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As the common name suggests, Rosa palustris or swamp rose can be found in tidal freshwater marshes, swamps, nontidal marshes, margins of lakes, and forested wetlands. The swamp rose can be found west of the Great Lakes region, east of the Rocky Mountains, and south of the Gulf of Mexico (Joly & Bruneau, 2006: 625; Silberhorn, 1995: 1). Rosa palustris is an obligate wetland plant with a 99% probability that this plant will be found in a wetland of some sort (Silberhorn, 1995: 1). For that reason, Rosa palustris is predictor of quality wetlands in Ohio (Stapanian et. al, 2013: 291).
Rosa palustris is a shrub with hooked or recurved thorns on the stem and the flowers have five pink to red petals. The flowers are found in pairs (Lafleur, Rubega, & Elphick, 2007: 431). The plant produces achenes that can weight 327 mg with seeds 53 mg (Lafleur, Rubega, & Elphick, 2007: 431; Silberhorn, 1995: 1).