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A fragrant wild rose found mainly on chalk downland.


  • Sweetbriar: smelling of roses

    Post date: Thursday, 8 September, 2016 - 21:07

    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.


Common Name Sweetbriar
Scientific Name Rosa rubiginosa
Species Group Rose Family Rosaceae
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Rose family - Rosaceae
Status Occasional
Flower Colour Group Pink
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
Preferred Environment
Look for Dog-rose look-a-like and difficult to tell apart!
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