Rosa stellata ssp. mirifica (Greene) W.H. Lewis


Family: Rosaceae

Vernacular Name: Desert Rose

Description: Woody shrub to 70.0 cm in height with stems not stellate-tomentose, but with many shiny to cream colored or ivory colored internodal spines; leaves commonly 3 foliate or trifoliate, but in this subspecies often 5 leaflets, 8.0 to 15.0 mm in length, the petioles glabrate, stipules pubescent or glabrate, entire or with 1 or 2 teeth; flowers terminal and solitary, petals pink, the flowering branches with many gland-tipped bristles; hypanthiun 12.0 to 15.0 mm in diameter, rather than 8.0 to 10.0 as in R. stellata ssp. stellata.

Distribution: Thought to be uncommon on rocky slopes in the White and Sacramento Mountains of southcentral New Mexico, including Lincoln, Sierra and Otero counties at 1,675-2,280 m (5,500-7,500 ft) in elevation. Also, weakly described from western Texas and southern Arizona.

Plants Seen or Cited:
ARIZ: Total of 14 collections of R. stellata. Four collections are from Culberson County, TX, in Guadalupe Mts. National Park and upper Dog Canyon, rare near ranger station. Ten collections are from New Mexico including Otero County (Alamogardo Quadrangle), Dona Ana County (Ash Canyon, San Andreas Mts. and Organ Mts.), Eddy County (Guadalupe Mts.) and Sierra County (Rhodes Canyon, San Andreas Mts.)

NMSU: A total of 18 sheets of R. stellata, of which two were identified as R. stellata ssp. mirifica. One sheet of the two should probably receive special consideration - collected on west base of Salinas Peak, at the north end of San Andreas Mts., Grapevine Canyon, in the NE corner of Sierra County, T11S, R4E, Sec. 35, SW 1/4, 1,860 m in elevation, on limestone along arroyo, R. Spellenberg, 26 May 1988.

Comments: I do not understand the basis for the separation of the subspecies. If additional field collections support the distinction of this subspecies from other subspecies, and the range remains limited, this taxon should be treated as uncommon, but not rare.

Status: Do not retain this taxon as rare.

Important Literature:

Carter, J.L. 1997. Trees and shrubs of New Mexico

Correll, D.S. and M.C. Johnson. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas

Kearney, T.H. and R.H. Peebles. 1951. Arizona flora

Martin, W.C. and C.R. Hutchins. 1980. A flora of New Mexico

Powell, A.M. 1988. Trees & Shrubs of Trans-Pecos Teaxas

Information Compiled: Jack Carter, 1997