Common name: Dog rose, wild rose, common briar rose, brier
Botanical name: Rosa canina
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Worldwide distribution: Native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia. Naturalised elsewhere.
Local distribution: Common throughout the UK and Ireland.
Habitat: Hedgerow, scrubland, woodland and gardens.
Season: Flowers early summer to early autumn and fruit mid-autumn to early winter.
The first rose blossoms herald the approaching summer in the British and Irish countryside. Those bright and delicate flowers, noted for attracting wildlife, will be followed by striking rosehips later in autumn.
The origin of the name has long been disputed. Dog rose root was allegedly used to treat bites from rabid dogs back in ancient times. However it’s most likely the name of this plant derived from ‘dag rose’, alluding to the dagger-like thorns. Dog rose uses those sharp curved spines to help the plant climbing in between other shrubs, using them to support its growth.
Both flowers and berries are edible. The taste of rose petals is reminiscent of Middle Eastern cuisine. Infuse rose petals in water to use in desserts such as Turkish delight. Rosehips on the other hand, can be baked into tarts and pies and are usually preserved into syrup, jam and jelly.
Rosehips are conveniently packed with vitamin C, containing much more than you find in oranges and blackcurrants. During II World War due to a shortage of citrus fruits, the British government encouraged the picking of rosehips to make nutritive syrup issued as a dietary supplement.