USA Official State Flower Official Iowa State Flower


Wild Prairie Rose

(Rosa pratincola)
Adopted on May 5, 1897.


The Iowa Legislature designated the Wild Rose, Rosa pratincola, as the official state flower in 1897. It was chosen for the honor because it was one of the decorations used on the silver service which the state presented to the battleship USS Iowa that same year. Although no particular species of the flower was designated by the Legislature, the Wild Prairie Rose (Rosa Pratincola) is most often cited as the official flower.


Wild roses are found throughout the state and bloom from June through late summer. The flower, in varying shades of pink, is set off by many yellow stamens in the center.

  • Shrub with erect stems to 1.5 ft (45 cm) tall.
  • Twigs red-brown with many straight spines and bristles.
  • Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, 5-9 leaflets; leaflets elliptic, 1.6-6.4 cm (0.6-2.5) inches in length; glabrous, lustrous above, soft pubescent beneath; acute at base and apex; margins coarsely toothed; petiole glabrous or somewhat pubescent; stipules adnate, 1-2.5 cm (0.4-1 in) in length, margins entire; rachis glabrous or somewhat pubescent.
  • Inflorescence a corymb, peduncles glabrous, flowers 2-4, 2.5-5 cm (1-2 in) in diameter; sepals 5, lanceolate, 1-1.2 cm (3/8-5/8 in) long; petals 5, white, obcordate; styles not exserted, but persistent; stamens numerous; flowers appear from May to August.
  • Fruit a hip, 12-15 mm (1/2-3/5 in) diameter, subglobose to ellipsoid, sepals ascending, red; nutlets flattened on one side, light tan, tuft of hairs at the base; fruits mature late August.
  • Habitat: prairies, woodland margin and disturbed areas.
  • Medicinal uses: The Omahas steeped wild prairie rose hips and roots to treat inflammation of the eye. The Pawnees collected leaf galls which were crushed and applied to burns.


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta -- Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta -- Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida -- Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae –
Order Rosales –
Family Rosaceae – Rose family
Genus Rosa L. – rose
Species Rosa arkansana Porter – prairie rose
Rosa pratincola Greene – SYM