The wild rose or prickly rose will be familiar to almost everyone who goes outside in Canada. They are the common source of pain when walking through undergrowth and the small thorns will get stuck in socks and pants for days after. But the flowers are a beautiful pink – especially brilliant when they are just buds and softening in color as they open up. When the flower is gone, a rose hip is produced. When it is ripe it turns bright red or orange. The skin of rose hips is edible and rich in vitamin C (although to me it doesn’t taste that good). It can be made into tea, jam or jelly. But don’t eat the seeds inside. They are not poisonous but have many little hairs that cause itching – if ingested the itching is usually felt on the way out.
Wild rose leaves provide a beautiful color palette in fall when they start to turn – from yellow across the spectrum through orange and red to dark purple and even a bluish green sometimes.