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Dog Rose

A familiar hedgerow climbing shrub with pink flowers seen June and July.


  • Dog Rose: for rose hip syrup

    Post date: Wednesday, 3 September, 2014 - 00:00

    In late summer the distinctive fruits of the dog-rose (Rosa canina) are common in our hedgerows. One of my memories of childhood is having to take a spoonful of rose hip syrup every day (that may have been only during winter). During and in the early days after the second world war children were sent out to collect rose hips to make this sickly syrup as it is a rich source of vitamin C and in those days our diets were restricted by shortages of imported fruit. Rose hip syrup was an ideal diet supplement and I find that it can still be bought from health food shops today! 

    I also remember we used to take the thin, leathery coating off the hips to reveal the seeds inside and we put the seeds down our school friends shirts as 'itchy powder'!  

    The fruits of the hedgerow were vital to our ancestors and they remain so for our mammal, bird and insect populations today. It is such a shame that as soon as the crop harvest is finished we use flails on tractors to cut the fruits from our hedges before the berries and seeds can be used in a productive way, all in the name of tidiness. I'm back on my soap box again!


  • Dog Rose: the witches briar

    Post date: Tuesday, 17 May, 2016 - 21:03

    In mid-June the Dorset hedgerows show the lovely pink flowers of the dog rose (Rosa canina). They flower in June and July and once pollinated will turn in to the rose hips we all know, those wonderful, shiny red/orange seed fruits of the autumn used to make rose-hip syrup. 

    Actually, the dog rose can often be mistaken. There is a very similar rose, the field rose (Rosa arvensis) which is very similar in appearance, the field rose tending to be a low scrambling or trailing shrub whereas the dog rose is more of a climber. Dog rose is the more common but the field rose is certainly not uncommon. The dog rose can have deep pink flowers as well as various lighter shades down to almost white. The field rose is pure white. 

    If you like insects then dog rose flowers are a good place to look for them as the open flowers attract a full range of insects from beetles to flies.

    Being a well known 'traditional' country flower the dog rose has many country names and is steeped in mystery; one name that reflects this is witches briar.


Common Name Dog Rose
Scientific Name Rosa canina
Species Group Rose Family Rosaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Rose family - Rosaceae
Status Common
Flower Colour Group Pink
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
Preferred Environment
Look for Attractive pale pink flowers in briars
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Rose Family Rosaceae