of Iowa
  • North Dakota Flower Delivery

History tells us that North Dakota's unique State flower, the Wild Prairie Rose, has three distinct species: the Rosa Blanda, Arkansana and Pratincula. Grown as an ornamental plant, the lovely flowers sport five dazzling showy pink petals with a tight complementary cluster of shiny yellow stamens in the center.

The Wild Prairie Rose is native to a large area of central North America, although it's concentrated in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. You'll find it growing like wildfire across all of North Dakota: along roadsides, in pastures, in native meadows, along the foothills and even in cities. The extravagant pink perennial can sometimes be weedy or invasive.

The first graduating class of the University of North Dakota was responsible for choosing the Wild Rose colors and naming them as the University's official colors in 1889.They thought the colors were suggestive of North Dakota's lush green prairies that were seemingly endless; and the campus and city's "rosy" prospects!

From Fargo to Grand Forks; Bismarck to Red River, which is the lowest elevation in the whole state, the Wild Prairie Rose is set up in abundance and is often picked by residents because of its wonderful scent. Considered a block shrub, these beauties are also found in South Dakota, Missouri, and Minnesota.

Ironically, one of the most stunning flowering crabapple varieties is the Prairie Rose Flowering Crab. It blossoms slightly later than other crab trees and the outstanding rose-like flowering is amazingly beautiful. Trees produce breathtaking double, deep pink flowers that are temptingly fragrant. (The other sterile tree {producing no fruit} is the Spring Snow – which blossoms the cleanest, purest, brightest white flowers.

Wild Prairie Rose is quite useful outside the garden or landscaping as well! It's often used in food, food additives (fruit), animal food, bee plants, fuels, poisons, medicines, environmental compounds, gene sources and socially. In fact, the essence of Wild Prairie Rose can be used to help address issues which often underlay stress and health problems, helping to 'untie' or release mental/emotional energetic knots. Wild Prairie Rose essence helps transform emotions, attitudes or patterns of behavior to enhance development, growth and awareness.

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