Dog Rose, the literal translation of Rosa Canina, has a fascinating history. It was believed that a bite from the root of the dog rose could prevent or cure rabies in dogs. Another variation suggests that the dog rose healed dog bites.

Rosa Canina

Belonging to the rose family, the dog rose is a robust shrub that can reach heights of around 3 meters. The Rosa Canina is often found in scrublands and hedge/forest edges. In June and July, the rose blooms with white or light pink flowers measuring approximately 5 centimeters in diameter. These flowers attract a variety of insects, including bees and butterflies. Once the flower fades, the sepals fall off, leaving behind a green fruit. The leaves and branches of the dog rose are green, sometimes tinged with red. The branches boast sturdy, hook-shaped thorns. Rosa Canina thrives in a sunny location with moderately moist soil.

If you prefer a thornless variety of Rosa Canina, you can opt for Rosa Canina ‘Assisiensis.’ This rose closely resembles the common dog rose, sharing the same flowering time, flowers, and hips.

rose hip

Rose Hip

The green fruit that develops from the heart of the flower matures into a red-orange oval-shaped rose hip. During winter, birds particularly enjoy feasting on these hips. Rose hip and dog rose hip are often used interchangeably. Therefore, rose hip refers to the fruit of the dog rose.

Rose hips can be used to make rose hip jam or rose hip tea. They are rich in vitamin C. When you open the fruit, you’ll find hairy fibers and seeds. The fibers between the seeds are used to make itching powder. Consuming these fibers may cause stomach irritation, so it’s advisable to wear gloves when opening the hip.

You can utilize dog rose hips (among others) in various ways:

  • Cook and use the juice
  • Strain the cooked fruits through a sieve
  • Use the fruits after removing the fibers and seeds (with gloves)
  • Dry the fruits and/or seeds for later use

Pruning Rosa Canina

Rosa Canina blooms on two-year-old wood, a crucial factor to consider when pruning the rose. Pruning wild roses aims to rejuvenate them and remove obstructing or excessively long, damaged, or unproductive branches.

Be sure to wear gloves while pruning, as the thorns on the branches can be quite formidable. The best time to prune the dog rose is between mid-February and mid-April. Avoid pruning during freezing temperatures or when frost is expected in the near future.


Varieties of Dog Rose

There are various native wild roses that produce rose hips as fruits. Here are some examples:

  • Rosa Rugosa: The Japanese rose with the largest hips. This sturdy shrub bears pink, reddish-pink, or white flowers.
  • Rosa Pimpinellifolia: A robust coastal rose with black hips. It blooms in white or light pink from May to June, withstanding the sea breeze.
  • Rosa Moyessi: This variety showcases distinctive bottle-shaped rose hips. The blooms appear in red from June to July.
  • Rosa Rubiginosa (also known as Eglantine): A native rose that blooms in pink from June to August. Its rose hips are bright red.
  • Rosa Villosa (also known as Downy Rose or Rosa Tomentosa): It blooms from May with pale pink or white flowers. The hips are orange-red.
  • Rosa Glauca: This variety features small pink flowers with a white center blooming in June and July. Its rose hips are orange-red.

Looking for other flowers with “rose” in their name? Check out our articles on the Guelder Rose, Poppy, or Hollyhock.