- Name also: Arctic Rose, Prickly Rose, Bristly Rose
- Family: Rose Family – Rosaceae
- Growing form and height: Shrub. 0.5–1.5 m (1.5–5 ft.).
- Flower: Regular, large, ca. 4–5 cm (1.5–2 in.) across. Sepals 5, entire. Petals 5, pink, notched. Stamens numerous. Carpels free, many, styles hairy. Flowers solitary, stalks with glandular hairs.
- Leaves: Alternate. Stipulate, stalked, odd-pinnate. Leaflets five to seven (nine), 1.5–5 cm (0.6–2 in.) long, broadly elliptic, serrate, with bright-green, hairless upper surface and greyish-green, sparsely hairy underside.
- Buds: Cone-shaped, small, reddish.
- Fruit: An oval to pear-shaped, hairless, red hip containing several brown-hairy achenes.
- Habitat: Damp, rich woods, lush spruce swamps and streamsides. Also an ornamental, sometimes an escape.
- Flowering time: June–July.
Roses and briars (Rosa spp.) are large-flowered, prickly shrubs. Their leaves are imparipinnate. Fruits are achenes which, however, are not visible, but enclosed by the enlarged receptacle, the whole being called a hip. The genus comprises between 100 and 250 species, depending on the defining criteria. They are distributed over the temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere. Roses have been cultivated in China and the eastern Mediterranean at least for 4,000–5,000 years.
Karelian rose is the county flower of North Karelia. It is a continental species, and its distribution in Finland is evidently eastern. This species is densely covered in prickles which are straight and needle-like. This is the best distinguishing character between Karelian rose and very similar cinnamon rose (R. cinnamomea) as the prickles of the latter can also be hooked. Furthermore, the flower-stalks of Karelian rose are usually covered with glandular hairs, whereas those of the cinnamon rose are hairless. Also the shape of the hip differs somewhat.