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It is a deciduous shrub growing 1–3 m tall. The leaves are pinnate, 7–14 cm long, with three to seven leaflets. The leaflets are ovate, with wavy margins. The flowers are pink (rarely white), 3.5–5 cm diameter; the hips are red, pear-shaped to ovoid, 10–15 mm diameter.
The Arctic rose is a species of wild rose with a Holarctic distribution in northern regions of Asia, Europe, and North America.