Rosa sayi (Species) The non-rimmed, globular hips suggest that this is R. acicularis bourgeauiana Crép. = R. acicularis sayi Watson (non Schweinitz)

PLATE 1.—Rosa Sayi, Schweinitz, Keating in Long's Exped. App. 4,113 (1825).

American Gardening 11: 326 (1890)

Rosa Sayi is one of the most attractive of our native wild roses. Although first described so long ago as 1825, it has not received much attention from botanists, and evidently none from cultivators. In fact, it has commonly been misunderstood, having been referred to other species. In 1885 Sereno Watson recharacterized it,* and separated it from the arctic R. acicularis, to which it had been referred.

*Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts and Sci. XX, 340.

The species belongs to that section of the genus which is characterized by the sepals being somewhat united and persisting after the petals fall. This section includes about a dozen western and northern species, none of which are well known among cultivators. One of the most conspicuous marks of Rosa Sayi is the profusion of weak and straight prickles upon the stems. Two closely allied species possess a similar character, however—Rosa Engelmanni and R. arkansana. Rosa Engelmanni bears an oblong hip or fruit, while the hip of R. Sayi is globular, as shown in the plate. From R. arkansana, Say's rose is distinguished, among other things, by the broad stipules and obtuse base of the fewer leaflets.

Rosa Sayi was first collected by Long's expedition to the Red River of the North, which was sent out by John C. Calhoun in 1823. It was probably found somewhere to the northwest of Lake Superior. It is now known to occur so far west as Colorado and to extend eastward into Michigan. The writer collected it at several places in the "pine plains" of Michigan in 1888, somewhat below the 45th parallel of latitude. It often grows upon the sterile sand of the plains, forming a neat bush three or four feet high, and bearing, in June, a profusion of delicate, warm and showy flowers. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful of our wild roses, and there is no reason why it should not yield good results under cultivation. The flowers are two to two and a half inches across, very open, and of a fresh and delicate rose color. The foliage and habit are attractive.

Thomas Say, for whom this rose is named, was one of the most noted of the early American naturalists. He gave particular attention to entomology and conchology. It is said that he discovered more new species of insects than any man before him. In 1812, at the age of twenty-five, he founded the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. In 1818 he was connected with an exploration of the coasts and islands of Georgia and eastern Florida. The next year he joined Long's party to the Rocky mountains, and in 1823 he was naturalist of the expedition to the Red River of the North, when he collected the rose which bears his name. In 1825 he joined Robert Owen in the famous New Harmony settlement in Indiana, where he died in 1834. From 1824-8 he published his American Entomology in three volumes, and at New Harmony he published seven volumes of his American Conchology, a work which was never completed. Long after his death his works were edited and republished. — L. H. B.


Papers Mich. Acad. Sci. Arts & Letters 5: 77-94 (1925)
Mackinac Wild Roses
Eileen Whitehead Erlanson

Rehder in establishing the name R. acicularis var. Sayi does not cite R. Sayi Schweinitz as a synonym. If he did, it would be technically justifiable to use Rehder's combination, even though it were impossible to place under it the round-hipped plants which he describes. It would likewise be in order to disregard the synonym which he does cite: R. acicularis var. Bourgeauiana. Since he does not cite Schweinitz's name, the only solution of the difficulty seems to be to make a new varietal name. Rehder's varietal name has to be interpreted by the description and by the synonymy he does give, rather than by the implied synonymy. It is here treated not as a synonym of R. Sayi Schwein., but rather of R. Bourgeauiana.


Narrative of an expedition to the source of St. Peter's River, Lake Winnepeek, Lake of the Woods, &c. Vol. 2 (1825)

Appendix
A Catalogue of Plants Collected in the North-Western Territory by Mr. Thomas Say, in the year 1823,
by Lewis D. de Schweinitz
p. 113

50. Rosa *Sayi, L. v. Schw.

This appears to me to be a Rose quite distinct from any American one, although it is past flowering; the germen being manifestly not globose, (which is the case with all the rest except laevigata,) nor do I find any European one sufficiently agreeing. I describe it thus:

Germen oblong ovate, perfectly smooth, and proportionably large, crowned by erect calyx leaves, exceeding it in length, which are villous, and expand at summit. Peduncle smooth, or somewhat glandularly hispid, rigid. Common petiole villous and aculeate on the back, with three pairs of ovate, sessile, deeply serrate, small leaflets, and a single one on the lengthened petiole, furnished at base with clasping, glandulosely villous stipules. Upper side of the leaflets smooth, the underside glaucously villous. The young branches thickly set with thin, unequal, hispid spines.