DOG ROSE (Rosa canina)

Dog roses in Moreton Road

This is the commonest of our several native roses. The Field Rose (Rosa arvensis) is often mistaken for it, but this is lower-growing and always has white flowers, whereas the Dog Rose can grow to twenty feet or more and its flowers vary from white to pink. There is an ancient folk-riddle which helps to identify the Dog Rose:

    On a summer's day, in sultry weather,

    Five brethren were born together.

    Two had beards and two had none

    And the other had but half a one.

(This refers to the five sepals and whether they have whiskers or not).

This rose is much loved by poets. Rupert Brooke, for example:

    Unkempt about those hedges blows

    An English unofficial rose.

Its petals are widely used, for strewing (environmentally-friendly confetti!) and for flavouring salads, for instance, and the hips are a rich source of Vitamin C; the older people amongst us will remember rose-hip syrup during the Second World War.

Rose hips in autumn

The Dog Rose is a common hedge-row plant, at its best in early summer, although the more severe hedge-trimming may mean it has restricted opportunities to flower. It may be seen flowering unchecked in Sulgrave Pocket Park and Wood. The photos show examples in the hedgerow alongside the Moreton Road (see attached map).

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced by kind permission of Ordnance Survey
and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Notes by George Metcalfe. Photos by Colin Wootton.