Dog-rose
(Rosa canina)
Compound
Pinnate
Alternate
Thorny

leaves

thorns

bush

Winter twig
Winter twig 

flower and fruits

fruits

distribution map

The alternate leaves have 5-7 leaflets, 15-40 mm long, which have single or double-toothed saw-edges, and are usually hairless on both surfaces. Large, leafy stipules which run up the leaf stalks, are about 2 cm long (see photograph).

ID check

Dog-rose is a deciduous shrub, up to 3 m or more in height with strong arching branches. It spreads by suckers into woodland margins, scrub and hedgerows. It thrives on a wide range of soils, except very dry or waterlogged ones.

The long arching stems are green to purple and, as shown in the photographs, have strong, curved prickles, on a base 15 mm long. They are used to catch onto surrounding shrubs.

The white or pink, 5-petalled flowers are 4-6 cm across and in clusters of 1-5. They open in June and July and develop into red hips ripe in autumn.

The styles in the centre of the flower are not joined together into a persistent, slender column.

Facts

  • This is the common rose of English hedgerows in summer.

  • The hips are rich in Vitamin C and were collected to make rose-hip syrup during World War II.

  • It is attacked by many insects, notably a gall-forming wasp which produces balls of crimson 'moss', called Robin's pin-cushions, on the leaf stalks.

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