The dog rose is a spiny shrub, 2 to 3 metres high, which grows along the edges of pastures and in coppice woods. This species, which was much more widespread in the past when the countryside was dotted with hedgerows, is distinguished by its beautiful blossoms from May to July.
Dog rose flowers. © Luc Viatour GNU free documentation license, version 1.2
This shrub (Rosa canina), from the Rosaceae family, is also called "wild rose", "dogberry" and "witches' briar". It is called 'dog rose' because in ancient times, its roots were used to treat rabies in dogs!
The stems of this shrub grow upwards, are arched and sport curved thorns, and have grey and crackled bark. Its deciduous leaves are alternate, composed and include 5 to 7 dentated leaflets. Its flowers, called wild roses, are 4 to 5 centimetres in diameter and have a simple corolla with 5 rose white petals and numerous stamens. Its fruit, called "rose hips", are 2 centimetres long, are ellipsoid shaped and red when they mature in autumn.
Dog rose fruit. © Spones, GNU free documentation license, version 1.2
The dog rose has always grown in Europe, Asia and North Africa.
The dog rose grows in all types of soil, but prefers land that is rich in humus. It needs a sunny location.
The fruit of the dog rose, rose hips, has a very high vitamin content and is slightly diuretic. Eaten fresh, rose hips provide lots of nutrition in a quickly assimilable form. Thus, rose hip syrup and jam are recommended for children. The dog rose is also used as a stock for grafting new varieties of rose.
Author: Michel Caron