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Sweetbriar: smelling of roses

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Sweetbriar: smelling of roses

Wild roses are not the easiest of species to tell apart but, as always, there are clues to help and at the primary level there are, actually, only five alternative to choose from. If you wish to specialise then going to sub-species level is a bit more difficult!

The main clue that this is sweetbriar (Rosa rubiginosa) is its fragrance, other wild roses apart from the burnet rose have no scent. Secondly, the burnet rose is white whilst the sweetbriar is a wonderful shade of pink. Sweetbriar is a species of chalk downland growing in low dense, scrubby bushes whereas dog-rose tends to be more of a climber in hedgerows. Field rose is white. 

So, if you are on chalk downland and find a lovely pink wild rose with a sweet smell then you have found one of three species of sweetbriar. Small-leaved and small-flowered sweetbriar are sub-species but the flowers are much paler.


 

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This is just my nature note: for lots more information including distribution maps, status charts, identification guidance and more photographs go to the species home page by clicking/tapping the icon