Glory of a summer hedgerow - the dog rose


Glory of a summer hedgerow - the dog rose

The dog rose, Rosa canina, is a scrambling shrub of woodland edges, sand dunes, and hedgerows, and is Britain's most common native wild rose. Another name for it is the briar rose.

The dog rose is sometimes classed as a climber. It is a very vigorous plant and uses its thorns to climb through and over other shrubs and trees. It has lovely scented flowers, usually pale pink, but sometimes deep pink or white, that appear in June and July. Their similarity to the flowers of the apple tree are because apples (and cherries) are also part of the rose family of plants. The rose's flowers are followed in the autumn by bright red rosehips.

The dog rose is found all over Britain, particularly in the south. Dog rose flowers are an important nectar source for insects and its fruits are a food for birds such as blackbirds, redwings and waxwings. The rose hips have traditionally been foraged from the wild to make rose-hip syrup - which has four times the Vitamin C of blackcurrant juice and twenty times that of orange juice! Rose-hip oil is also a popular skincare product. The hairs inside the hips are an irritant and can be extracted to make an itching powder.

As with blackcurrants, the government encouraged the British people to gather rose-hips for Vitamin C during WW2, as citrus fruits were unobtainable.

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