Dog Rose (also known as Rosehip), is a climbing wild rose with white-pink flowers and a soft subtle scent. Its deep orange-red fruit, the rosehip, is the most commonly used part of the plant, although dog rose has many other uses in food and medicine.
A scrambling climber with long branches and arching, thorny stems. Dog rose has large, white or pink, five-petalled flowers and green, oval-toothed leaves.
Deciduous woodland, hedgerows, scrub
Parts Used For Food
Leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds.
Summer to autumn.
The edible fruit – rosehips – are the most commonly used part of the plant in food. These orange-red berries have been used to make jams, jellies, pies, stews, tea and wine. The petals and leaves of dog rose can also been brewed for tea. The flowers make a delicious syrup, and can be eaten in salads or candied or preserved in vinegar, honey and brandy.
Rosehips are high in vitamin C with reportedly twenty times more vitamin C than oranges.
Traditional Medicine Uses
The fruit of the rose was the plant in which vitamin C was first discovered, says Thomas Bartram in his Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.
As a medicinal herb today, the rosehips of dog rose (R. canina) are indicated for a wide range of conditions from headaches, sore throats, infections, sciatica, gout, rheumatism, stress and nervousness.
While not a human use, an interesting fact is that rosehips are an emergency food for bears as well as people. They gorge on the fruits before winter hibernation.
Small hairs on fresh or dried rosehips may irritate the mouth and throat. The safety of dog rose is not established in pregnancy or when breastfeeding and thus best avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions About Rosehips
- When are they ripe and ready to pick and gather?
- Is it true I need to gather them after the first frosts?
- Are they all edible and safe? Are any poisonous?
- Are the seeds edible?
- What can they be used for?
- Does cooking destroy the vitamin C?
- How do I dry and preserve them?
About The Author
Robin Harford is a plant-based forager, ethnobotanical researcher, and wild food educator. He is the author of Plantopedia: The Past and Present Uses of Wild Plants.
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- Bartram, T. Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Da Capo Press. Boston, Massachusetts, 2002.
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