Rosa palustris

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: swamp rose 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy
Other: Thorns
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in acidic, organically rich, boggy to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best flowering and disease resistance generally occur in full sun. Plants will not grow in standing water, but will tolerate some seasonal flooding. Good air circulation promotes vigorous and healthy growth and helps control foliar diseases. Prune as needed in late winter. Plants slowly spread by suckers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Rosa palustris, commonly called swamp rose, is an upright deciduous shrub with arching branches that typically grows to 3-6' tall and as wide. It is native to wet ground (swamps, marshes, ditches, stream banks) from Nova Scotia to Ontario to Minnesota south to Florida and Louisiana. In Missouri, it is found in swamps and wet woods in the far southeastern corner of the State. Reddish stems with curved prickles are clad with pinnately compound medium to dark green leaves. Each leaf typically has 7 (sometimes 5 but rarely 9) broad-elliptic, finely-toothed, dark green leaflets (to 2 1/2" long) which are pointed at both ends. Fragrant, single pink roses (to 2" across) with contrasting yellow center stamens bloom from late spring to early summer (June- July). Flowers are followed by pea-sized red hips (to 1/2" long). Leaves turn often attractive shades of red in fall.

Genus name comes from the Latin name for rose.

Specific epithet is in reference this rose's marshy growing preference.


This species rose is generally not susceptible to the disease and insect pests that attack many of the hybrid roses. For roses in general, potential disease problems include black spot, powdery mildew and rust. Potential insect pests include aphids, beetles, borers, scale, thrips, rose midges and leafhoppers. Spider mites may appear.


Good selection for wet poorly drained soils. Bog or water garden margin.